Yesterday, May 12th, 2015, anti-smart meter activists in Maine filed an appeal to a December Public Utility Commission decision with the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.
In December 2014, the Maine Public Utility Commission (PUC) issued a decision concluding that smart meters were ‘safe enough’ for the public reflecting a lower standard than the Court or law allows.
In fact, one Commissioner acknowledged that there was a credible threat of harm related to chronic exposure to smart meter radiofrequency emissions. Quoting from the December 2014 PUC Order:
“Thus as part of the safety finding, there is a low cost or no cost accommodations to recognize that there is some credible evidence of risk of chronic effects. I find it is not a reasonable utility practice for CMP [Central Maine Power] to fail to provide sufficient risk mitigation and that CMP should provide an AMI meter with a transmitter turned off if recommended by a licensed doctor or medical practitioner.”
Additionally, as stated in the December 2014 Order:
“Commissioner Littell would have CMP provide an AMI meter with transmitter off as part of the safety determination while Commissioner Vannoy would not find that necessary.”
However, as part of the final language in the PUC Order where only two Commissioners participated, the above conditional safety finding was completely abandoned, and it was simply concluded that:
“Fees associated with opting-out are reasonable and not unjustly discriminatory…”
How can this be? How can fees associated with refusing smart meters be “reasonable” where there is acknowledged “credible evidence of risk of chronic effects”?
With the above information as background, here are some selected quotations from the appeal filed yesterday:
“CMP customers have been complaining about the safety of the smart meter system since it was first installed. There have been seven 10-person complaints filed over the last five years, …
The Commission failed to satisfy the Legislature’s mandate to ensure safety when it authorized the system, when it responded to complaints in the Opt-Out proceedings in 2010-2011, and when it dismissed Appellants’ complaint in late 2011, as found by this Court in Friedman I.
Now, three years after this Court’s mandate in Friedman I, it has failed again, not only the Legislature’s mandate but this Court’s mandate, and the Constitutional mandate that all Maine residents have the right to obtain safety.
The Decision must be vacated because:
1) It directly contradicts the specific findings and conclusions made by Commissioner Littell …
2) It fails to ensure safety … both Commissioners erroneously concluded some credible threat to health and safety must be allowed,
3) It limits its assurance of safety to fewer than all CMP customers … and fails to account for the cumulative and additive effects of RF radiation, resulting in no assurance to customers with impaired immune systems, to customers with EHS, and to customers who may develop EHS over time.
4) It is not supported by substantial evidence in the record – its findings of safety are based on RF exposures averaged over time, but there is no evidence in the record that averaging of exposures is relevant to the threat of non-thermal effects; …
Applying the correct legal standard to the facts in the record compels the conclusion there is a credible threat of harm from the direct, unprotected exposure to RF radiation from CMP’s smart meter system. The findings and conclusions made by Commissioner Littell require this conclusion.
The Decision should be vacated with directions for Commission action ordering CMP to:
1) Remove or disable the AMI system unless and until safety is ensured;
2) Remove from its records all payment obligations of opt-out customers who chose to Defer payment of the opt-out fees until this case is resolved;
3) Reimburse all customers who initially opted out but gave up and paid the fees; and
4) Allocate to CMP’s shareholders the expenses incurred for Exponent’s fees.”
Regarding the appeal brief filed yesterday, time will now be allocated for reply briefs, and oral arguments will be scheduled at a later date.
Reference: “Anti-smart meter activists filed their appeal,” at http://www.mainecoalitiontostopsmartmeters.org/2015/05/anti-smart-meter-activists-filed-their-appeal/
Related News Article from May 18, 2015: “‘Smart meter’ opponents take fight to Maine’s top court, at http://bangordailynews.com/2015/05/18/business/smart-meter-opponents-take-fight-to-maines-top-court/