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.”

On this page:

  1. What to Do When the Installer Knocks on Your Door
  2. Stories from People Who Were Home When DTE Came By to Install
  3. What to Do When DTE Tries to Get You to Cave In: Phone Calls and Installers
  4. Legal Bases Supporting Your Actions
  5. Important Notes
  6. DTE Security at Your Door
  7. DTE Employee Claims Homeowner Threatened Him with a Gun


What to Do When the Installer Knocks on Your Door

What do you do when the smart meter installer or opt-out meter installer knocks on your door? You say to the installer these simple and effective words:

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

Practice these words over and over like a mantra. If you practice, the words will be easy to say when they come to your door. Click here for stories about how people have 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.

If DTE threatens you with shut-off if you don’t accept the smart meter, ignore them. DTE is using numerous intimidation tactics to try to coerce customers into allowing a smart meter on their home. DTE cannot shut off your power without giving a 10-day written shut-off notice. Period! No one has had their electricity shut off for refusing a DTE smart meter!

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.”  Then close the door. Sometimes installers 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.” Many installers have told  homeowners that the installers go to house after house trying to install the opt-out meter, and almost all the homeowners refuse it. One installer said he can’t figure out why he gets all these orders to go out and put them on homes when almost everyone is refusing. A few weeks later, he gets a work order for the same home, goes to install, figuring the people have changed their minds, and once again they refuse the meter. A week later he gets another work order for the same home and is refused again.

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.

Please be sure to also read the stories below about how people have handled the installer knocking at their door. It is really useful to read these stories.

If a special investigator or any other DTE or URG employee shows up at your door, we recommend that you do not give them any information whatsoever and that you be very polite. DTE is sending these guys out in part to gauge the mood of customers refusing the meters.  Read more on security personnel at the door.


Stories from People Who Were Home When
DTE Came by to Install

As you will see from the following stories, experiences with DTE installers are varied. Remember, we mostly hear the “bad” stories. The people for whom the installer simply leaves usually don’t contact us because everything went well for them. Regardless of what kind of installer these people got—nasty or nice—they all still have their analog meter because they told they installer they refused the radio-on or radio-off smart meter and they had their meter locked up.

Story 1
This story is from the very first person who had an installer knock on her door and stood up to him.

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.”

Story 2
An elderly couple who did not want a smart meter opened the door to the installer. They told him they did not want the meter. The installer told them he would cut off their power. The couple were afraid, and they let the installer install the meter. The installers have threatened other people in the same way. These people have said no, and they still have their analog meters. If you are paying your bills on time, 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. They threatened one woman who removed her meter with electricity shut-off. She asked why. They told her she had not paid her bill. She asked how that was possible, given that she had a several-hundred-dollar credit in her DTE account. Once she called their bluff, they backed off. Read more about DTE’s scare tactic in Phone Calls or Installers That Threaten You. See what a real shut-off notice looks like.

Story 3

A homeowner in a neighborhood that had been installed two years ago was sitting at her desk, working. Her analog meter was locked with a Master lock. She heard something inside her fenced back yard and ran outside. There was an installer! She told him to get the heck out of her yard. He was snide, and then a few minutes later tried to sneak back in her yard. She told him to get the hell out. She then discovered that he had cut her Master lock. She was moments away from having a smart meter on her home. She has now installed the Tatar Guard. This installer did not knock on her door, as they are supposed to do.

Story 4
Other people have reported incidents similar to the one below. Not one of those people has caved in to DTE’s threats and intimidation. All of them still have their analog meter because they told the installer to go away, and they refused to cave in when DTE called them.

A tech called our phone saying she was calling to determine whether we did or did not want the smart meter. I said we absolutely do not, and that I could see there was a DTE truck in my drive. She said that it was her, and did I want to opt-out? I told her that I had opted to keep my analog meter and had sent two certified letters saying so, as well as many phone calls.  She said, “You can't keep it,” and I said, "Yes I can, and I will." She told me to listen to her—that she was going to put the meter on and then disable the radio portion. I said, "No, you are not going to touch my meter." She then said that someone would be calling me and setting up an appointment for them to come out and replace the meter. I hung up on her and she left.

Story 5
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.


What to Do When DTE Tries to Get You to Cave In

There are four 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. DTE makes verbal threats that it will shut off your electricity if you do not accept the meter. DTE cannot shut off your electricity without sending you a written shut-off notice. No one has ever gotten one for refusing meter installation. DTE is sending out letteres that masquerade as shut-off notices. 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.
  4. 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.

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 (see an example of a shut-off notice). 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. The Stand up for your health and your rights!

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.”


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 order 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 lawy, you have an inherent right to defend your person and your home against a known harm. 


Important Notes


DTE Security at Your Door:
The Newest DTE Intimidation Tactics

It is clear that DTE does not want to shut off people’s electricity and is afraid to do so. We know this because DTE is doing everything possible to intimidate people into accepting a smart meter instead of going the easier and cheaper route of simply sending them a shut-off notice. Here are three additional tactics meant to scare you.

The First Tactic
The following account comes from one of our members.

I was working from home when someone came to my door.  He identified himself as a representative of DTE and said he was aware that we were planning to avoid using smart meters.  Here is a rough account of what transpired:

I asked him a number of questions, which revealed the following information:

It is costly for DTE to send out special investigators. It is clear that DTE is not interested in shut-offs because of the bad publicity they will bring.

Second Tactic
DTE sends out a URG supervisor (URG is the company that DTE has contracted to install the meters) who tells you that his installers can’t access the meter.

Third Tactic
DTE is also making special phone calls to people asking them to call DTE back to make an appointment to “update” or “upgrade” their meter.

Our Recommendations


DTE Employee Claims Homeowner Threatened Him
with a Gun

This False Accusation Shows That It Is
Critical to Video or Voice Record
Every Interaction with DTE

A DTE installer knocked on Rhonda's doow while she was showing a repairman from the Appliance Doctor pictures on the computer of the wilds where she had been born. The show-and-tell came about after she had told the Appliance Doctor repairman that one of her dogs had killed a rabbit in their yard earlier that day. Because she knew how to skin and dress an animal, she figured she would make use of the meat. She doesn't like guns, but knows how to prepare game.

The DTE installer knocked while they were talking, and the installer said he was there to install the smart meter. She became very anxious, told him no, and, as her anxiety grew, the appliance repairman left. Rhonda told the installer that he could not do anything until she talked to her husband, who was just down the street. She got him, and meanwhile the installer decided to leave. He was turning around at the end of the street, and the husband, Jim, waved him down. Jim and the installer talked briefly, and the installer said he would report to DTE that they had refused the meter.

The installer drove about a block, then stopped for 10 minutes or so. Then he drove farther. Jim watched, and saw the Appliance Doctor van meet up with him, and the two began to talk.

Twenty minutes later, six police cars, sirens screaming, came charging up the street and stopped in front of Rhonda and Jim's home. Jim was not there.

The 911 report stated that the DTE installer called the police about 20 minutes after talking to Jim. He told the police that he had been threatened by Rhonda with a gun. Then, 20 minutes after that, the Appliance Doctor repairman called the police and reported that Rhonda had put a handgun in the installer's face.

Rhonda and Jim don't own any guns. Neither one of them threatened the installer. The appliance repairman left as soon as Rhonda and the installer began discussing whether the meter would go on her home.

Rhonda explained all this to the police. The police were satisfied that she was not a threat and had not threatened anyone. The second police officer to exit her vehicle handed Rhonda one of DTE's laminated opt-out cards. The officer said that their department had decided that handing out the card was the way they would handle disputes between DTE and homeowners.

Record every interaction you have with DTE. And if something like this happens to you, tell the press, tell us, and tell the police. Sadly, no one is having the courage to pursue claims against DTE. The bullying will stop when people have the courage to go public with it.




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 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.