Saturday, March 21, 2015
DTE Acts Illegally in Shutting Off Power to People with Locked Meters
Wednesday, March 18, 2015. A three-vehicle convoy from DTE drove to five homes in widely disparate locations—Ann Arbor, Dexter, and Webster Township—and shut off their electricity. DTE justified their action by saying that the locking devices on the meters created a health and safety hazard for the homeowners and their neighbors.
DTE's action is illegal. It is an illegitimate use of the public safety exception found in MPSC Rule 460.136. A locked analog meter is not a public safety hazard. It won’t cause a fire. It won’t irradiate you. It won’t fill your home with dirty electricity.
Molly Cleary is a nurse and her husband a surgeon at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital in Ann Arbor. They locked their meter with a Tatar Guard because Molly is very concerned about the potential effects of the meter on their family’s health.
The Clearys had been away on vacation for the last two weeks. They arrived home on Sunday to lots of mail and busy work schedules. Molly opened her mail on Tuesday, and saw the letter from DTE we mentioned above. The next morning, she and a group of women were at her house for a sewing lesson when the power suddenly went out. She went outside to find a five-vehicle crew from DTE cutting off the power to her home at the pole. The crew includes Nikki Willinger, a DTE Security Supervisor. who accompanies DTE crews when they shut off power.
Molly requested that DTE not shut off her power, asked why she couldn’t keep her analog. They told her they’d lose their jobs if they didn’t cut off her power. What a bunch of baloney! They all have cell phones and could easily have called Joe McCormick, head of the AMI Department. Molly called the Smart Meter Education Network, then called Channel 7 news. Her story was shown Wednesday night on the 11 o’clock news. An hour after Molly called me, another member of the Smart Meter Education Network called to say that DTE had shut off his power. DTE proceeded to cut power to the other two families.
Molly was proactive! Her story appeared on Channel 7 news. Let’s make the most of it. Get on the phone to your legislators. Call the news outlets. Ask them to do stories on the other people who had their power cut. Right now, the public sees just a single individual. We want all the stories out there, especially the one of the mother whose son has to take insulin. That insulin has to be kept in the refrigerator. What’s she supposed to do?
Meanwhile, DTE cut power to another Ann Arbor home. The man's daughter came home at 4 p.m. to find the power out and all of her tropical fish dead.
DTE, of course, “remains confident in the safety of its metering equipment” and does not consider the damage to health, appliances, and wiring caused by smart meters, nor the fires they have started, to be a health and safety hazard!