Legislative Action Alert for Mainers Regarding Opt-Out Fees

By Ed FriedmanCapture-LD 826

A very important smart-meter bill will have its public hearing before the Energy, Utilities & Technology Committee next week on Tuesday, 26 March, in Augusta. Your input in person and/or by email or phone call to Committee legislators and your local legislators is essential! The bill would eliminate opt-out fees for retaining your analog electric meters. Note that we are supporting the bill with an amended expanded definition of smart meters to allow for more complete protection of ratepayers. Thanks to Representative Beavers for submitting the bill.

Details are presented below for the bill, including brief talking points you can cut and paste into your own email or written comments, linked contact information for committee members, and time and location for the hearing (scroll down for the map). Emails should be sent to the Committee Clerk, as well, and you may ask the clerk to print and distribute your communication to the committee members. Click on this link to look up and read the bill language (plug in “826” in the upper right of the Maine State Legislature page).

LD 826 “An Act to Eliminate the Opt-out Charges for Smart Meters”

Public Hearing in Augusta: Tuesday, 26 March 2013, 1:00 p.m., Cross Building, Room 211

  1. Smart meters emit harmful radiofrequency [RF] microwave radiation.
  2. Many people otherwise in excellent health have begun suffering symptoms such as headache, ringing in the ears, nausea, heart arrhythmia, insomnia, and loss of cognitive abilities following smart-meter installation. Many people with pre-existing electrical sensitivities have had their symptoms worsen following smart-meter exposure.
  3. Smart meters create adverse issues of Power Quality, also known as Dirty Electricity. Think of this as “static” on your household wiring. Dirty electricity can cause adverse health effects similar to those from RF.
  4. Electromagnetic frequencies such as those emitted by smart meters, cell phones, and other wireless devices have been shown to interfere with navigational and other biological functions in ants, birds, bees, and other critical wildlife species we are dependent on.
  5. Smart meters invade our privacy because they can collect very detailed and frequent [5-15 minute] data on the electricity we use. Even to the point of identifying a TV station you are watching.
  6. Wireless smart meters such as those used by CMP are easily hackable, so the system is highly vulnerable to cybersecurity issues and grid collapse.
  7. Smart meters are corporate transceivers or relay stations placed on your home without compensation.

Opt-out fees are coercive and many say extortive. Why should we be forced to pay a fee to protect ourselves and families from the actual or threatened harm detailed in 1-7? FCC guidelines dating back to 1996 only deal with limits on thermal effects of RF. Those guidelines, often invoked by regulators and legislators, are irrelevant when it comes to the non-thermal RF that is emitted by smart meters and other wireless devices. We are all lab rats when it comes to RF exposure. The point of having an opt-out option is to make a meaningful alternative available offering protection in regard to items 1-7. Because this bill’s definition of smart meters was originally too narrow, an amendment will be offered by the sponsor, Rep. Beavers, to expand the definition.

Please request of the legislators below that they vote “ought to pass” on LD 826 as it will be amended with the expanded smart-meter definition below:
B. Smart meter” means a wireless or wired digital electric, gas or water meter typically requiring a switching mode power supply or other mechanism allowing it to convert AC line power to the DC needed to operate. A smart meter is also any meter capable of gathering real-time or near real-time electrical, gas or water usage in any format finer than aggregate, storing it for later analyses and or transmitting the data via wireless or wired means.


Joint Standing Committee on Energy, Utilities and Technology
Committee Clerk: Kristen Gottlieb
Hearing Room:
Room 211, Cross State Office Building (scroll down for map), Augusta, Maine
Senator John J. Cleveland (D-Androscoggin), Chair
Senator Troy Dale Jackson (D-Aroostook) (bill cosponsor)
Senator Edward M. Youngblood (R-Penobscot)
Representative Barry J. Hobbins (D-Saco), Chair
Representative Roberta B. Beavers (D-South Berwick) (bill sponsor)
Representative Diane Russell (D-Portland) (bill cosponsor)
Representative Sara Gideon (D-Freeport)
Representative Deane Rykerson (D-Kittery) (bill cosponsor)
Representative Ryan D. Tipping-Spitz (D-Orono)
Representative Larry C. Dunphy (R-Embden)  (bill cosponsor)
Representative Aaron F. Libby (R-Waterboro)
Representative Lance Evans Harvell (R-Farmington) (bill cosponsor)
Representative Melvin Newendyke (R-Litchfield)

Please also thank these additional cosponsors of this bill:
Representative BOLAND of SanfordCapture-LD 826
Representative McGOWAN of York
Senator SAVIELLO of Franklin

Location of Cross Building in Augusta (click for further directions):

Cross Building-on map