How to Respond to DTE Letters, Phone Calls,
and Intimidation Tactics


  1. Summary of How to Respond When DTE Contacts You by Letter or Phone
  2. The Letters from DTE
  3. Door Hang-Tags from DTE
  4. The Letter You Can Send to DTE
  5. Phone Calls from DTE—You Don’t Need to Respond
  6. What to Do When the Installer Knocks on Your Door
  7. What to Do When DTE Tries to Get You to Cave In: Phone Calls and Installers
  8. DTE Security at Your Door
  9. Legal Bases Supporting Your Actions

DTE is using numerous intimidation tactics to try to coerce customers into allowing a smart meter on their home. Below we list the tactics. If you receive a letter from DTE that you do not see on our website, contact us right away, and please scan and send us a copy of the letter

Tactic 1—A Knock on the Door and a Threat of Electricity Shut-Off. This is the tactic they tend to resort to when letters aren’t working. Says one customer: “Had a DTE rep at my door today, telling me I have two weeks to decide in participating in the AMI Opt-Out Program. Insinuated that if I don't accept the opt-out meter, possibly my power may be shut off. He went and took pictures of my meter and my Tatar Guard.” Read more on our How to Respond to Installers / DTE Security at the Door page. We repeat, DTE has not shut off anyone’s power for refusing a smart meter. They have been threatening this for well over two years.

Tactic 2—False and Intimidating Letters. DTE has been sending out letters that masquerade as shut-off notices in attempt to intimidate customers accepting a smart meter. Click here for an example of what a DTE shut-off notice actually looks like. The various letters and other intimidation tactics aren’t working, and every few months, DTE steps up its tactics and sends a letter that sounds even more intimidating. DTE sends its letters only to some customers, not all. They send their representatives out to knock on only some customer doors.They are apparently sampling to see whether a certain type of intimidtation tactic works to get people to cave in. So far, their intimidation attempts aren’t working. You do not have to respond to these letters, and we strongly suggest that you do not respond. However, please let us know what they are up to by emailing us (and sending us a scan of the letter if you got one).

DTE also will leave door hang-tags. Sometimes they send the installer to knock on your door, and sometimes they send security personnel (click here for more info). Regardless of what you receive in the mail or who knocks on your door or calls you, repeat the refrain, “I refuse installation,” or “I am refusing installation right now because I am going to call DTE and opt-out.”

Remember: the opt-out meter will not protect your health. Learn why. If you wish to avoid the health (and privacy) problems associated with smart meters, then you must keep your analog meter.


Summary of How to Respond
When DTE Contacts You by Letter or Phone

Here is a brief summary of how to respond when DTE contacts you.

  1. If you have just received DTE’s initial installation letter, make sure that you secure your meter by locking it, caging it, or installing a meter guard as soon as possible. This is step number 1 and is absolutely essential. Learn how to do this on our Keep the Meter Off Your Home page.
  2. Be aware, DTE could install on your home the day after you receive the letter, so secure your meter right away!
  3. 3. Do not communicate with DTE about your desire to keep your analog meter until two months after they have installed your area or until you have secured your meter with a meter cage or guard.
  4. After two months, you can tell DTE that you wish to opt out of the radio-off advanced meter. How you say this is important. Read below.
  5. You do not need to respond to their telephone calls. It is important that any business you conduct over this life-changing matter be done only in writing. If you choose to talk to them, and we suggest you do not, you should demand that any responses from them be in writing. Get the name and ID of anyone you talk to. Demand a copy of the conversation be mailed to you.
  6. If you have contacted them once and told them that you must retain your analog meter, that single communication is sufficient. You do not need to write or otherwise communicate with them again. Period. Not even if they contact you.


Everyone who says no to DTE—no matter what DTE says to them—still has their analog meter. Saying no is everything.  Simply say, “I refuse installation. Put me down as a refusal.” Practice this speech over and over.

Do not contact DTE to opt out. They will come out—sometimes within a few hours—and put an opt-out smart meter on your home.

The Letters from DTE

DTE is sending out a variety of letters regarding smart meter installation, opt-out meters, and the refusal of installation. We discuss all of these letters in the following sections. (DTE calls smart meters advanced, or AMI, meters and the installation of these meters a meter upgrade.)

The first letter is the letter they send to most customers noting that they will be installing smart meters in your area. As soon as you get one of these letters, you should go to our Flyers and Petitions page, download the flyers and petitions, and begin to flyer the heck out of your neighborhood and the rest of your city. This is the only we way we have to alert people about how dangerous these meters are. We have received many grateful emails and phone calls from people who were alerted to the dangers of smart meters because someone took the time to flyer their neighborhood. You can place flyers in newspaper boxes and at doors (but not in mailboxes). Numbers count—the more people who hear about these meters, the stronger we are! Please also contact us when you get a letter announcing installation in your area. It’s the only way we know where DTE is installing.

When you get a letter from DTE about installation of advanced metering, a meter upgrade, or the opt-out program, you should immediately secure your meter by locking it and then installing a Tatar Meter Guard. Please be aware, even though their letter says they will be installing in a few weeks, DTE could be out at your home the day after you get the letter. In fact, DTE has put smart meters on some people’s homes before sending them the letter.

We do not recommend that you communicate with DTE in any way (not by phone, letter, or email) prior to your installing a meter guard. This is a change from our previous advice. Why do we recommend that you not communicate with DTE upon receipt of their letter? Because recently, when people contact DTE and say they do not want the smart meter, DTE has sent someone out literally the next day and changed their meter to a smart meter. That’s not what you want!

A month or two after DTE has installed your area, you can send them one of the recommended letters.

DTE requests that you opt-out by calling their 800-477-4747 number. . If you call that number, you are verbally entering into a life-changing contract, one that will affect your family’s health and privacy for years to come. You have no guarantee that what you say will be correctly transcribed. We can guarantee that if you tell them over the phone that you are participating in the opt-out but will keep your analog meter that they put you down as someone who wants the opt-out meter on their home. Moreover, the customer service representatives often give incorrect information, for instance telling people they can retain their analog meter. In addition, we have heard from many people who called simply for information about the opt-out and found themselves on the opt-out list, with an installer at their door a few days later. Therefore, we suggest that you do not respond over the phone, but via certified mail.

First we discuss the letters you will receive from DTE. The section after that will discuss the letter you should send to them. We then discuss DTE representatives or security at your door. The last section discusses the legal bases supporting your refusal. Remember, we are always available via phone or email to answer your questions and address your concerns. We have talked to hundreds of people about their experiences with DTE.

Letter #1 from DTE
“DTE Energy will begin installing advanced metering in your area.”

This is the letter DTE sends to all customers in areas they are beginning to install with smart meters. (They call this installation an “upgrade” and they call the smart meters “advanced meters” or “AMI meters.”) See an example of this letter here.  In this letter, they tell you that you can choose to opt out of an advanced meter. DTE also sends this letter to people in areas that have already been installed

What to do if you are in an area that DTE is just beginning to install with advanced meters and receive this letter. Put a lock on your meter immediately, then get a meter cage or meter guard. If you do not lock your meter, DTE will install a smart meter—even if you have put “Do Not Install Smart Meter” signs up. Keep in mind—DTE has installed smart meters on people’s homes even before sending the letter to them. Read more on our Keep the Meter Off Your Home page.  Do not call DTE to tell them you do not want the smart meter. They often come out within a few hours and install an opt-out smart meter on your home.Read more...

What to do if you are in an area that already has smart meter and you receive this letter. You should put a meter cage or guard on your meter immediately.  While the letter from DTE states that DTE will begin installing advanced metering in your area “in the next few weeks,” DTE could be out there the next day—literally. One woman in Rochester received this very letter from DTE on a Friday night. She had locked her meter. The very next morning,  she woke up to find an opt-out meter installed on her home. They did not give her “a few weeks” to respond—they gave her less than 12 hours! Even though her meter was locked, the installer cut the loop that you put the lock through. This is why the meter guard or cage is very important. Not all DTE installers cut locks, but some do, and you are taking a chance by using only a shackle lock. If you have not previously corresponded in writing with DTE regarding the opt-out, you can send them the letter we provide in the next section. If you have corresponded with them, that single correspondence is sufficient. Read more...

Note: DTE has an interesting tactic. They do not send their letters to all the people in an area—if that area has already been installed with smart meters. For example, in one area of Ann Arbor where well over 100 people have locked their meters, DTE sent a letter to only one person. In the same week, one person in Canton and one person in Northville received the same letter, yet their neighbors did not. Part of this may be due to disorganization on the part of DTE, but it is also very likely that they are doing this to keep neighbors from banding together. They have seen too many instances where one neighbor has alerted all her other neighbors to the fact that DTE is, at that moment, attempting to install opt-out meters on the homes of customers who do not want them. “Divide and conquer” may be their motto. That is why installing the meter guard or a cage is such an important protective measure, as is keeping us informed about what they are doing in your area.

Letter #2 from DTE
The Opt-Out Letter

Since January 2014, DTE has been sending the “opt-out” letter to customers who have locked their meter, written DTE a letter about opting out, or taken the smart meter off their home. See an example of this letter. The letter might say “IMMEDIATE REPLY REQUIRED” in red and will state that you must choose to either opt out or accept the smart meter. You don’t need to panic, and you don’t need to respond. What you should do immediately is make sure your meter is locked with a shackle lock and then put a meter guard or cage on it, or make your own meter lock.

We recommend that you do not respond to this letter. Most people do not respond. They still have their analog meters. Stay off their radar. If they call you, ignore the call. If you answer and it is DTE—well, lines often disconnect.

Letter #3 from DTE
"Analog Meters Are No Longer Available"

People who write to DTE declaring that they will not allow a smart meter to be installed on their home sometimes receive a letter from DTE that states in part (see example of letter): “Please be advised that analog meters are no longer available to DTE customers. Analog meters are obsolete and currently not in production.” These people have responded to this letter the same way they have responded to the other letters from DTE—by ignoring them. They have already made their intentions known to DTE, and an additional letter is unnecessary.

The letter goes on to say: “Some customers have requested to have the ability to opt out of our advanced meter program.”  This later states an untruth. Under DTE’s terms you cannot opt out of the advanced meter program because meter they will put on your home is an advanced meter, just one with the radio-transmitter turned off. To see a copy of this letter, click here. To learn more about this letter and the brochure that accompanies it, click here.
As of May 2014, this letter is now accompanied by an opt-out brochure. To see a copy of this brochure and to learn more about the falsehoods and omissions it contains, click here.


Letter #4 from DTE
"You Must Contact Us Within 30 Days"

DTE has begun to send a new letter to people who are refusing the smart meters in areas that are currently being installed. See an example of this letter. People have been getting threatening letters from DTE for months. The letters aren’t working, and every few months, DTE steps up its tactics and sends a letter that sounds even more intimidating. DTE is sending its latest letter only to some customers, not all. Other people are getting the older letters, or no letter at all.

In this latest attempt to intimidate, DTE cites MPSC Rule 460.167 and tells the recipient that they must respond within 30 days to allow installation of a smart meter. Everyone who ignores these letters still has their analog meter. Our lawyer told us that the best thing you can do is not respond. He said you should stay off DTE's radar.

Here’s the bottom line: Despite what they seem to be intimating in their latest letter, DTE cannot shut off your electricity without giving you at least 10 days’ written notice and a date certain for shut-off. Unfortunately, some people have fallen for DTE’s scare tactic and let them install the smart meter. Letters citing MPSC rules and telling you they want a response are NOT bases for shut-off.  Don’t be conned! Stand strong. Simply ignore them. And if they come to your door, politely decline the meter. To see what a real shut-off notice looks like, click here.

Keep in mind: DTE has no legal basis for installing either the smart meters or the so-called opt-out meter. The smart meter is a surveillance device and illegal under Michigan statute. The opt-out meter is also a surveillance device. Moreover, the opt-out must provide a benefit to the customer. If it does not, DTE cannot charge you for it. DTE failed to provide any evidence whatsoever in its hearings before the MPSC that the opt-out meter provides any benefit to the customer. It is on that basis and several others that we have appealed the MPSC opt-out decision to the Michigan Court of Appeals. Read more under Legal Bases Supporting Your Actions.

If you get a letter from DTE and have questions, please call or email us.  Do NOT give up your right to an analog meter.


Letter #5 from DTE
“DTE May Interrupt Your Electric Service Within 15 Calendar Days”

Letter #4 isn’t working, so DTE is on to letter #5. Click here to see an example of this letter. This letter makes it sound like they are going to shut off your electricity in 15 days from the date of the letter. The 15-day letter is not a shut-off notice, despite what DTE tries to make you think through its deceptive wording. Remember to read our Legal Bases Supporting Your Actions  section, below, to learn why your refusal of their meter is legally justified.

Click here to see what a real shut-off notice looks like. A shut-off notice must say “DTE Energy Shut-off Notice” at the top. It must state “Name of Customer of Record,” “Address Subject to Shut-off,” “Reason for Shut-off,” “Date of Shut-off,” and must list your rights.

Like with the other letters, we strongly recommend that you ignore this letter. Stay off their radar. This is not a shut-off notice. It is an intimidation tactic. If you respond, you will definitely hear from them again. If you get a letter from DTE, please call or email us. We need to know who is getting these letters. And remember, do not give up your right to an analog meter.


Letter #6 from DTE
“We anticipate completing installations by the end of 2016."
“DTE is replacing all analog meters and none can be retained by the customer.”

This letter is DTE’s latest attempt to intimidate people. Read the letter. This letter has no legal teeth and should be ignored. It is not a shut-off notice.  If you have received this letter, or receive it in the future, please contact us. We want to keep track of how many of these letters they are sending out, when, and to what cities.

In this letter, DTE is attempting to create a crescendo of fear. First they state that they “anticipate completing all smart meter installations by the end of 2016” (emphasis ours).

They state that “DTE Energy is replacing all existing analog meters and none can be retained by the customer.” That’s old news. We are already aware of their dangerous policy.

They finish with the part most meant to strike fear into your heart, stating that if they cannot gain access to their meter, “your electric service may be disconnected until the meter replacement is completed.” Indeed! We have heard that one before, starting with Letter #4 in January 2014 and Letter #5 in October 2014. Just like the most current letter, these letters make it sound like DTE is going to shut off your electricity—and darned soon! But, of course, no one had their electricity shut off as a result of receiving this letter.. DTE’s legal and advertising departments have teamed up to  deceptively word all these letters so that the average person thinks they must give in.

Laughably, DTE says that “safety is our #1 priority . . . [and] we want you to know that we value you as a customer.”  Uh huh. They have certainly listened to customer feedback about the meters!


If You Have Received Any of These Letters

Once you receive one of these letters—or any other letter from DTE—please contact us. We’d also like a copy of the letter. We need to know how many people are receiving these letters and in what locations. Some of our state legislators who are working to allow people the choice to keep their analog meters also want to know how many people are receiving the letters. That way we all can better work with you to forestall DTE. It takes your participation to make this work. If you do this, we can let everyone know that there area is being targeted.

Door Hang-Tags from DTE

DTE employs various tactics to try to get people to accept the meter. One of them is to leave a door hang-tag. Here is one example of the DTE door hang-tag. Here is another DTE door hang-tag (this one is two-sided). Sometimes they leave hang-tags because they want to access your gas meter and put a smart meter on it.

The Letter You Can Send to DTE

At some point, you can send a very simple letter to DTE to help preserve your right to keep a safe meter on your home. The other steps you need to take to keep the meter off your home can be found on our Keep the Smart Meter Off Your Home page.  Be sure to send this letter certified mail, return receipt requested. DTE has been “losing” many of these letters, so please snail mail a copy to Smart Meter Education Network, 2150 Foss St., Ann Arbor, MI 48103. We are gathering these letters to use in a court case to show that the opt-out does not benefit customers. We need this evidence, so be sure to send it to us. Write on side of the envelope to us: “Certified Letter to DTE.”

As we stated above, do not send this letter until at least one to two months after DTE has installed your area. Stay under their radar.

In your letter, you will tell DTE that you will pay all fees associated with the opt-out program but will retain your existing meter. Please note that you might not be charged these fees ($9.80 per month)  for several years, but once you are charged them, you must pay them; if you do not, your service can be shut off for nonpayment. You will not be charged the $67.20 one-time fee because your meter is not being changed.

In your letter you can state, very briefly, why you need to keep your analog meter (health, privacy, or other reasons). We do not recommend that you disclose much personal health information to them, although you should say simple things like, “I cannot sleep at night when I am exposed to smart meters,” or, “I am a cancer survivor.” Do not list all your problems or symptoms. One or two will do.

You can download the letter to DTE as a Word document or PDF. The letter contains language that preserves your legal rights. Be sure to send it via certified mail so that you have proof it got there. If you prefer a longer letter to send, choose from one of these two Word documents:  Letter—general health objections or Letter—privacy objections. Neither of these longer letters is necessary, but some people like to say more. You can email or call us with questions.

You can also send any of the letters that are available on other websites. Whatever letter you choose, to send, be sure to snail mail us a copy.


Phone Calls from DTE—You Don’t Need to Respond

If you have sent your letter to DTE regarding the opt-out, there is no need for you to respond to any phone call you receive from Elaine Curtis (the woman who does most of the calling regarding the opt-out) or any other DTE employee. You have made your position clear. If you argue with DTE employees about the type of meter, they will argue back. It will make your blood pressure rise and get you nowhere. Your locked or guarded meter is your statement of where you stand. Remember, everyone one who says no to DTE still has their analog meter.

So, once you receive that phone call, the only thing you need to do is make sure your meter is secure, as they will likely be at your door in a week or less.

We recommend that you screen the calls and let your answering machine take them. Send us the recording, please, and keep a copy of it. Some of our state legislators are requesting that we keep records of everything DTE does. You can help in getting a bill passed that will allow people to keep their analog meters if you do this.

If you do decide that you will talk to DTE on the phone, be forewarned that the DTE reps—including Elaine Curtis, Joe McCormick, and Joseph Montgomery—will likely threaten you with electricity shut-off if you persist in talking to them. From all reports we have received from customers who have spoken with them on the phone, these people are very angry and very frustrated by the fact that people are not just bowing down and caving in. They start off the phone conversation quite sweetly, then degenerate into anger and threats. It really is not worth your time nor the impact on your blood pressure, as everyone who has talked to them can attest. Your words are also likely recorded, and you don’t want to give them any extra information. If you are wondering whether they really can shut off your electricity because you will not take the meter, read the information under “What to Do When DTE Tries to Get You to Cave in” and “Legal Bases Supporting Your Actions.

To learn how to respond to phone calls or installers that threaten you, click here.
To learn what to do when the installer knocks on your door, click here.

The following story will tell you what you can expect from DTE and how to respond.

Near the beginning of January, I got a letter from DTE stating that they were “beginning to install advanced metering in [my] area.” How odd! DTE had installed my area a year-and-a half earlier! Had they forgotten? Well, just like most people, I got nervous when I received the letter. What should I do? I figured the best option was to ignore their letter, and a lawyer I spoke with about this concurred. I had already made it very clear to DTE, via two letters in 2012, that I could not have a smart meter or any kind of digital meter on my home due to health reasons. I even included a letter from my doctor. DTE ignored those letters, refusing my requests for a cogent reponse. At various points, they sent me a couple of their standard opt-out letters and called me a couple of times. I simply ignored their phone calls and letters. With this January letter, I decided that was my best option as well, and ignored their latest letter.

Next, a Phone Call from DTE

A little over a week after I received the letter, I got a phone call from Elaine Curtis, the woman at DTE who calls people about the opt-out. She said: “I am calling regarding the request you made to be enrolled in the advanced metering opt-out program. I am calling to let you know there are fees associated with the program. Please call me at 313-235-0739. . . . If I don’t hear from you by Wednesday, January 22 [two business days from the date of her phone call], I will conclude that you want to proceed with the opt-out program.” Well, imagine my ire. I had never signed up for their opt-out program. I had told them that I needed to keep my analog meter.

I was nervous as heck for a couple of days, and very, very thankful that I had had the meter guard installed. I spoke with a lawyer about what I should do, and he agreed that there was no reason for me to return her phone call because I had already made it clear that I was willing to pay any opt-out fees but that I needed to keep my analog meter.

With that settled, my nervous system calmed. Friday morning, I am at home when suddenly  I hear a loud knocking at my door. I wonder who it is, open the door, and lo and behold, it is the DTE installer. Ever since Shari K told all of us what to say to the installer, well over six months ago, I have been practicing it like a mantra. I paused a moment as I looked at him, then said to him: “I refuse installation. I can’t have that meter on my home.” He looked a little surprised, said, “Okay,” and turned around and left. Wow, that was easy! I actually went out about five minutes later and had a very interesting conversation with him. He and other installers have said that in most cases when they go out to put the opt-out meter on people’s home, the people refuse it. He said he can’t figure out why he gets all these orders to go out and put them on homes because when he gets to the home, the people tell him they don’t want the opt-out meter and they will keep their analog. When someone tells him no (and their meter is locked up), he just leaves. (Of course, not all installers are as easy-going as these guys. Plenty of people have had their locks cut, which is why you need to install the meter guard or a cage.)

What to Do When the Installer Knocks on Your Door

Most people who find an installer at their door refuse the smart meter or opt-out meter. You have a lot of company, so stand strong! Tell the installer: “I refuse the meter.”

Remember that there are DTE installers who are cutting locks and the loops you put the lock through. This is why it is so important to get the meter guard or a cage. DTE is really random in doing this, so you don’t know if the meter will be yours.

DTE installers have told us that most people whose homes they go to try to install the opt-out meter refuse it. If you knew how many phone calls we get each week from people being made terribly sick by the radio-off and radio-on smart meters, you would not hesitate an instant to tell them, “I refuse the meter.”

What happens after DTE has sent you a letter and you have responded if you need to? There are a number of different scenarios, depending on whether your neighbors have received advanced meters. Basically, you will receive a phone call or another letter. If you receive a phone call, you are advised not to respond to it. You have made your position clear—you will participate in the opt-out, but will retain your current meter. Your locked meter with a meter guard or cage on it says it all. (See the story in the previous section.)

At some point, DTE will send an installer out to try to install the opt-out meter on your home. In areas where the smart meters have already been installed, they sometimes come out the day after you’ve received their letter. This is why you should have a meter guard or cage on your meter. Otherwise, you face having the meter housing cut, your lock removed, and a smart meter put on your home. More often, they give you more time, but you can expect them at your door in 14 business days or less.

Here is what you say to the installer when they knock on your door:

“I refuse installation. Put me down as a refusal.”

Practice the speech over and over. If you do that, it will be easy to say when they come to your door.

Click here for stories from a number of people about how they handled the installer knocking on their door. These stories are really helpful to read. The more you hear about how other people have handled this situation, the easier it will be for you to do it.

It’s luck of the draw whether you will get an installer who is nice or nasty. Whether you get a nice one or a nasty one, you tell them the same thing: “I refuse installation.”  Sometimes they come out more than once because DTE gives them another work order, hoping you will cave in if they show up a second or third time. They still will leave when you tell them “I refuse installation.” Do not be intimidated by any threats from installers or DTE. See the section What to Do When DTE Tries to Get You to Cave in for how to deal with the installers who are bad apples.

See the story under Phone Calls from DTE for one example. Click here to read more stories. It is really useful to read these stories, because it prepares you. Many of the installers are quite nice. (Read below about what to do when they are not.) Many people have said no to them multiple times. One installer said that most people refuse the opt-out meter when he goes out to install it. He said he can’t figure out why he gets all these orders to go out and put them on homes and when he gets to the home, the people tell him they don’t want the opt-out meter, they will keep their analog. Once he hears that, he leaves. Sometimes he is told to go to a house multiple times. He goes, and when the people refuse the meter again, he leaves.

Is DTE Trying to Divide and Conquer? When the woman in the story above received her letter from DTE, people in two other towns received the same letter. Just minutes after this woman received her phone call from Elaine Curtis, a woman in another town received the same, almost verbatim, phone call. In none of these towns did other neighbors receive the letter about installation. One person is aware of over 100 people in her immediate area, and 12 in her neighborhood, who have locked meters. She is the only one who received a letter. This would certainly not seem to be an efficient use of company resources. One DTE installer said that DTE is highly disorganized—“You’d think they just started delivering electricity yesterday”—and that’s the reason. However, it is more likely that DTE is implementing a strategy of “cherry-picking” or “divide and conquer.” In Pittsfield Village in Ann Arbor, a co-op community of 400 closely-spaced, tiny town-homes, over 10 percent of the occupants have locked their meters. Whenever DTE installers come by to install either smart meters or opt-out meters, various residents come out and begin to follow the DTE installers and to warn their neighbors that the installer is on his way. They also tell the installer, “She doesn’t want the meter . . . . He doesn’t want it either.” By sending a letter to only one person in an area, DTE makes it less likely that the neighbors will band together to thwart installation. This is why you need to lock your meter, inform us when DTE is in your area, and stay in touch with your neighbors!

What to Do When DTE Tries to Get You to Cave In: Phone Calls and Installers

If you read the story under Phone Calls from DTE, you will see that many installers are easy-going. But there are some who are not, and they threaten people, especially those they see as vulnerable and easily intimidated, with electricity shut-off.  Read these stories. They will help you to be prepared. Elaine Curtis will also threaten you with electricity shut-off if you argue about the meter. All of these are attempts to scare you so much that you will accept a meter on your home that will harm your health and invade your privacy. The people who do not cave in to these threats still have their analog meters.

 There are important things to keep in mind if DTE threatens you:

  1. Everyone one who says no to DTE—regardless of how many times the installer or DTE contacts them—still has their analog meter. Simply say to the installer when they come to your door: “I refuse the meter. Put me down as a refusal.”  Practice the speech over and over. Then it is easy to say when they come to your door.
  2. There are lots of people refusing. DTE installers have told us that when DTE orders them to go out to a home to install an opt-out meter, most people refuse the opt-out meter.
  3. If you are paying your bills on time, you they do not have a legal reason to shut off your electricity. DTE makes this threat because it scares the heck out of people, especially when it is very hot or very cold outside.  If you are paying your bills on time, they do not have a reason to terminate your service. They threatened one family who removed their meter, telling them they were going to shut off their electricity. The family asked why. DTE told them they had not paid their bill. The family asked how that was possible, given that they had a several-hundred-dollar credit in their DTE account. Once the family called their bluff, DTE backed off.
  4. Besides the fact that they cannot shut off your electricity for this reason, the definition of a meter in the statute does not include a surveillance device or a radio transmitter; in other words, the meter they are putting on is not a meter.
  5. Every person who gets scared and caves in winds up with a smart meter (radio-on or radio-off) on their home and then suffers the ill effects.
  6. Every person who continually says no still has their analog meter. At a minimum, saying no will buy you time without one of these health-destroying meters on your home. We believe that scores and scores of customers standing strong against DTE will force their hand and cause them to change their opt-out meter to an analog. More and more utilities across the nation are moving to allow analog opt-outs. In addition, the Court of Appeals is hearing an appeal of the MPSC opt-out decision, brought by members of the Smart Meter Education Network. This means that by the end of 2014, the appeals court may have ruled that the opt-out is unjust, and order the entire opt-out to be redetermined. There’s no point in getting a smart meter on your home if the opt-out is going to be declared unjust. Bear in mind, DTE knows all this, so they are going to increase the pressure on you to accept the meter. They know that the more people who refuse the smart meters, the tougher it will be for them to get their way.

If you are still worried about electricity shut-off, keep this in mind: The electric utility must give you a minimum of 10 days’ written notice to shut off power. That means you have 10 days to make a decision, and you can make a decision on the last day. Frankly, the best thing you can do is call their bluff. Ralph and Donna Stenman called DTE’s bluff. DTE threatened to shut off their power because they replaced their smart meter with an analog meter. DTE even took them to court over it (this was several years ago, when DTE thought they could run roughshod over us; the people who have removed their meters in the last year have not been taken to court). The court ordered the Stenmans to accept the smart meter. Donna Stenman refused, and met DTE at the door with a paper for them to sign saying that DTE was responsible for any health problems that resulted from the smart meter. DTE declined to sign the paper. The Stenmans were worried. Would they be held in contempt of court for refusing to allow the meter to be put back on? Months later, the answer is no. In fact, DTE asked the judge to dismiss the lawsuit. Stand up for your health and your rights!

Here’s how one woman stood up to the installer in 2013, when he threatened her:

I had a man from DTE come to my house last week saying , “I’m here to install your opt-out meter”.  I said, “No thank you!” and he said, “You don’t have a choice.  We either install this meter or we’ll cut your power.”  I took some time trying to get ahold of my husband to find out what to do, and the installer was tired of waiting, so he said he was going to leave and put me on his list as a “refusal.”  So, if you’re home when they come, I would refuse the meter.  If they give you hard time just say, “Put me on your list as a refusal.” [This woman still has her analog meter.]

Since then, many people have followed her lead. The bottom line: When they come to your door, simply say, “I refuse installation. Put me down as a refusal.” Practice the speech over and over. Then it is easy to say when they come to your door. If you knew how many phone calls we get each week from people being made terribly sick by these meters, you would not hesitate an instant to tell them, “I refuse the meter. Put me down on your list as a refusal.”

DTE Security at Your Door

Read about DTE Security at Your Door here.

Legal Bases Supporting Your Actions

You have a right to keep off your home a device that injures your health, takes your property (by making it uninhabitable if you are electro-sensitive), and monitors your activity (acts as a surveillance device).

For these reasons, DTE has not acted against anyone who has refused the smart meter. DTE attempts to cajole, and in some cases, intimidate, homeowners into accepting the meter, but everyone who refuses the smart meter still has their analog meter. DTE will also install if you are not there to prevent it or if you do not have your meter locked or caged.

There are a number of legal bases that support your decision to keep the analog meter. Here is a summary of some of them. More information can be found at Michigan Stop Smart Meters and on our Appeal of DTE Opt-Out page. Also read the preceding section for more information.

  1. The Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) ruling regarding the DTE opt-out plan has been appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals.  We expect the appeals court to send the case back to the MPSC for a redo. You can tell DTE you are awaiting that decision.

  2. DTE presented no evidence that the radio-disabled smart meter will benefit the opt-out customer. For the MPSC to approve a program, a benefit must be shown. Therefore, the MPSC’s approval of the opt-out program is legally indefensible. This forms part of the basis for the appeals of the MPSC decision.

  3. The DTE tariff, MPSC regulations, and state law all give the utility the right to install a meter as that term is defined under the law.  The definition of meter does not encompass the kind of meter DTE is now installing. In addition to serving as a metering device, the smart meter and the opt-out meter monitor your activity via your electrical usage (in other words, they operate as a surveillance device) and they are devices that are injurious to health. There is a felony statute that makes it a crime punishable by 2 years in prison (for a first offense) to attach a surveillance device to a private residence without the owner's knowledge and consent. Michigan Penal Code, Act 328 of 1931 prohibits the installation of surveillance devices like smart meters. MCL 750.539a defines “Private Place”, “Eavesdrop”, Surveillance” and “Person.” MCL 750.539d prohibits installation of a device for the purpose of observing, recording, transmitting, photographing or eavesdropping in a “Private Place.” The surveillance capabilities of smart meters is clearly documented in the February 3, 2012 “Smart Meter Data: Privacy and Cybersecurity” report published by the Congressional Research Service.

  4. The Michigan Public Service Commission has held no evidentiary hearings on the acceptability of this new technology, even though they are under an appeals court order to do so.

  5. The “opt-out” meter provides no benefit to the customer and therefore is not a legal alternative to the radio-on smart meter. The opt-out meter must provide a benefit to the customer. All utilities were ordered by the MPSC to provide opt-outs to customers.

  6. The opt-out meter is still a smart meter; therefore there is no opt-out of smart meters, which the utilities were ordered by the MPSC to provide.

  7. By approving the opt-out program, the MPSC enabled DTE to mandate smart meters for all customers. The MPSC cannot do this without statutory authorization.

  8. Under the law, you have an inherent right to defend your person and your home against a known harm.































Are you searching for information about Michigan electric utility DTE's advanced meters, also called smart meters, their opt-out program, and whether the radio-off meter will harm your health? Are you worried about costs, privacy, the environment, bees, frogs? Will it raise your rates? We know that many electromagnetic frequencies cause health problems, which are listed below. DTE’s advanced meter needs to be kept off your property. It emits microwave radiation. Don’t accept their opt-out meter. Cancer, DNA breaks, breaching of the blood-brain barrier. Consumer’s Energy and DTE are both installing these meters all over Michigan. The opt out will not help you because of the dirty electricity—power quality issues due to voltage transients and harmonics—caused by the switched mode power supplies of these meter. The most common health effects are tinnitus (ringing in the ears), insomnia, memory problems, anxiety in the body, and clenching the teeth. Endocrine (hormonal) problems are common, including thyroid and diabetes.

DTE will charge you $67 to install a dangerous meter and $9 to $9.80 per month to have a meter reader read it. Consumers Energy is charging even more. It’s important to keep you analog meter. Analog meters have no known health effects. What can you to to protect yourself from DTE and Consumers Energy advanced (smart) meters?

Did you receive DTE’s letter about the radio-off meter for the opt out, also called the nontransmitting meter? Did that letter say “Immediate Reply Required”? “What do I do?” you ask. Is a smart meter or advanced meter or digital meter bad for your health. Is it worse than a cell phone. Are the skeptics correct? Should you call DTE’s 800-477-4747 number to opt out? Should you not opt out? Are there alternatives? Did the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) make a bad decision? Is the radio-on meter O.K.? Is it worse than a baby monitor or a garage door opener? Can you say no to the installer? Do you have to have one of these meters on your home? Can businesses opt out? Can customers opt out? Has DTE considered the health effects? What happened in U-17000 and U-17658? Will customers win in the Michigan Court of Appeals? Did the Michigan Attorney General do enough in this rate case? Why weren’t the health effects and privacy issues for Michigan consumers considered? What about the elderly, children, and the disabled? Can you be covered under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)?

The health effects of microwave radiation, electromagnetic frequencies, and non-ionizing radiation have been known for years. Cell phone studies show the harmful effects of RF. Health effects from these meters include health effects tinnitus insomnia headaches please add the lists from our website.

DTE is installing these meters in Dearborn Livonia Macomb County Wayne County Washtenaw County Genesee County Lapeer County Livingston County* Macomb County* Monroe County* Oakland County* Saint Clair County* Washtenaw County* Wayne County* Ann Arbor Plymouth Romulus Romeo Detroit Canton Livonia Northville South Lyon Dexter Ypsilanti Belleville Adrian, Lenawee County Dearborn Livonia Monroe, Monroe County Mount Clemens, Michigan, Macomb County Novi Pontiac, Oakland County Port Huron, St. Clair County Romulus, Royal Oak Birmingham Southfield Sterling Heights, Rochester hills, birmingham warren wayne flat rock tecumseh Troy Warren, Brighton Irish Hills Roseville St. Clair Shores Sterling Heights Utica Warren Center Line Eastpointe Fraser Auburn Hills Berkley Birmingham Bloomfield Hills Clarkston Clawson Farmington Farmington Hills 1 Ferndale Hazel Park Huntington Woods Keego Harbor Lake Angelus Lathrup Village Madison Heights Novi Oak Park Orchard Lake Village Pontiac (county seat) Rochester Rochester Hills Royal Oak South Lyon Southfield Sylvan Lake Troy Walled Lake Wixom Pleasant Ridge Allen Park Belleville Dearborn Heights Dearborn Detroit Ecorse Flat Rock Garden City Gibraltar Grosse Pointe Grosse Pointe Farms Grosse Pointe Park Grosse Pointe Woods Hamtramck Harper Woods Highland Park Inkster Lincoln Park Livonia Melvindale Northville Plymouth River Rouge Riverview Rockwood Romulus Southgate Taylor Trenton Wayne Westland Woodhaven Wyandotte Livingston County Howell Township Vassar Superior Township Scio Township Westland. Consumers in Allegan Muskegon Manchester Jackson Grand Rapids.  

Terms to Know

Advanced meter: smart meter (term used by DTE to hide the fact it is a smart meter).

AMI meter and AMI program: another name for the smart meter and the smart meter program. AMI stands for advanced metering infrastructure.

Blood-brain barrier: EMFs can cause the blood-brain barrier to be breached, allowing toxins to enter the brain. Toxin entry is thought to be partially responsible for Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s.

Dirty electricity: spiky, pulsed electromagnetic field generated by smart meters that rides through building wiring and permeates the building’s rooms. Responsible for many of the health problems seen with smart and digital meters.

Electromagnetic fields (EMFs): consist of an electrical field and a magnetic field. Fields are created by the flow of electrical current through the wire, sunlight, etc.  

Electromagnetic frequency: examples are 60 Hz electrical current of your home, RF of a cell phone. Often used interchangeably with electromagnetic field.

Electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS): sensitivity to electromagnetic fields. Symptoms are complex and involve all bodily systems

Hydrogen bonds: Electrostatic bonds that help hold the DNA double helix together. Breakage of hydrogen bonds may cause changes in DNA that can lead to cancer. RF and other EMFs may disrupt the Hydrogen bonds.

Meter upgrade: the installation of an advanced (smart) meter on your home by DTE.

Microwave radiation: the type of radiation emitted by smart meters. Known to cause biological harm.

Non-transmitting meter: another name for the DTE and Consumers opt-out meters.

Opt-out meter: this is a smart meter. The only thing that is different is the radio-transmitter is turned off. It still generates dirty electricity, it still retains the two antennas, and it is only incrementally less harmful to your health. It can still record detailed information about your electrical usage.

Radio-disabled meter: another name for the DTE opt-out meter.

Radio-off meter: another name for the DTE opt-out meter.

Radiofrequency (RF): high-frequency electromagnetic waves in the range of 10 MHz to 300 Ghz. All wireless devices, including smart meters, cell phones, and Wi-Fi emit RF.

Switched mode power supplycontained in all smart meters, it creates dirty electricity.

van der Waals bonds: an extremely weak electromagnetic force that helps hold the DNA double helix together. Breakage of the van der Waals bond may cause changes in DNA that can lead to cancer. RF and other EMFs can disrupt the van der Waals bonds.