Family chooses to live with no power rather than a DTE Smart Meter

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It's a debate that continues to rage on, can the radiation Smart Meters give off, cause cancer?

A family in Lenox Township in Macomb County, is worried not only about their health but the question of surveillance. So much so that they're living without power and using a generator instead 

They claim their power was cut off by DTE Energy because they don't want the Smart Meter and haven't been set up to get the new opt-out version. They're sticking it out because they feel it's their right to.

"My mom passed away from brain cancer so the health issues is a big concern," said Cindy Michaels.

And the Michaels can't help but wonder what the Smart reader she had on her home had to do with it. It is one of three basic reasons they're not okay with this new type of meter. The second is that they worry about the meters being surveillance.

"We don't consent to that, absolutely not, there's no reason to," said Tony Michaels. "We have a meter that's already working."

But the main reason is choice.

"We should have the choice as a citizen to be able to choose between a Smart Meter or to keep our analog meter," Cindy said.

Right now their power is out, turned off by DTE. They claim because they won't get the Smart Meter and haven't been set up for the new digital opt-out meter.

The family is running a generator in the meantime, which is noisy enough for neighbors to hear. 

"It's not bothering us at all, but we can hear it," said one neighbor.

Despite the noise, cold and expense they won't relent and are standing firm.

"We're going to have to, there is no choice," Cindy said.

FOX 2 reached out to DTE tonight and they wrote in part:

"We are confident in the safety, security and benefits provided by Smart Meters. We also recognize that this is a very emotional issue for a small number of our customers. Those customers can choose to opt-out of the program for a fee and receive new digital meters that do not wirelessly transmit usage information."

The claim Smart Meters are safe are backed up by the American Cancer Society. They say because, the amount of RF radiation you could be exposed to from a Smart Meter is much less than what you could be exposed to from a cell phone, it is very unlikely that living in a house with a Smart Meter increases risk of cancer. 

"We have been fighting DTE on this pretty much since 2015," Cindy said.

And the Michaels say even as it gets colder they won't yield. They spend about $50 a day on the generator. They say their power was turned off by DTE on Nov. 4 which adds up to $250 so far.

Late tonight DTE said they will schedule a time to install the new digital meter once the family's dogs are secured and a lock is taken off the meter.

The cost to opt-out is $67.20 and $9.80 per month. Since the digital option doesn't transmit wirelessly, a meter reader stops by. DTE says it has to do this to replace the remaining old, obsolete meters to comply with a Michigan Public Service Commission request.  They've done about three million so far.