A debate between lawmakers and utility providers is brewing in Lansing.
Legislation in a House committee that would prevent utilities from requiring so-called “smart meters” — and prevent them from penalizing customers that choose to keep their old meters.
State Rep. Gary Glenn (R-Midland) is a bill sponsor. He says it’s partly a privacy issue.
“I don’t think it’s any of my business, I don’t think it’s any of the government’s business why somebody doesn’t want certain technology installed in their home,” said Glenn.
He says penalizing people who do not want smart meters is wrong and the legislature needs to step in.
“And so their only hope for protection of their private property rights and their privacy is the legislature. So I believe home owners should be free to choose.”
Kathryn Burkholder is with Consumer Energy’s Smart Energy program. She says 99.5 percent of the utility’s customers are using Smart Meters.
“We don’t feel that they should have to bear the burden of the half of one percent that chose to opt out of the technology,” said Burkholder. ”So we’re really looking out for the majority of our customers.”
Smart meters record energy use and send the information to utilities without needing a human meter reader.