Consumers Energy plans to install 1.8 million smart meters by 2019. (Photo courtesy: Consumers Energy)
GRAND RAPIDS (WZZM)-Consumers Energy will begin installing smart meters in the Grand Rapids area next month.
The utility company began sending out 30-day notices to customers this week. Statewide, Consumers Energy will install 1.8 million smart electric meters as part of its Smart Energy Program. The company is currently finishing up upgrades in Oceana, Muskegon, Ottawa and Allegan counties.
Consumers Energy's smart meters contain a communication chip that sends information about each customer's daily energy use to the company, eliminating the need for meter reader visits and bill estimates. However, some people are worried the wireless meters could cause health problems and give the company too much personal information.
Consumers Energy customers who don't want a smart meter can pay an opt-out fee of $69 up front, then $10 each month. Customers who chose to have a smart meter removed must pay $124 plus $10 each month.