Woman says DTE shut off power because she won't get smart meter

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A Ferndale woman says DTE Energy shut off her electricity, even though her bills were paid in full.

The problem she says, is that she didn't want the utility to install a smart meter at her home.

"Basically you are being blackmailed," said Kay Watson. "(They are saying) you either take it or we cut power." 

Kay Watson is outraged, she says she paid her bill, but DTE disconnected her service on Sunday over her refusal to get a smart meter.

"The guy was here at the door telling me they're going to put in a smart meter and I said no," she said. "He said you're refusing? And I said yeah, so he said we're cutting your power." 

Watson says she has a major concern about the smart meters: "They're proven to have radiation that's affecting our bodies," she said. "We know radiation is not safe."

But DTE says that claim is unfounded. The company maintains radio frequency exposure from a smart meter is far below other common electric devices, including TV remotes.

DTE also says old analog meters use obsolete technology that is no longer supported and must be changed out. Watson says until this issue is resolved, she's turned to another source to power home - a generator.

DTE says it contacts customers on several occasions before it takes action. But Watson considers the action a violation 

"I consider it a threat to all of our freedoms," she said.

The utility company says it has has installed more than three million smart meters since 2008 and plans to install the remaining electric smart meters this year.

DTE says Watson called Monday asking for a smart meter in order to get her power turned back on.

But Watson says she never requested that and only wants the "opt out." A program which allows a few customers who have concerns to have a smart meter installed with a digital signal turned off.

DTE says at 4 p.m. Monday afternoon a crew went out to Watson's home and provided her with the opt-out option, and her power has since been restored. 

DTE says customers who choose to opt out will be charged a one time fee and $9.80 per month for meter readings and related services.