Let the Games Begin! Part 2: Maine Supreme Court Ruling and Opening Briefs to CPUC Phase 2 Smart Meter Hearings

As discussed in yesterday’s post, in a pre hearing last May on Phase 2 of the CPUC Smart Meter hearings, several parties urged the CPUC to make health impacts from Smart Meters front and center in Phase 2, especially because in Phase 1 this topic was completely disregarded.  Commissioner Peevey (former executive of Southern California Edison), however, on June 8, 2012, again denied allowing health impacts to be part of the Smart Meter hearings. He said that he was not “persuaded that it would be appropriate to expand the scope to review the alleged health impacts of smart meters.”

What has happened since then is that a very interesting ruling by the Maine Supreme Court has come down, where they overruled their own Maine PUC for taking a similar tactic as the California PUC is taking, that is disregarding health and safety issues–and even though it’s a very recent ruling (just out on July 12, 2012), several of the opening briefs (my own, Wilners;  County of Marin, et al –and possibly a few more as I have not finished reading all of them) referred to the Maine ruling.

In the Opening brief filed on behalf  of the County of Marin, County of Santa Cruz, Town of Fairfax, City of Marina, City of Seaside, City of Capitola, City of Santa Cruz, Town of Ross and the Alliance for Human and Environmental Health, attorney James Tobin (et. al) writes that the Commission “has never determined that the Utilities’ wireless mesh radio networks and Smart Meters promote the safety, health. . . . of. . .the public as required by P.U. Code § 451. [despite the CPUC having]. . .”decades of  awareness of this issue”  He calls it a “material omission of statutory enforcement,” and says it “undermines the likelihood that opt-out rates will be ultimately upheld.”

The County of Marin et al brief  then cites the Maine Ruling:

“This is dramatically illustrated by the Supreme Judicial Court of Maine’s recent decision
in Friedman v. PUC, decided July 12, 2012. . . .[quoting the Maine Ruling]:

“The Commission’s previous decisions demonstrate that it may have considered, to a limited extent, the health and safety issues Friedman raised, but it did not resolve those issues. Because the Commission explicitly declined to make determinations on the merits of the health and safety concerns raised by the complainants in the Opt-Out Investigation, the Commission’s decision in this proceeding to treat those issues as “resolved” by that prior investigation was in error. Having never determined whether smartmeter technology is safe, the Commission is in no position to conclude in this proceeding that requiring customers who elect either of the opt-out alternatives to pay a fee is not “unreasonable or unjustly discriminatory,” 35-A M.R.S. § 1302(1), such that a complaint raising those issues should be summarily dismissed.29

The governing statute in Maine is similar to California’s § 451 in that it provides
that “one of the [Maine] Commission’s core regulatory responsibilities is to ensure that public utilities provide “safe, reasonable and adequate service” to customers. It
should be noted, however, that § 451 contains a more explicit reference to need for the“instrumentalities, equipment, and facilities” of the Utilities involved in this proceeding to“promote the safety, health, comfort, and convenience of its patrons, employees, and the public.”

Here are links to more of the Opening briefs (in process)

Center for ElectroSmog Prevention

EMF Safety Network  Network Opening Brief Phase 2 11-03-014 Final

Southern California Edison A.11-03-014 et al PGE SM Opt-out_SCE OpeningBrief Re ADA Community-1

County of Marin, County of Santa Cruz, Town of Fairfax, City of Marina, City of Seaside, City of Capitola, City of Santa Cruz, Town of Ross and the Alliance for Human and Environmental Health Opening Brief Phase 2 071612 Final

Wilner & Associates OpeningBrief-1

Center for Accessible Technology ADA_Smart_Meter_Briefing_PDFA

Pacific Gas and Electric

San Diego Gas and Electric and SoCalGas (filed jointly)#269348-Opening_Brief_of_SDGE_and_SoCalGas_on_Commissioners_Ruling

Utility Consumers Action Network  UCAN Opening Brief

Stop Smart Meters Irvine

People’s Initiative Foundation

Southern Californians for Wired Solutions to Smart Meters (SCWSSM)

This entry was posted in "Opt Out" Issues, CPUC Smart Meter Hearings, Maine Supreme Court Ruling Smart Meters, Peevey, Smart Meters. Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Let the Games Begin! Part 2: Maine Supreme Court Ruling and Opening Briefs to CPUC Phase 2 Smart Meter Hearings

  1. is this website still alive? Who is going to go to the 12/18 San Clemente meeting at 6:00 pm organized by Edison? We should decide what to say, what to do. Anybody would like to carpool? I live in Tustin.

  2. Hi Marie,
    I haven’t been able to update this website regularly. For latest (and important) updates, readers can check out Burbank Action, StopOCMeters, Center for Electrosmog Prevention, EMF Safety Network, Stop Smart Meters, etc. See blog roll for their exact links.
    I will post a note about the meetings this weekend at the top of this page with links. The utilities are trying to raise the opt out fees. Turn.org. unfortunately is supporting this, which does not seem at all a pro consumer position.
    Melissa

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