Analog Choice Legislation
House Bill 4916—The Analog Choice Bill
Let’s work hard to get this bill is passed!
HB 4916 gives every individual and business in Michigan the right to decide what type of meter is installed on their home or business
The work of Michigan legislators and activists has resulted in bipartisan legislation that would give all residential and business customers in Michigan the right to choose what type of meter is installed on their home or business. The legislation covers electric, gas, and water meters. Michigan House Bill 4916 is bipartisan, but it will be a very tough battle to get it passed. We are up against two giant corporations and a Michigan House Energy Committee Chair who want to see this bill die in committee. Do you want the choice of what kind of meter is installed on your home or business? Then it is imperative that you contribute to getting the Analog Choice Bill passed!
On this page, you will find information about HB 4916, how to talk with your state legislators, and how to get the word out to help ensure that this legislation passes. It is very important that you sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date on next steps and the progress of the legislation because our website is updated infrequently. We occasionally post next steps on our Alerts and Breaking News page.
Here is our flyer for the Opt-Out Bill. Pass it out far and wide. Most people support choice! This bill gives a very good summary of the hazards of smart meters.
|Your choice of meter|
|No cost to you|
Michigan House Bill 4916, the Analog Choice Bill, would give residential and business customers the right to opt out of having a smart electric, gas, or water meter on their premises. In lieu of a smart meter, the utility would install the traditional analog meter. This installation would be at no cost to the customer. There would be no meter-reading fee, provided that the customer regularly submitted their meter reading to the appropriate utility. If you already have a smart meter on your home, you could opt out for no fee. Read the full text of HB 4916.
The bill is variously called the Analog Choice Bill, the Smart Meter Opt-Out Bill, and the Utility Meter Freedom of Choice Bill.
Bill Sponsors—A Bipartisan Coalition
The bill was introduced by Representative Gary Glenn (R–Midland) and Rose Mary Robinson (D–Detroit). There are a total of 13 sponsors so far: 9 Republicans and 4 Democrats. If your representative is one of the sponsors, please tell them how much you appreciate their support! Keep in mind: This bill will not pass unless we get nearly every member of the House Energy Policy Committee behind the bill. Just because your rep supports the bill does not mean you can rest! The Analog Choice Bill goes nowhere until it is voted out of committee and onto the House floor. It is imperative that all constituents in every district represented by a legislator on the Energy Committee be made aware of the bill and be urged to call their representative. Read more about how to make this happen in our How to Get the Word Out section.
Bill Co-Sponsors: Gary Glenn (R–Midland), Rose Mary Robinson (D–Detroit), Tom Barrett (R–most of Eaton County), Lee Chatfield (R–Chippewa, Emmet and Mackinac Counties, part of Cheboygan County), Scott Dianda (D–Calumet), LaTanya Garrett (D–Detroit), Ken Goike (R–Armada, Macomb area), Thomas Hooker (R–Byron Twp, Wyoming), Martin Howrylak (R–Troy and Clawson), Tim Kelly (R–part of Saginaw County), Peter Lucido (R–part of Macomb County), Mike McCready (R–Bloomfield Hills and Birmingham), Sarah Roberts (D–St. Clair Shores), Jim Runestad (R–Milford, Highland).
The Importance of the House Energy Policy Committee
Every bill that is introduced into the state legislature must start in a committee. Until the committee holds hearings on the bill, it cannot (except under special circumstances) be voted on by the full House. The Analog Choice bill has been introduced in the House Energy Policy Committee. The men and women who sit on this committee control the fate of the bill.
Aric Nesbitt (R) is chair of the House Energy Policy Committee. He has no interest in holding hearings on this bill. He receives a huge amount of money from the energy lobby, and when he is term-limited out of the House at the end of 2016, he aspires to be a lobbyist for the utility companies. Nesbitt is our toughest nut to crack. It will take all of you repeatedly talking with your own state representative and senator, the members of the House Energy Committee, and the Speaker of the Michigan House to get hearings held on this bill.
It is very important to write to each committee member telling them why you want hearings held on HB 4916. It is equally important to write to your own representative and senator and to the Speaker of the Michigan House, Kevin Cotter. Use the points in our Analog Choice Flyer, or the information you find on our website to formulate your letters or conversations. Information on where to write is found in the next section.
What You Must Do to Make Sure This Bill Passes
The first thing to do is to write and/or call your state representative and senator and tell them you want HB 4916 passed. In addition, you need to write/call all members of the House Energy Committee and the Speaker of the House.
Note that this bill is a state bill (Michigan Legislature), not a national bill (Congress). You are calling your state representative.
(Following the paragraphs below is an easy-to-follow summary of how to contact your legislators and a link to the email addresses you need.)
Tell your legislator why you want this bill passed. Make two or three points. You can use factual information from our website. If you have a personal story regarding the smart meters, recount it. Remember to be civil, polite, and open-hearted. “Honey catches more flies than vinegar.” Ask your state legislator for their current position on the bill. If they give you a boilerplate response devoid of content, follow up with a polite email asking for more information. Let us know where your legislator stands by emailing us at smartmetereducationnetwork@ gmail.com.
In addition, it is very important that you write all the members of the House Energy Committee. They are the ones who control the fate of this bill. Here are the emails for the members of the House Energy Committee. If your state rep is on the Energy Committee, they are very important to us, and you should make an especially concerted effort to educate them about the bill. To find out who the members of the House Energy Committee are, see our list of Members of the House Energy Policy Committee.
It is also very important to email the Speaker of the House, Kevin Cotter, because he has the power to move this bill out of committee if Nesbitt refuses to do so. Kevin Cotter’s contact information is KevinCotter@house.mi.gov, 517-373-1789.
Be sure to include your address in your email, because legislators wish to know whether you are in their district.
To make it easy to email all these people at one time, we have compiled a list of email addresses of all members of the Energy Committee and the Speaker of the House. Make sure you add your own rep to this list. Better yet, email him/her separately. They are your rep and deserve special consideration.
Summary of how to email:
- Find your state legislators and their contact info via our Contact Information for State Legislators link.
- Copy and paste this List of Emails of House Energy Committee members into your email address window.
- Make sure to add your own representative’s email to this list. Better yet, email him/her separately. They are your rep and deserve special consideration.
- You can also add Speaker of the House Kevin Cotter, KevinCotter@house.mi.gov, 517-373-1789.
- Put “HB 4916” in the subject line (you can put additional verbiage in the subject line if you like).
- Make sure to put your own name and complete address into the body of your email, because your own rep needs to know that you reside in their district.
- Give your rep two or three reasons why you want this bill passed.
- It is important to be civil, polite, and to have some facts in your email. You can get facts off the Analog Choice Bill Flyer or off our website. Make sure they are facts, not just allegations. Citing scientific articles and what are considered reputable sources will bring respect for your position. Sites like Infowars are not considered reputable by those in the mainstream (and, in fact, do not always accurately convey the facts), so using them as sources won’t help us. Consider your audience, and act accordingly.
- If you feel that a certain link will help your legislator understand the issue, be sure that you summarize in three sentences to a paragraph the information in that link. Legislators are very busy people. They don’t have time to click on every link their constituents send them. If you get them interested in the link, they might click on it. It’s your role to give them basic information up front.
Consider emailing your senator, too. The bill is not yet being considered in the senate, but letting your senator know you care now is a good strategy. Find your state senator. Contact information for All Michigan Senate Members.
Your legislator is here to represent you, so don’t be afraid to call. People have had very good results talking to their legislators over the phone. You can call during business hours, or call in the evening or the weekend and leave a message. The important thing is that you CALL! If an aide answers, tell them that you wish to speak to your rep. Always be polite and respectful to your representative. Tell your representative:
- Hello. My name is ____. I’m one of your constituents.
- I’m calling about HB 4916. I want a choice about whether to have a smart electric, gas, or water meter on my home.
- Tell them why you want customers to have a choice. Add anything else that is important to you about smart meters.
If your rep is not available, recite these points to the aide. If you want your representative to call you back, let the aide know. Remember: You always have a right to speak with your representative; they represent you!
In addition you should call all members of the House Energy Policy Committee.
Find your state legislators and their contact info via our Contact Information for State Legislators link.
# 2—Flyers for the Analog Choice Bill
Get the Word Out
Get the Word Out
The legislature considers thousands of bills every session. For our bill to be given any attention, the legislators must know that many people care. Email your friends. Post on Facebook (and connect to our Facebook page). Post flyers on bulletin boards. Pass flyers out to your neighbors and friends. Leave flyers at people’s doorsteps, take them to churches, etc. Stand out in front of a library or other public space with our flyer and talk to people about the bill and ask them to call their state representative. We have had incredible success when people do this. Don’t be shy! You want to be smart-meter–free! Don’t wish for it—Work for it!
Our Analog Choice Bill Flyer explains the Analog Choice Bill (HB 4916) and give people information on why smart meters are something everyone should have a choice about having on their home. When you talk to people, pull out the flyer and point to the information on it as you speak.
You can use the Main Analog Choice Bill Flyer. If you like, you can write your rep’s name, email, and phone number on the flyer before you have it copied.
If you live in a House Energy Committee District or want to post flyers there, we have 3 flyers that list on the back the House Energy Committee Representatives (1. SE Michigan: Wayne, Macomb, Oakland, St Clair, Monroe Counties; 2. Entire State Except SE Michigan and Upper Peninsula; 3. Upper Peninsula, Northern MI, and Bay and Midland Counties).
The best way to copy these flyers is to put them on a flash (thumb) drive and take the flash drive to a copy shop. Many copy shops also let you email them a document. The quality will be much better from a copy shop than if you print a copy off your printer, and it will also be cheaper for you.
We suggest also passing out our Unexplained Illness or our Ticking Time Bomb flyers. These give more information on smart meters and provide a list of health effects. See all our flyers on our Flyers and Petitions.
Please note: It is illegal to place flyers in mailboxes. We will be fined. Please place at doors, on outside of mailboxes, or inside newspaper boxes. Post on bulletin boards, and ask your health-care practitioners to post them.
# 3—Coffee Hours Are Crucial
Face-to-face conversations with legislators are critical when you want to get a bill passed. One easy way to begin to make contact with your state rep and other people in your community is to go to the representative's coffee hours. All reps hold coffee hours (they might be at any time of day, and often will be on weekends) so that they can hear their constituents’ concerns. These coffee hours are held in your district, so that you don’t have to drive to Lansing!
How to Find Your Representative’s Coffee Hours
You can find some coffee hours at the Legislative Coffee Hours site, but many reps who hold coffee hours don’t list them here. The best thing to do is to sign up to receive your rep’s newsletters. They usually announce the coffee hours in the newsletter. Email them to request being put on their list. You can also go to their website to see if they list them there (they often don’t).
What to Do at the Coffee Hour
At the coffee hour, let your rep and everyone else there know you would like your rep to sponsor the Analog Choice Bill. Tell your rep and all the people in the room what the bill is about. Give them a few facts about smart meters. Most people in the room won’t even know about smart meters! This is a good way to begin to inform not only the rep, but the people in your community. Costs are number one on people’s minds, so we recommend making that a strong point. Please see our website page, The High Economic Costs of Smart Meters.
Be sure to brings some flyers with you, and hand them out to each person in the room. We would recommend bringing 2 or 3 different flyers: the Analog Choice Bill flyer and then either the Ticking Time Bomb flyer and/or the Unexplained Illness flyers. Find these on our Flyers and Petitions page. Anyone who shows interest, get their phone and email. Tell them we will send them a newsletter with more information and updates about the bill. Urge them to follow up with the legislator via a phone call. You don’t have to speak extemporaneously. You can bring a 3-minute prepared statement. See our Smart Meters: How They Work, Why They Are Harmful page for great info. Once your legislator says they are supportive of the bill (this might be after several meetings), ask them what they can do to help get this bill passed. Reps sometimes blow us off by saying there’s little chance due to the huge industry lobby. Well, they are our representative. Are they going to let the energy lobby influence them? Keep going to coffee hours over and over. Bring some new information each time. It makes a huge difference. The ball has started rolling on some legislation because of people’s repeated attendance at coffee hours.
Talk to your legislator at the end of the coffee hour. Ask for a time to meet with them privately to talk more about the bill. Make sure you are educated enough to do this. If you are not, our website will give you most of the information you need to make a convincing case.
Bring along the DVD Take Back Your Power. Ask your rep to watch it. Tell them you will come back in a month to get it back from them, as it is your only copy. We have the DVDs of this powerful movie for sale on our website.
Please let us know how the meetings went—who your rep is, what district number, and what the rep had to say and the level of interest in the room. Give us your ideas about what strategies are effective! Email us at smartmetereducationnetwork @gmail.com.
# 4—In-Person Meetings with Your Legislators
A private hearing can be the most effective way to communicate with your legislator. You can in your district (you could meet, for instance, at a coffee shop) or in Lansing. Bring a one-page summary of the main points you want to communicate about why the Analog Choice Bill should pass and why your legislator should work for it. Our Analog Choice Bill Flyer gives a good summary of the main points. You can flesh them out at your meeting with material from our and other websites. Your legislator will want facts and principles, not just emotion.
Your legislator will probably give you about 20 minutes of his or her time. If they get really interested and have time, you may get to have a longer conversation, but expect 20 minutes. The best thing to do is find out how much time they have to spend with you.
You can meet with your legislator more than once.
Canvassing and Petitioning
Talking about the bill to people outside libraries, farmers markets, post offices, health food stores, and in other public spaces is a very effective way to spread the word and get this bill passed. You will tell them there is a bill in the state legislature and ask them to contact their state representative to support it.
People have found it effective to carry a clipboard (helps you look official) and to wear an I.D. badge. Here’s one idea for an I.D. badge.
We have made 3 flyers that list on the back the House Energy Committee Representatives for those areas, with phone numbers but without emails:
- SE Michigan: Wayne, Macomb, Oakland, St Clair, Monroe Counties
- Entire State Except SE Michigan and Upper Peninsula
- Upper Peninsula, Northern MI, and Bay and Midland Counties
Guide to What to Say
Here are some ideas about what you can say to people on the street. The advice given here comes from the man behind the bill and a smart meter activist who used to earn her living going door-to-door on legislative issues. You can download a PDF of this advice.
It might be a bit daunting at first to go up to people you don’t know and talk to them about the bill, but you will quickly get over that when you find that most people are interested and concerned about smart meters and grateful to have information about the bill. When you are friendly and passionate, it rubs off! We are organizing groups to flyer, so contact us, or go out on your own! Here is what one woman has to say about her experience talking to people:
“I was really nervous about doing this. I went to the library in ____. I was so nervous, I left after 10 minutes. But I made myself go back and talk to people about the bill. Most people were very nice. There were some who thanked me and shook my hand. A few walked by, too busy—but I am like that sometimes too. Most of the people I spoke with did not know anything about smart meters and were grateful for the information on the Analog Choice Flyer. I printed the email about the woman whose power was shut off and took it with me today to show people why choice is so important. I hope it helps her to know that she inspired me to stick with it today. It helped to have someone I could be outraged for.”
Passion is important! People respond to emotion. If you are open-hearted and passionate, people will be motivated to make that call to their representative. If they have a cell phone, they can make the call right then and there. Suggest that they do so. The people who have already been out canvassing have had incredible success getting people to call, and that is because they are passionate, concerned, and open-hearted. If you simply hand someone a flyer, they won’t make the call. Engage them with friendliness and passion!
First, a couple of flyering “do’s.” As you talk with them, point out statements on the flyer that back up what you are saying. Spend just 2 or 3 minutes with each person. Don’t hurry, but you want to engage as many people as possible. The best outcome is that they make the phone call to their rep from their cell phone as soon as you finish talking to them. Encourage this! Out of sight, out of mind.
Second, a couple of flyering “don’ts.” Don’t start with questions that require them to answer yes or no. They will likely say no so they can move on. For instance, don’t ask them if they’d “like a flyer.” Don’t ask them, “Do you have a minute.” Make a statement, make eye contact, and be friendly.
Here are some ideas on what you can say. The first two lines are important, and you should always say them. They establish rapport, and they tell the person that there is something that they should be concerned about. Mentioning the fact that smart meters will cost the person more money will grab their attention, too.
“Hi, my name is _____. I’m here today about a very important issue that concerns all of us. It concerns your health, your safety, your privacy, and the price you pay for electricity. [Hand them a flyer.] The utilities want us to use smart meters instead of the conventional meters we’ve been using for years. They’re not giving us a choice. The problem with smart meters is, they are making some people very ill . . . they’ve caused fires, they’ve caused appliances to burn out. They will cause your electricity rates to rise because the utilities are going to institute peak pricing, which means you will pay more for your electricity at the times of day you most want to use it. On top of that, they invade your privacy, because the utility company can determine what appliances you are using and when you are using them, and they can sell the data to third parties. They will also allow the utility to shut off your smart-chipped appliances and to shut off your power without coming to your home.”
“We think people should be given a choice, don’t you agree?” [Nod your head as you say this. Body language helps!]
[If they say, “Yes,” then say:]
“House Bill 4916 will give people a choice. Are you from this area?”
[If they say, yes, then show them the back of the flyer and find their representative. If they say no, ask where they are from, and pull out the appropriate flyer, showing it to them. Then say:]
“Here’s your representative. Would you give your representative a call right now and just say, ‘I’m one of your constituents. I want to be able to have a choice about what kind of meter is put on my home. Please support the analog choice bill.’ It will take you about 30 seconds.” [At the same time, show them the back of the flyer and point out the wording they can say. You can let them use your cell phone if you have one. Getting people to call NOW is the best way to ensure the call is really made, but do not pester them about this.]
“Just one thing before you call. What we are doing with the call you are about to make is getting the committee to pass the bill along to the House. Once it is in the House, we will have to make a push again. Can we get your contact info so we can let you know when that happens?” [Pull out your clipboard with our Contact Info sheet and show it to them. Use your finger to put to what you are talking about next.]
Here’s a place for your name and so on. Here’s where you can check to receive Critical Updates. You will only get a couple of those in a year. We will send one when it’s time to call your representative again or push your senator to take action Here’s where you can receive our regular newsletter, which comes out every week or two and gives you important information on the bill and on what your utility company is doing.” [Anyone who has not been enthusiastic about the bill should not be interested in signing this. If that type of person signs it, make some sort of mark. They could be a utility spy. We wouldn’t really expect this, but just to play it safe.]
[Give the flyer to everyone who says they will call.]
“Thank you so much. Please do make that call right now. And please tell your friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers know about this bill. It is so important that all people in Michigan have a right to choose.”
We suggest practicing what you say a few times. It will help you be as effective as possible.
Other things you can say:
“Most people across the state still have analog meters, which don’t present a threat. We’re simply asking the legislature to give people a choice.”
Hi, my name is _____. The utilities want us to use smart meters instead of the conventional meters we’ve been using for years. The problem with smart meter is, people are getting sick
Give them a flyer, and say to them, “Please tell your friends and family, neighbors and co-workers about this issue. It’s very important that all people in Michigan be given a choice.”
Newsletter, Facebook—Stay Up to Date
Stay up to date by subscribing to our newsletter (it comes out every 1 to 4 weeks). We constantly update our website, so check back often. You can find updates and time-sensitive actions to take under our “Alerts and Breaking News” box. We also use Facebook to send out quick news updates. (While we understand the privacy concerns with Facebook, at this point in time it is a useful tool for us, and is a great way to spread the word about smart meters. If you only wish to use Facebook for access to our updates, you can get an account without revealing personal information—it’s all in what you choose to share, and you can give them any name or birthdate you like.)
Our newsletter comes out every 1 to 4 weeks. It will keep you informed and tell you what actions you can take to fight smart meters. Note that most email programs will filter out our newsletter unless you adjust your email settings. Even though you may receive individual emails from us, when we send the newsletter out to a large group, the emails may be placed in a folder other than your inbox. This happened to us! We weren’t even getting our own newsletter. Please make sure you look for emails from smartmetereducationnetwork@ gmail. com in your Promotions, Spam, Junk, or other folders. Please contact your email provider to learn how to adjust your settings, or search on the internet.
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 supply: contained 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.