The Michigan Court of Appeals announced earlier this month that it would force DTE Energy, one of the state's largest utility companies, to lower electricity rates, according to The Detroit Free Press.

The decision stems from an electricity rate increase that came as part of a program to install smart meters across the utility's service area. Michigan's Public Service Commission agreed to an increase that would cost residents and businesses nearly $37 million.

"We will not rubber stamp a decision permitting such a substantial expenditure — a cost to be borne by the citizens of this state — that is not properly supported," the court wrote in its decision, according to the Free Press.

The court also ruled against a plan that would allow DTE to recover some of its losses when demand drops, either from an economic downturn or from increased conservation efforts.

While smart meters have been popular in states with electricity deregulation, where retail electricity providers can use them to offer a variety of different service plans, the court questioned the benefits of the devices for DTE's customers. Michigan implemented electricity deregulation, but limits participation to 10 percent of customers.