An Inadequate Opt-Out: Get Involved!
The Lansing Board of Water and Light (BWL) has begun installing smart electric and smart water meters. BWL is Michigan’s third largest utility and the state’s largest municipally-owned utility. Because BWL is a municipal utility, they are not regulated by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) and get to set their own rules and regulations. The mayor appoints the BWL board, so this provides an opportunity for BWL customers to advocate for changes to the program. A Lansing-based group is organizing to advocate for changes to the current smart meter program. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Mitch Shapiro and Carol Patton.
The Board of Water and Light does not inform customers that there is an opt-out option, except on its website, which few people read. Currently, BWL is only allowing customers to opt out prior to the installation of a smart meter on their home, so it is imperative that you act now! Most other utilities allow customers to opt out at any time. Read more about this under Opt-Out Program on this page.
|Honeywell Elster Smart Meter Being Installed by Lansing BWL|
|Sensus iPerl Smart Meter|
On this page:
- Smart Meters
- Opt-Out Program
- What You Can Do
- News Stories
- Additional Information
The Lansing Board of Water and Light is installing the Honeywell Elster smart meter on the homes and business of 97,000 customers. In addition, it is replacing 56,000 water meters with radiation-emitting Sensus iPerl smart water meters. BWL has contracted Tribus Services to do the installations.
BWL spouts the usual baloney about how smart meters are safe and environmentally sound on its page Smart Meter Installations. One thing we can give BWL credit for is that they are not beating around the bush about what they are installing. They straight up call them “smart meters,” rather than trying to evade the issue by calling them “advanced meters” or “AMI meters” or a “meter upgrade.”
However, the terms “radiofrequency radiation” and “wireless radiation” are not to be found on their website. They misleadingly tell their customers that the smart meters use “digital technology that enables us to read your meter remotely.” While it’s true that the meters use digital technology, the meters are read remotely because of the radiofrequency radiation they emit. That’s not digital; it’s wireless!
Here is a copy of the postcard BWL sends out informing you that smart meter are being installed.
The opt-out meter BWL is installing is the Honeywell Elster smart meter with its radio transmitters (supposedly) disabled.
A BWL customer may opt-out only if a smart meter has not already been installed on their home. Once a smart meter is installed, you are out of luck! The BWL is out of step with the times. While most opt-outs across the country are inadequate in that they do not allow customers to have an analog meter on their home, nonetheless, most utilities do offer their customers the opportunity to opt out at any time. What happens to people who buy a home after a smart meter has been installed? What about people who don’t know about the opt-out program? The BWL is sending out postcards informing people of the smart meter installation and the opt-out, but a postcard amidst a plethora of junk mail is easy to overlook.
If you are a BWL customer, you need to lobby for an opt-out that can take place at any time. A Lansing-based group is organizing to advocate for changes to the current smart meter program. If you are interested in getting involved, please contact Mitch Shapiro and Carol Patton.
The opt-out is not offered to commercial customers or multi-unit dwellings. That is typical, but BWL’s refusal to allow tenants, renters, or lessees to opt-out, even if they pay the electric bill, breaks from the precedent set by other utilities in Michigan.
The fee is $115 to opt out of the smart electric meter, and then a $10/month meter-reading fee. The fees for water meters and the electric and water meter combined can be found on the BWL opt-out page. You can fill out the form on that page to opt out.
You are strongly urged for health reasons to opt out of both the electric and water meters. Be aware that opting out of the smart electric meter will not protect you from dirty electricity because both the smart meter and the opt-out meter use digital technology that creates dirty electricity. You can effectively filter out dirty electricity. For information on a whole-house filter for dirty electricity that protects your health and your appliances, has helped many electrosensitive (EHS) people, and does not generate a magnetic field, please contact Smart Meter Education Network director Linda Kurtz at 769-4241 (area code 734). Linda sells this filter at a very considerable discount.
What You Can Do
Flyer the heck out of your neighborhood! Let your neighbors know what is coming.
Group advocacy is very important. You can also advocate individually. Get involved with the Lansing group by contacting Mitch Shapiro and Carol Patton.
Contact BWL by phone, mail, email or online to let them know how you think their opt-out program needs to be changed. We suggest the following as a place to start:
- The opt-out program should remain available after the initial installation period ends.
- Customers should be allowed to keep their analog meters and have their upfront opt-out fee reduced accordingly, since no installation work will be required.
- Monthly opt-out fees should be reduced, especially for low-income households.
- As a city-owned utility not regulated by the MPSC, BWL should be more transparent in explaining to its customers the rationale for its opt-out restrictions and fees, and more proactive in seeking public input on these decisions before they are finalized.
- Board of Water and Light looking to install smart meters (2017). Not one mention is made of the health issues.
- BWL says making the switch to smart meters will improve overall service (2017)
Leidos is managing the entire smart grid for Lansing.