Thursday, December 31, 2015

Yes, You Can Read Your Own Meter

Yes, you can read your own meter and send the readings to DTE. DTE does a pretty good job of hiding its web page on that, and its customer service people sometimes tell you you can't read your own meter, but, in fact you can.

This meter read would be 171719--notice how you choose the number that the needle is closest to, except if it is between 0 and 9.

You can email or call DTE with your readings. Call readings in at 800-477-4747. As this is DTE's main number (the only one they ever give out), expect to wait 20 minutes or more to talk to a human being.

Better to email your reading to MyMeterRead@dteenergy.com


Be sure to include
  • customer's name (it might not be you, but that of your spouse, partner, parent, etc.)
  • address
  • date of meter read
  • whether the reading is for your electric or gas meter
Be sure to send in reads for both electric and gas.
 
DTE tells you to also include a photo of the meter, which is absurd. If you call in your reading, you obviously are not also transmitting a photo. If your reported read is at variance with your normal reads, they should let you know.

Here is DTE's page on reading your own meter. When you click this link, you will think you are on the Advanced Metering page. DTE just used your money and mine to create a new website, apparently in part with the aim of making things harder to find. If you look more closely, to the right of the dark blue tab "Advanced Meter," you will see that there is a tab for "Traditional Meter." Click that. They don't provide a separate weblink for that tab. Funny--our web designer doesn't get paid, and he does a way better job than they do!

Grammatical note: DTE also doesn't seem to be able to correctly use its own or the smart meter industry's lingo on this page. Instead of "Advanced Metering Infrastructure," the page says "Advanced Meter Infrastructure." Ah, well.

 
On August 18, 2015, DTE old customer Steve Habetler via his Facebook page that he could submit his reading via email: "DTE Energy Hi Steve, you may submit your meter reading via email to mymeterread@dteenergy.com. Be sure to include your account information. Thanks for reaching out to us."

Learn more about DTE, smart meters, analog meters, and the health, privacy, and cost hazards of smart meters on our main website, Smart Meter Education Network.

DTE Forcing Some Customers to Read Their Own Meter

DTE is telling some customers with analog meters to read their own meters, even though
their meter is perfectly accessible to DTE--and even though DTE stated at the opt-out hearings that it had the right and the duty to read meters every month.

Hmm.


Learn more about DTE, smart meters, analog meters, and the health, privacy, and cost hazards of smart meters on our main website, Smart Meter Education Network.



Saturday, December 12, 2015

DTE Raising Rates by More Than 15%



Your DTE electric bill will go up $8 per month starting next week. That's right, an increase of more than 15%. They need money to fill politicians' campaign coffers and boost their shareholders' profits. The sleazy Michigan Public Service Commission approved the rate increase yesterday.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

80-90% Certainty Cyberattack Will Bring Down Electric Grid Says Ted Koppel

Ted Koppel says there is an 80-90% certainty that the grid will be brought down after a cyberattack. He is storing enough food and water to last for two to three months. The government and the nation are totally unprepared. This is an excellent interview with Diane Rehm. Listen to to the interview.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Getting the Analog Choice Bill Passed: Your State Rep Holds Coffee Hours;Your Going to Them Makes a Difference



Face-to-face conversations with legislators are critical when you want to get a bill passed. One way
to begin to make contact with your state rep and other people in your community is to go to the representative's coffee hours. All reps hold coffee hours (they might be at any time of day, and often will be on weekends) so that they can hear their constituents' concerns. These coffee hours are held in your district, so that you don't have to drive to Lansing! Find your rep's coffee hours here.

At the coffee hour, let your rep and everyone else there know you would like your rep to sponsor the Analog Choice Bill. Tell your rep and all the people in the room what the bill is about. Give them a few facts about smart meters. Most people in the room won't even know about smart meters! This is a good way to begin to inform not only the rep, but the people in your community.
Costs are number one on people’s minds, so we recommend making that a strong point.  Please see our website page, The High Economic Costs of Smart Meters and our newest blog post regarding the actual costs of installing opt-out meters versus customers retaining their analog.

Be sure to brings some flyers with you, and hand them out to each person in the room. I would recommend bringing 2 or 3 flyers: the flyer about the bill and then either the Ticking Time Bomb flyer and/or the Unexplained Illness flyers. Find the bill flyers on the Opt-Out Legislation page and the other flyers on the Flyers and Petitions page.

Anyone who shows interest, get their phone and email. Tell them we will send them a newsletter with more information and updates about the bill. Urge them to follow up with the legislator via a phone call.

You don't have to speak extemporaneously. You can bring a 3-minute prepared statement. See our Smart Meters: How They Work, Why They Are Harmful page for great info.

Once your legislator says they are supportive of the bill (this might be after several meetings), ask them what they can do to help get this bill passed. Reps sometimes blow us off by saying there's little chance due to the huge industry lobby. Well, they are our representative. Are they going to let the energy lobby influence them?

Keep going to coffee hours over and over. That is what this woman did. Bring some new information each time. 

Talk to your legislator at the end of the coffee hour. Ask for a time to meet with them privately to talk more about the bill. Make sure you are educated enough to do this. If you are not, our website will give you most of the information you need to make a convincing case.

Bring along the DVD Take Back Your Power. Ask your rep to watch it. Tell them you will come back in a month to get it back from them, as it is your only copy. We have the DVDs of this powerful movie for sale on our website.



To learn when your rep's coffee hours are, go to the Legislative Coffee Hours site. The best thing to do is get on your rep's mailing list. They usually announce the coffee hours there.

We'll bring your more ideas about coffee hours in subsequent newsletters.

Please let us know how the meetings went--who your rep is, what district number, and what the rep had to say and the level of interest in the room. Give us your ideas about what strategies are effective!

Thursday, November 12, 2015

5- to 7-Year Life Expectancy for Smart Meters

As usual, industry is being careful with our money. DTE smart meters have a depreciable life of 20 years. DTE analog meters have a depreciable life of 43 years! Depreciable life means they get to claim tax write-offs for it. Many analog meters have been on homes for over 43 years.

In Congressional testimony, a utility industry experted stated that smart meters have a 5- to 7-year lifedue to necessary or desired software upgrades. Industry expert states: “These devices are now computers, and so they have to be maintained. They don’t have the life of an existing meter which is 20 to 30 years [actually more like 50-80 years]. These devices have a life of between 5 to 7 years. And so the challenge that the industry has is making sure they maintain their smart grid environment, not neglect it.”

BTW, Facebook will not allow us to post this story!


http://smartgridawareness.org/2015/10/29/smart-meters-have-life-of-5-to-7-years/

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Ted Koppel: “Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath,”

PBS News Hour reports on Ted Koppel's new book, Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation
Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath. In this tour de force of investigative reporting, Ted Koppel reveals that a major cyberattack on America’s power grid is not only possible but likely, that it would be devastating, and that the United States is shockingly unprepared. Among other things, Koppel says: "When I spoke to Janet Napolitano just after she left as secretary of homeland security — and she had been on the job for five years — I said to her, what do you think the chances are of a cyber-attack on the power grid? She said very, very high, 80 to 90 percent."

Consumers Energy Apartment-Dwellers: You Can Keep Your Analog Meter

We have received reports that Consumers Energy is allowing apartment-dwellers to keep their analog meters. For more information on the Consumers Energy opt-out program, see the Smart Meter Education Network website. Consumers usually tells customers they cannot keep their analog meter, or makes you think you will not get a new, digital meter, and then they install one. So read the website!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Sterling Heights Rescinds Smart Meter Moratorium Without a Vote

Sterling Heights smart meter activist Jackie Ryan says she found out through a FOIA request that City
Manager Mark Vanderpool issued a memorandum in November 2013 informing the council that DTE had asked the city to rescind the moratorium because the energy company had provided an opt-out policy. That policy, as we know, is a complete joke, as the policy still installs a smart meter on your home, just one with the RF turned off.

According to Ryan, the memo states that, upon getting an opt-out option that let residents refuse the meters, the moratorium was eliminated without further City Council action.

Several residents and City Council challenger candidates made another round of pleas to Sterling Heights city officials to take more action on smart meters during an Oct. 6 council meeting.

The above is taken from C&G Newspapers. Read the full story on their site.

DTE Decides Not to Build Wind Turbine After Woman Submits Letter from Doctor



DTE Energy says it won't build a wind turbine near a resident whose doctor says it would be disorienting and potentially harmful to her health, reports the Huron Daily Tribune in Bad Axe.

The utility's decision comes less than two weeks after the county received a letter from Chandler resident Deb Ruth. She said if a wind turbine planned for DTE's newest Pinnebog project is erected about a quarter-mile from her home, it could trigger dizzy spells.

Ruth attached a letter from Scott Baker, a Bay City ear, nose and throat specialist, who wrote Ruth has Meniere's disease in both ears, leaving her without balance functions in either ear. Meniere's disease is a disorder that causes severe dizziness and a roaring sound in the ears called tinnitus -- a common cause of hearing loss, according to the National Institute of Health. There is neither a known definite cause of the disease nor cure. Read the rest of the article here.

Here is the original article from the Huron Daily Tribune’s online site, MichigansThumb.com. This is well worth reading!

HURON COUNTY — A Chandler resident sent a doctor’s note to the county validating a concern that if she is exposed to a wind turbine, slated to be built a quarter-mile from her home, it would be “very disorienting and potentially harmful to her.”

The letter, sent by Deb and Ron Ruth, includes an attachment from Scott Baker, a Bay City ear, nose and throat specialist. The Tribune contacted Baker’s office, which said he was out until next week. Baker’s signature appears on a letter received by the county building and zoning office Sept. 30 regarding patient Debra Ruth of Elkton.

Baker writes that Ruth has Meniere’s disease in both ears, leaving her with “very little hearing function” and “essentially no balance function in either ear.” Meniere’s disease is a disorder of the inner ear that causes severe dizziness and a roaring sound in the ears called tinnitus — a common cause of hearing loss, according to the National Institute of Health. Scientists do not know the cause of the disease, and there is no cure.

“When she is exposed to visual stimuli such as a Ferris wheel or a windmill it causes what is call(ed) visual vertigo, which would be very disorienting and potentially harmful to her. She has asked me to speak on her behalf in regards to this matter and I think that her concerns are reasonable and valid,” the letter states.

Jeff Smith, the county’s building and zoning director, said it was the first time he’s seen such a letter from a medical professional.

Smith said he doesn’t see it as validating health concerns for wind turbines, but could in the future.

“We may seek correspondence from them as it progresses,” Smith said.

But because the township Ruth lives in isn’t under the county’s zoning jurisdiction, Smith said he isn’t sure what can be done besides investigating the matter.

Ruth, in a letter dated Aug. 18 and received by Smith’s office Aug. 31, writes her condition causes a severe spinning sensation.

“It can happen when I look at things that are spinning,” the letter states. “If this turbine goes up by our house I might not be able to go in my yard or look out my front window without triggering an attack.”

The Tribune could not reach Ruth to verify the letter. Smith says he has not confirmed the letter was sent by Ruth.

However in April, readers were asked to submit questions they had about wind energy the Tribune would ask during a DTE Energy media tour. Ron Ruth contacted the Tribune, requesting to ask whether anyone complained of contracting Meniere’s disease because of a turbine. DTE officials said they hadn’t heard such a complaint in research they’ve reviewed.

DTE’s Matt Wagner said he had talked with the Ruths many times. One solution involved shielding the turbine from their home, using trees to block the view, he said.

DTE has been approved for a 30-turbine project in Chandler, Oliver and Colfax townships. A spokesperson could not confirm Thursday if it still planned to build the turbine near the Ruths’ home.

The Himmels, of Elkton, also penned an Aug. 28 letter to Smith. They said it was not a professional medical opinion from Nick Himmel, a physician’s assistant with a family practice in Ubly, but that it was sent out of concern for their neighbor, the Ruths. The Tribune contacted the Himmel family, which verified the letter.

“We are pleading with you not to let this turbine go up,” the letter states.

The Himmels say they’re concerned for their neighbor’s health and question how Ruth would “cope with a massive, spinning wind turbine about a quarter mile from her front door.”

“We are also deeply concerned that this turbine will ruin any beauty our little farm has and consequently its property value. This turbine will completely dominate our landscape, making it look like an industrial zone and it will forever mar our beautiful sunset view, which was one of the reasons we bought this farm in the first place. We never imagined something like this could happen when we bought this property,” the letter states.



UPDATE: On Friday, after the article published, DTE contacted the Tribune to request publishing a letter to the editor, which appears in today's edition.

"As planning for the proposed Pinnebog project progressed, we identified some construction challenges with the turbine in question. Based on those challenges, as well as with this resident's concerns, we have decided to remove this turbine from the proposed Pinnebog Wind Park layout," the letter states.

Ron Ruth contacted the Tribune on Friday. He said he was thankful to see the article, and that DTE had called him and said they do not plan to build the turbine.

County Commissioner Rich Swartzendruber, whose district includes Chandler Township, said he got a call from Ron Chriss, a DTE regional manager. Chriss said the utility did some re-engineering and isn't citing the turbine near Ruth's home, Swarzendruber said.

"So hopefully the health problems for Mrs. Ruth will be avoided," Swartzendruber said during a Tuesday board meeting.

DTE utility recently got the go-ahead to build 30 turbines in Chandler, Oliver and Colfax townships. Initial plans put the majority in neighboring Meade Township; however, in a referendum triggered by Meade resident Rita Parsch, a friend to the Ruths, residents reversed the township board's decision and voted against the project.






Saturday, October 17, 2015

Consumers Energy Employee Recorded on Video Refusing to Provide I.D., Being Angry and Aggressive



Consumers Energy vehicles parked in a woman's driving, blocking her exit. She records the entire exchange, including the male employee repeatedly refusing to show his I.D. and acting in an angry and threatening manner. See the Channel 7 story. Utility employees are required to show I.D. Consumers Energy says: Too bad, our employee felt he was being harassed and he has a right to be on your property. Watch the Channel 7 story and decide for yourself.

Remember, we watch news stories to inform. But if we don’t act, nothing changes. Please get the word out about smart meters and the bill!

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Some Customers with Smart Meters Overcharged

Quite a few people have written us to say that their electric bill skyrocketed after a smart meter was put on their home.  Here is a story from Texas: CPS Energy admits to overcharging customers with smart meters.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Blind 92-Year-Old Woman Stands Up to DTE

Continuing its tactic of sporadically cutting off power to people who have locked their analog meter
or removed their smart meter, DTE shut off power to 6 people today, including a 92-year-old woman.

People are fighting back! Judy Wright called me as soon as she learned that DTE had cut her 92-year-old mother’s power. I advised her to call the TV stations and her state legislators. Always be proactive! Judy was, and it has paid off. Channel 7 is doing a story tonight at 11 on Judy, her mother, and one of Judy’s sisters. UPDATE: Channel 7's story is the most atrocious piece of reporting I have seen in ages. Doesn't even bother to tell people that the opt-out meter is a smart meter. Makes Mrs. Olga Puste look ridiculous!

Judy’s mother, Olga Puste is legally blind and uses a breathing machine—but that means nothing to the war machine that is DTE. Olga’s daughter who lives with her has a seizure disorder. Olga lives off her Social Security income, and has a freezer with a year’s worth of food. She’s sharp as a tack, and doesn’t want on her home a meter that will negatively affect her health. She and all her daughters live a naturopathic lifestyle.

Will You Be Next?

The chances are, you won’t be. Thousands of people have their meters locked. Divide just 1000 people by 5 people shut off per week, and it will take DTE 200 weeks—that’s four years— to shut everyone off. If you get a letter stating that your “locked meter is a health and safety hazard to your neighbors and your family,” call us immediately at 972-2677 (area code 734).

Does It Make Your Blood Boil?

Sanya’s power was shut off today as well. When a smart meter was put on her home at the end of August, her sister, who has a pacemaker, immediately began to experience irregular heartbeats. Supposedly, smart meters don’t affect pacemakers. Sanya took the meter off, and her sister’s irregular hearbeat went away. Do this make your blood boil? If so, read on.

 
What Do You Do Now?

DTE will steamroll over everyone, given enough time. We have an incredible ace in the hole: the Analog Choice Bill. The only way we are going to be able to play this ace is if you and everyone else reading this does anything and everything you can to get this bill passed After all, you gotta show up to the card game, or that ace in your back pocket won’t do a thing.

What you must do to ensure a no-cost analog opt-out for you, the elderly, the lame, and the well:
 
  1. Call your own state representative and senator and tell them you want a bill that will allow you to choose to have an analog electric, gas, and water meter.
  2. Get the word out in the House Energy Committee Districts. Learn more on our Getting the Word Out page. We are in desperate need of people to flyer some districts. See next box. If we don’t get those districts, we might not get the bill.
  3. Get the word out in your own community. Use the flyers on our Getting the Word Out page.

Hi, DTE. Are you enjoying this page?


Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Cheboygan Tribune Reports on Consumers Energy Shut-Off

Cheboygan Tribune reporter Shawna McManus wrote a good story on Consumers Energy's decision to
shut off power to Jaime Chimner, a disabled woman with extreme sensitivity to electromagnetic fields.  The story reports that her doctors state that the reason her health declined after moving into a home with a digital meter in 2009 is the digital meter itself.

Read the story at

http://www.cheboygannews.com/article/20150916/NEWS/150919365.

Stop Smart Meters has also published a story on this.

You can see our original story on Jaime and the shut-off at http://dtesmartmeter.blogspot.com/2015/09/consumers-energy-shuts-off-power-of.html.

Thanks to the Tribune for a good article, fairer and more comprehensive than almost any we've seen!