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DTE stands behind 'Smart Meter' safety



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August 29, 2012 - Nearly every customer in Orion Township is a Detroit Edison customer and their service is about to change.

Though the difference won't be major.

Smart Meters, electricity usage meters with advanced features are now installed in 99 percent of Lake Orion and 98 percent of Orion Township. Starting in 2009, the meters were installed because the older electromechanical meters are no longer being made. The newer meters mean more efficiency and features for both DTE and their customers.

"There are a number of efficiencies that help DTE but our customers can benefit as well, said DTE Communications Specialist Scott Simons. "One example is it allows us to get two readings which gets rid of estimated rates. It lets us remotely connect and disconnect service so they no longer have to wait for a technician to come out. Also, now customers will be able to track their usage after a day of service."

Though Simons said no downside exists with the installation of the smart meters - which are now almost ubiquitous throughout Oakland County, a number of health risks have arisen. The cited concerns usually surround the wireless communications the devices emit though Simons said DTE maintains that the meters are safe.

Still accidents are bound to happen. In one such alleged case, an electrical fire was linked by firemen to one of the meters. According to Rochester Fire Chief John Cieslik, the small fire reportedly began when a high voltage arc fired in the meter box of an apartment complex. The fire knocked out the electrical of the building but no injuries were recorded.

Simons said DTE has investigated the matter and that their findings tell them the meter was not the cause of the fire. He added that if there ever was any fault with DTE, the company would "absolutely take care of their customers."

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