SENATE BILL No. 1128

 

 

September 26, 2018, Introduced by Senator COLBECK and referred to the Committee on Energy and Technology.

 

 

 

     A bill to amend 1939 PA 3, entitled

 

"An act to provide for the regulation and control of public and

certain private utilities and other services affected with a public

interest within this state; to provide for alternative energy

suppliers; to provide for licensing; to include municipally owned

utilities and other providers of energy under certain provisions of

this act; to create a public service commission and to prescribe

and define its powers and duties; to abolish the Michigan public

utilities commission and to confer the powers and duties vested by

law on the public service commission; to provide for the powers and

duties of certain state governmental officers and entities; to

provide for the continuance, transfer, and completion of certain

matters and proceedings; to abolish automatic adjustment clauses;

to prohibit certain rate increases without notice and hearing; to

qualify residential energy conservation programs permitted under

state law for certain federal exemption; to create a fund; to

encourage the utilization of resource recovery facilities; to

prohibit certain acts and practices of providers of energy; to

allow for the securitization of stranded costs; to reduce rates; to

provide for appeals; to provide appropriations; to declare the

effect and purpose of this act; to prescribe remedies and

penalties; and to repeal acts and parts of acts,"

 

(MCL 460.1 to 460.11) by adding section 10gg.

 

THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF MICHIGAN ENACT:

 


     Sec. 10gg. (1) A utility customer may choose between the

 

placement or use of a traditional meter or an advanced meter

 

regardless of the utility that provides service to that customer. A

 

utility shall honor the direction of any customer with an advanced

 

meter who chooses to instead be serviced by a traditional meter or

 

to not accept new advanced meter functionality, including in

 

situations when a customer had not previously opted out of that

 

placement or use.

 

     (2) A utility shall not do any of the following:

 

     (a) Make the provision of any portion of utility service to a

 

customer contingent on the customer receiving service through any

 

meter or similar device other than a traditional meter. A utility

 

may prohibit a customer with a traditional meter from participating

 

in certain time-of-day tariff discounts.

 

     (b) Except as otherwise provided in this section, impose any

 

fee or disincentive on a customer for opting out of or not choosing

 

the installation or use of an advanced meter, the installation or

 

use of a hub meter, or the acceptance or use of an advanced meter

 

function.

 

     (c) Install an advanced meter or upgrade the functionality of

 

an existing advanced meter after the effective date of the

 

amendatory act that added this section unless the customer has been

 

properly notified and has not opted out of the installation or

 

upgrade. If a customer has not opted out of the installation or

 

upgrade, an on-site utility worker or his or her agent shall

 

nevertheless not install an advanced meter or upgrade the

 

functionality of the advanced meter if the customer has posted a


sign on the current meter forbidding the installation or upgrade of

 

an advanced meter or the customer verbally informs the worker at

 

the time of installation not to install or upgrade the advanced

 

meter.

 

     (3) A utility shall notify a customer in writing of the

 

utility's desire to install an advanced meter at the customer's

 

address or to upgrade the functionality of a previously installed

 

advanced meter. The utility shall send the notice by first-class

 

mail separate from any billing mailing. The utility shall keep a

 

copy of each mailed notice on file for review by the customer or

 

the commission. Each notice must do all of the following:

 

     (a) Include the customer's name, service address, and

 

anticipated date of installation.

 

     (b) State the utility's desire to install an advanced meter or

 

change the meter's functionality at the customer's address, as well

 

as to fully describe the functionality of the advanced meter, its

 

method of communication, and frequency of data communication.

 

     (c) If the advanced meter the customer would be receiving is a

 

hub meter, explain how a hub meter differs from other meters.

 

     (d) State the customer's ability to choose a traditional meter

 

or nonhub meter and the customer's rights under this section.

 

     (e) Clearly explain the process for a customer to opt out of

 

the installation of an advanced meter or hub meter or the use of an

 

advanced meter function.

 

     (4) The commission shall promulgate utility customer meter

 

choice and opt-out procedures that are composed of simple, easy-to-

 

understand steps that an average customer can easily understand


that do not place any undue burden on the customer. After being

 

notified under subsection (3), customers must be provided with at

 

least 45 days to communicate with the utility their desire to opt

 

out, with a clear deadline listed on the notice. Opt-out procedures

 

must be free of charge other than the cost of regular mailing. An

 

opt-out procedure or process must be narrow in construction so as

 

to inform the utility of the customer's intentions and not be made

 

contingent upon or contain language that would require the customer

 

to give up any rights or make any other ancillary agreements. A

 

customer that does not opt out when first notified does not give up

 

any rights or options granted to that customer under this section.

 

     (5) Within 30 days after receiving a customer's direction that

 

an advanced meter, hub meter, or new functionality be removed from

 

the customer's residence or business, a utility shall accommodate

 

the customer and, limited to actual costs, charge a fee not to

 

exceed $150.00 for the installation of the new meter. However, a

 

utility shall not charge a fee to remove an advanced meter if the

 

utility installed the advanced meter in violation of the notice

 

requirements in this section, installed the advanced meter or

 

upgraded the functionality of the advanced meter in violation of

 

subsection (2)(c), or installed the advanced meter before the

 

effective date of the amendatory act that added this section. A

 

utility shall not charge a monthly fee for using a traditional

 

meter unless the customer is offered the opportunity, but is

 

unwilling, to read and report the customer's usage under subsection

 

(6). Any monthly fee for using a traditional meter must not exceed

 

$5.00 per month.


     (6) A utility shall allow each customer to read and report

 

that customer's service usage if the customer reports reasonably

 

accurate usage on a regular basis. A utility shall provide a

 

customer with a preaddressed envelope and form upon request or

 

permit a customer to report meter readings on a secure website, by

 

telephone, or by other reasonable means. At least once every 12

 

months, the utility shall obtain an actual meter reading of a

 

customer's energy usage to verify the accuracy of readings reported

 

under this section. Notwithstanding this subsection, a

 

representative of a utility may manually read a customer's meter on

 

a regular basis as otherwise permitted by law and correct a reading

 

as necessary. If a customer fails to report usage or the utility

 

does not receive a customer's service usage on time, the utility

 

may manually read a customer's meter or charge that customer based

 

on an estimate of prior energy use in a manner approved by the

 

commission. A customer that intentionally reports inaccurate

 

information may be assessed a reasonable penalty under rules

 

promulgated by the commission and may be subject to any other

 

penalties provided by law. As used in this subsection:

 

     (a) "Inaccurate information" means the intentional

 

underreporting of meter data in an effort to not pay for provided

 

services. Inaccurate information does not mean minor differences in

 

readings by less than 5% to account for variations based on the

 

time of day that the meter is read and similar factors.

 

     (b) "Regular basis" means once per billing cycle.

 

     (7) The commission shall consider the ability to self-read

 

meters as part of any proceeding and shall fully recognize and


value that customers have a legitimate interest in controlling

 

third-party equipment placed onto their property that is not

 

inherently necessary as a condition to receiving service.

 

     (8) A customer's energy use data and internet user information

 

are private and confidential and a utility or its agents shall not

 

sell, rent, or share that data or information except as provided by

 

competent court order or law. A utility may report data relating to

 

electric or compressed natural gas vehicle fueling to the

 

department of treasury. The department of treasury shall use that

 

information strictly for taxation purposes and shall not share that

 

information with law enforcement without a warrant, and that

 

information is not subject to disclosure under the freedom of

 

information act, 1976 PA 442, MCL 15.231 to 15.246, except for

 

aggregate data used for research purposes in a nonidentifying

 

manner.

 

     (9) A utility shall ensure that any data from an advanced

 

meter communicated by networking technology are sufficiently

 

encrypted so that the data cannot be intercepted by a device other

 

than a device used by the utility. A utility shall not communicate

 

by networking technology meter use data that includes a customer's

 

name, Social Security number, address, or other identifying

 

information except for an independent and unique customer

 

identification number that is assigned by the utility. The utility

 

shall assign a customer identification number in a manner that

 

includes safeguards to prevent a device not owned by the utility

 

from associating the number with a particular customer or address.

 

     (10) A utility shall not post a customer's energy use data or


bill on the internet, except over a secured transfer protocol or

 

similar secured connection that uses 1 or more additional security

 

measures, such as a customer-selected password, to ensure that only

 

the customer can access the information.

 

     (11) A utility shall not wirelessly or otherwise remotely shut

 

off service to a customer unless both of the following requirements

 

are met:

 

     (a) At least 48 hours before shutoff, a utility representative

 

visits the property to which the service is to be shut off,

 

verifies that it is the correct address, and follows all other

 

shutoff procedures required by law.

 

     (b) The utility has a commission-approved, comprehensive

 

security program that reasonably ensures that a customer's service

 

will be shut off only through authorized access to the utility's

 

computer system, that is open to inspection and audit by the

 

commission, and that is designed to prevent unintentional shutoff

 

due to network hacking or terrorism. The commission shall

 

collaborate with the department of state police in approving or

 

auditing the security program.

 

     (12) As used in this section:

 

     (a) "Advanced meter" means a meter or metering device system

 

that is owned or leased by a utility or its agent and that meets 1

 

or more of the following requirements:

 

     (i) Is non-analog in nature.

 

     (ii) Is a device that measures, records, or sends a customer's

 

utility usage or other data by use of radio waves or broadband over

 

power lines.


     (iii) Allows for 2-way communication between the meter and the

 

utility or its agent.

 

     (iv) Allows for a utility or its agent to control a customer's

 

thermostat, appliance, or service.

 

     (b) "Hub meter" means an advanced meter that receives data

 

from other customers' meters as a result of the meter serving as

 

part of a network for other advanced meters it communicates with in

 

a given area.

 

     (c) "Traditional meter" means an analog meter. A traditional

 

meter is not designed to be and is not capable of transmitting

 

usage data by using radio waves or broadband over power lines,

 

allowing 2-way communication between the meter and the utility or

 

its agents, or allowing a utility or its agents to control a

 

customer's thermostat, appliance, or service. A traditional meter

 

does not mean a digital meter or an advanced meter that has certain

 

functionality turned off or deactivated.

 

     (d) "Utility" means a person that sells natural gas,

 

electricity, or water to retail customers in this state and that

 

either sells the natural gas, electricity, or water at rates

 

regulated by the commission or is owned by a municipality.