Introduction to Our PUC Filings of Expert and Lay Witness Testimony

science

In the fall of 2012 we began a major “smart-meter” safety investigation at the PUC in Maine. It will likely run into the summer of 2013. There have been and will be a ton of filings with the Maine PUC in this case. These can be accessed from the MPUC website; type in “2011-00262” in the Case Lookup field. We will shortly post our expert testimony and witness testimony here for your convenience.

Maine smart meter opponents filed important expert and lay witness testimony on Friday, February 1, 2013, then submitted corrected and amended re-filings in the few days following that initial filing. Expert testimony is that of scientists engaged in research on the biological effects of low-level RF or those engaged in public health or policy in this arena. Lay witness testimony is typically from those sensitive to electricity and or electromagnetic fields, a condition that is often referred to as electromagnetic hypersensitivity (EHS) or electrically sensitive (ES).

Although all of our testimony is available on the Maine PUC website (docket 2011-00262), it is not labeled by content there in the index listing–only by filing number (e.g., 199, 200, 201). Only when you open each file can you identify the contents. Because that unwieldy system is so user-UNfriendly, we offer the same information here on this site but with a title that identifies for you the source and with an exhibit number. Note that these exhibit numbers are provided only for reference on this site. Because the documents have been reduced in size for your downloading convenience, you will need Adobe Reader X or higher to view the documents (download Adobe Reader here).

Index to our listing and related material:

Thank you.

 

Maine Smart Meter Appeal Summary History [as of 1/29/13]
Ed Friedman

On August 3, 2011, a group of 19 customers of Central Maine Power [CMP] filed a “10 Person Complaint” with the Maine Public Utilities Commission [PUC]. Our initial complaint, followed the PUC’s order of the nation’s first pay-to-opt-out-of-smart-meters plan. In fact, this was the first opt out plan period, and resulted from negotiations involved with several earlier complainants. Complainants in the new case issued a press release on 4/4/11 providing an excellent summary of the issues directed at both the PUC who ordered the smart meter program and CMP, Maine’s largest utility provider.

The Complaint was dismissed by the PUC on 8/31/11 without an investigation on grounds that issues raised had previously come before the PUC and been decided. In response, Complainants filed a Petition for Reconsideration on 9/9/11. With the PUC failing to respond within 20 days, the Petition was by PUC Rules, deemed denied.

On 10/31/11, Complainants filed a Notice of Appeal to the Maine Supreme Judicial Court, also known as the Law Court. Because the PUC is considered quasi-judicial, all PUC appeals go straight to the Law Court as opposed to a Superior Court where a normal agency appeal would first go. While appealed to the high court, the actual notice of filing is sent to the PUC, as it would be to a lower court in a normal appeal. The PUC then files all papers with the high court. The group issued a press release on 11/4/11 detailing the Notice of Appeal filing.

The actual Appeal Brief was filed on 1/10/12 accompanied by the required Supplement of Legal Authorities and Appendix. A press release on the Brief filing was issued 1/11/12. Several weeks later the US Supreme Court decided unanimously in US v. Jones that the attachment of a detailed information gathering device [in this case a GPS tracker on a car] by the government without a warrant was illegal. Appellants submitted a letter re. Jones to the Law Court, this being a situation quite similar to a smart meter attached to ones’ home.

Reply briefs were filed with the court on 2/28/12 by the PUC (PUC Reply Brief) and by CMP (CMP Reply Brief). Appellants filed their Response Brief on 3/13/12.  Oral arguments were heard by the court on May 10 at 9:50am EST. Arguments can be heard via live streaming available through the Maine Supreme  Judicial Court web site. Click on link to audio of oral arguments. Click on link to courtroom video footage.

The Maine Court published its decision on July 12, 2012 remanding our case to the Maine PUC for a determination of smart meter safety, another first in the nation. Here is our 7/16 Press Release on Decision. The Court did not rule on constitutional claims and on 7/25/12 we filed a Motion for Reconsideration addressing these issues and also requesting a stay on opt out fees pending results of the upcoming lengthy PUC investigation. Motions for reconsideration are never granted [after all, the court just decided and they’d have to admit they were wrong]. Ours was no exception and we received a denial of our Motion for Reconsideration on 8/9/12.

In the fall of 2012 we began a major smart meter safety investigation at the PUC. It will likely run into the summer of 2013. There have been and will be a ton of filings with the Maine PUC in this case. These can be accessed from the Maine PUC website in the docket section. Docket number is 2011-00262. The filing system is unfriendly. Our Expert testimony<to come!> and Witness testimony<to come!>, due 2/1/13