Advanced meters (also known as smart meters) provide you with state-of-the-art technology to improve service and increase efficiency. Currently, we are replacing our electric and natural gas meters across our service territory.
Read on to learn more about the benefits of our smart meters.
What Are Smart Meters and How Will They Benefit Me?
Just like our existing electric and natural gas meters, smart meters record your energy usage. These meters — installed at no cost to you — transmit your usage data to our billing center via radio-frequency signals. This gives us the ability to collect real-time energy data, and provides you the option to monitor your usage online easily.
Smart electric meters are the same shape and size as traditional meters, except they have a digital display and a blue and white face.
Smart natural gas meters have a small module installed behind the existing dial hands, so you won't see any difference once the new gas meter module is installed.
While the smart meter has a digital face, the meter reading can still be viewed on the meter. When you look at the digital face of the electric meter, you'll see several screens flashing. Just wait for the screen that displays 004 in the left-hand corner. The large number to the right will be your kilowatt-hour reading. This number will increase by one each time you use a kilowatt of electricity. To measure usage over a period of time, record the reading at two points in time and subtract.
We are nearing the completion of our smart meter installations. If our existing meter at your home or business has not been upgraded, you will be hearing from us soon. You can also contact us at 800.477.4747 to schedule an appointment to have the meter upgrade completed.
During installation, you may experience a brief, five-minute interruption to your electric service. Your natural gas service will remain active in most cases.
For your convenience, you won't need to be present when we install the new meter unless the existing meter is inside of your home or business, or there is an obstruction that prohibits us from accessing our meter. We ask that you provide a clear path to our existing meter to make the installation process as smooth as possible.
Smart meters securely communicate your usage data through low-power radio frequency transmissions. These transmissions are like those used by many common household items, including baby monitors, wireless laptops, cordless phones and garage door openers. These signals are completely safe and don’t interfere with other electronic systems.
You can also rest assured that DTE Energy takes data privacy very seriously. We constantly upgrade our security systems to detect and deflect hacking threats. We've also equipped all smart meters with data technology that encrypts your data before it is transmitted.
Our meters capture energy usage only. They do not record or store any personal information. All meters, communications and information management are subject to the same Department of Energy standards that have kept the energy grid safe for years.
On May 15, 2013, DTE Electric received approval from the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to implement an Opt Out program for residential electric customers who do not wish to participate in the Smart Metering Program. This approval allows residential customers of record the option of having a non-transmitting smart meter installed. The customer of record must call our Customer Service line at 800.477.4747 to request program enrollment.
Customers who enroll in the Opt Out program are required to pay the following fees for each site enrolled in the program:
$67.20 initial one-time fee to install a non-transmitting smart meter
Who owns the smart meter?
DTE owns the existing meter at your home or business, as well as the new smart meter. Please do not tamper with our meter or try to remove it yourself. Doing so poses a serious safety hazard to you and occupants on your premises, and constitutes a felony under Michigan law (MCL 750.383a).
Is the smart meter a "meter" as defined by the Michigan Public Service Commission?
Yes. A meter is defined as a device that measures and registers electrical usage and our smart meters do just that. The Michigan Court of Appeals has found that the smart meters utilized by DTE are "meters" allowable under the law. See Michigan Public Service Commission Rule 460.3102(g) and Detroit Edison Co. v. Stenman, 311 Mich. App. 367 (Mich. Ct. App. 2015).
Does the installation of a smart meter violate the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution?
No. Smart meters do not record or store any personal information and are not surveillance devices. They simply capture energy usage. In addition, the Fourth Amendment only applies to actions taken by the state or federal government, or someone acting on its behalf. DTE is an investor-owned, for profit corporation. Therefore, the Fourth Amendment does not apply to actions taken by DTE. See Detroit Edison Co. v. Stenman, 311 Mich. App. 367 (Mich. Ct. App. 2015).
Do I need to notify DTE if I'm having home renovations or service upgrade work done that requires my electrician to temporarily interrupt electric metering?
Yes. Please call 800.477.4747 at least one day before you begin any renovations or service upgrade work that could include disruption of electric metering. Otherwise, the meter will send us an outage notification and we may unnecessarily dispatch a crew to your location.
Will I still need to contact DTE if I have a power outage?
Yes, you will. Smart meters help us identify and respond to outages faster and more effectively, but by contacting DTE to report your outage, we will be able to give you a restoration time estimate.
Will the smart meter impact the way I connect to and use a generator?
The smart meter won't impact your generator at all.
My home has old wiring. Will advanced meters impose a burden on my wiring?
Smart meters do not impact the wiring of your home.
I know that the smart meter makes my usage data available online and through the DTE Insight app, but I still want to read it. Can I?
You sure can. When you look at the digital face of your meter, you'll see several screens flashing. Just wait for the screen that displays 004 in the left-hand corner. The large number to the right will be your kilowatt-hour reading. This number will increase as you use electricity.
Studies on Safety and Security
Several industry and consumer organizations have conducted studies on advanced meter safety, security and accuracy. Each of these studies has determined that advanced meters are safe and secure.
Michigan Public Service Commission Documents and Orders
The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) is the state government agency responsible for regulating services provided by investor-owned electric, natural gas and telephone utilities, and rural electric cooperatives in Michigan. The MPSC has issued several orders and documents regarding Smart Metering, including:
Just as with our smart meters, the natural gas meters in Northern Michigan also will be updated for automated meter reading. Smart natural gas meters have a small module installed behind the dial hands of current gas existing meters and from the outside the gas meters will not look any different.
Customers will receive a notification letter weeks before we install the new gas meter module. The vast majority of our natural gas customers won't experience any interruption to natural gas service.
Once the module is installed, the gas meter will continue to be read each month by a meter reader, using a special device to obtain usage data.
The Automated Meter Reading program is being implemented in the following counties: