By Associated Press - Sunday, May 3, 2015

JACKSON, Mich. (AP) - State utility regulators have been ordered to reopen a dispute over costs charged to customers who don’t want high-tech meters from Consumers Energy.

The Michigan appeals court last week said key issues are unclear, especially whether the cost of using old analog meters is already baked into rates. It ordered the Public Service Commission to hold a hearing and write an opinion.

People who don’t want high-tech meters from Consumers Energy would pay a one-time charge on top of a monthly charge.

So-called smart meters typically allow utilities to monitor electricity without sending an employee to each address. Customers can go online and see how much electricity is being used on an hourly basis.

Critics are concerned about privacy and any possible environmental impact.

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