March 17th, 2013 – Smart Meter Mini-Retreat in Ann Arbor More
March 7th, 2013 – U.K. Report: Smart Meters a Panopticon More
February 19th, 2013 – California Group Pursues Spying. More
February 22nd, 2013 – Are Smart Meters Chasing Out Birds?More
February 21st, 2013 – California – SM Install Now Misdemeanor. More
February 21st, 2013 – Cindy Sage: Train Wreck for Consumer. More
February 21st, 2013 - Muskegon Smart Meter Meeting. More
February 4th, 2013 - Channel 7′s Smart Meter Story. More
February 4th, 2013 - Governor’s Energy Future Forums. More
February 3rd, 2013 – Hong Kong University Nixes Antennae. More
January 24th, 2013 – Vermont Smart Meter RF Study. More
January 16th, 2013 – Two days of smart meter cross examinations completed today before Michigan Public Service Commission. Nine intervenors attempted with limited successes to cross-examine Robert Sitkauskas, representing Detroit Edison and Steven McLean of the Michigan Public Service Commission. More
November 2nd, 2012 – Detroit Edison Responds to Appeal – On this day Detroit Edison filed its response to the Appeal filed against MPSC Judge’s Ruling. The stories about the original hearing and about the appeal directly follow. We welcome your comments, pro or con.
October 22nd, 2012 – Appeal Filed Against MPSC Judge’s Ruling - On this day three of our members appealed their unjust exclusion as interveners in a case that is very likely to decide not only the opt-out issue, but the whole future of ‘smart meters’ in Michigan. This is an update to the story originally reported under the October 16th date (below). This is the general rate case U-15768 that the Commission had to reopen to comply with a remand order of the Michigan Court of Appeals. That court ordered the MPSC to consider issues such as the risks and burdens of AMI, the experience with customer response in other states and to conduct a thorough evidentiary review. Yet we encountered an Administrative Law Judge, Teresa Sheets, who thought it just fine to narrow the scope of the proceeding to exclude many of the very issues MPSC had been ordered by the Appeals Court to consider. She also thought it just fine to declare “this is not a prehearing conference” even where the Commission’s Order said that it was. She further stated that all petitioners needed to have filed their petitions in 2009 – even though there never was any notice in 2009 that ‘AMI’ or ‘smart meter’ issues were to be part of the case. The appeal was filed by petitioners Sheldon, Dominic Cusumano and Linda Gula (Cusumano). The appeal will go first to the 3 member Commission and then, if necessary, to the Court of Appeals.
October 16th – Another MPSC Outrage! On this day our Michigan Public Service Commission began what was supposed to be compliance with an Order of the Michigan Court of Appeals from last April. The Court said their 2010 decision to allow Detroit Edison to charge back costs of smart meter program to customers was not properly supported by a record of evidence. The Court ordered a ‘full do over’ including consideration of the “risks and burdens” of smart meters, customer reactions, and experience in other states.
After months of foot dragging the Commission finally reopened the original case, U-15768, that had been started in 2009, and set up a scheduling conference for October 16th. Linda Kurtz, Dominic and Lillian Cusumano, and David Sheldon all submitted timely petitions the week before the scheduling conference with strong arguments as to why they should be admitted as interveners in the reopened case. They indicated that they would argue the health and privacy issues that had been totally ignored by the original parties to the case. These were issues well within the scope of what the appeals court ordered MPSC to address this time around. They argued that they were entitled to intervene in an old case at this late stage because the original notices of the case in 2009 had contained no mention of smart meter technology.
Administrative Law Judge Teresa Sheets summarily dismissed all of the above petitions to intervene on the flimsiest of rationales. She argued that the original public notice had been ‘appropriate’ since the words “AMI metering” had been mentioned in a footnote to line 27 in one of many exhibits to Detroit Edison’s original application for a rate increase. Therefore anyone with concerns about ‘smart meters’ had fair opportunity to intervene in 2009 and cannot seek to intervene now. This judge also declared that the reopened case would deal only with money issues and that questions of health and safety were entirely outside the scope of the reopened case. This administrative judge is clearly acting in defiance of our judicial branch court.
Those of us who petitioned to intervene plan to appeal the ruling of this judge – first to the Commission and then to the Michigan Court of Appeals should that become necessary.
September 28th, 2012 - the National Campaign to Stop Smart Meters and Wireless Radiation Protection Coalition are calling for a National Day of Action on October 4th to demand an immediate moratorium on further “smart meter” installations and a blanket recall due to safety problems. Protest demonstrations are planned in many states for this day in hopes of getting some media attention to our issue. Details available at this website: http://actiondaytostopsmartmeters.org/
We understand that a local demonstration is planned here in Michigan in front of the DTE building in downtown Detroit. We have been unable to obtain details concerning this event but interested persons should call the organizers, John and Pauline Holton at (586) 731-3314 or email them at email@example.com.
September 25th, 2012 – Texas, Lieutenant Governor has tasked a Senate Committee with doing a full investigation of the possible health problems that may be caused by smart meters in that state. Click here for article.
September 11th, 2012 – Order issued today by the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) requires Michigan electric utilities to offer an opt out from ‘smart meters’. The Order is directed to all privately owned electric utilities in Michigan and requires that if and when they decide to implement an AMI program (smart meters) that they must offer an opt out, based on “cost of service principles”. The latter means that utilities should impose an opt out fee that will be sufficient to cover any costs they must incur in order to accommodate the opt out customers. The question of whether it is appropriate to charge such fees, or how high they can be is being explored in a separate Case U-17053 that had its first hearing yesterday.
Part of the Order is directed at Consumers Energy and gives them 60 days to propose an opt out plan for MPSC review and approval. Consumers is the only Michigan utility other than Detroit Edison to actually have a smart meter program, and the latter has already submitted a plan.
The Commission also concedes that the issues that have been raised by customers and cities concerning customer data collection, privacy and security of the grid itself are important enough that they will open a new case to deal with these issues. We will inform our readers of the new case number as soon as that becomes available. We hope and expect that the new case will be a contested case proceeding where evidence may be heard on the record.
The Commission’s order is notably silent in two crucial areas: (1) the question of the health issues and (2) the question of what type of meter shall be provided as the alternative for customers opting out. MPSC staff had previously dismissed the health concerns as “insignificant”.
To read the Commission’s Order, click here.
August 20th, 2012 – Smart Meter Educational Meeting Covered by Two Grand Rapids TV Stations. Our meeting at the Herrick District Library in Holland, MI, featured historical overview and privacy presentations by David Sheldon and a very detailed discussion of the radiation and health issues by Diana Ostermann. The program was covered by FOX17News of Grand Rapids and by WZZM13, the ABC News affiliate. Also present was Roger Morgenstern, the principal spokesman for Consumers Energy. Channel 13 aired, later that evening, a lively back and foth exchange between Morgenstern, Sheldon and Ostermann. To see a video of this broadcast click here The online news story by Fox can be seen by clicking here.
August 8th, 2012 – Michigan residents in Holland, Muskegon and other communities on the Lake Michigan side of the state heard, many for the first time, about the dark side of ‘smart meters’. Michigan Stop Smart Meters was represented by David Sheldon for a half hour call in talk show on WHTC in Holland, Michigan with host Juke Van Oss.
The new meters have not been on the horizon for most on this side because no installations have taken place there yet. The talk show, hopefully, will touch a nerve because Consumers Energy plans to start smart meter installations in Muskegon in September, and Holland will be next.
To hear a podcast of the talk show go to this website: “http://whtc.com/podcasts/talk-town-juke-van-oss/” scroll down to “Big Brother is Watching Through Your Utility Meter” and play or download.
July 27th, 2012 – America’s Failing Grade on Cyber Attack Readiness -
(from ABC News Report) The man in charge of America’s cyber operations said that on a scale of one to 10, the nation’s preparedness to deal with a major cyber attack on critical infrastructure sits at a dismal three. “Somebody who finds vulnerability in our infrastructure could cause tremendous problems,” Army Gen. Keith Alexander, Director of the National Security Agency and chief of U.S. Cyber Command, told audience members at the Aspen Institute’s annual security forum late Thursday, according to multiple reports.. . . “I’m worried most about power. I’m worried about water. I think those are the ones that need the most help,” he said. Click here for full story on ABC News.While the NSA Chief did not specifically link his concerns to the ‘smart grid’, James Woolsey, former CIA Director did just that in this EnergyNow interview. Click here for interview video.
July 23rd, 2012 – City of Troy - unanimously passed a resolution supporting the right of all utility customers to opt-out of a ‘smart meter’ without unreasonable costs or penalties, and also supporting House Bill 2411 proposed by Rep. McMillin. This resolution, like all the others, has no force of law. Its purpose is to urge the Governor, Attorney General or state legislature to act. The resolution erred in stating that the MPSC had already ordered a moratorium against further installations. No such moratorium has been ordered to date and installations are proceeding throughout Oakland County at a brisk pace. Click here for certified resolution as posted to MPSC.
July 20th, 2012 – PBS NEWS HOUR DOES SEGMENT ON SMART METERS. A story, heavily biased by the fact that 4 so called ‘experts’, all hired guns for the utility industry, were interviewed and their ‘expert’ views were ‘balanced’ against the ‘feelings’ of people not portrayed as experts. The story was further compromised by portraying the smart meter resistance as purely a ‘California’ phenomena, and by mentioning only 12 cities opposing, when in fact there were 54. We believe this was an attempt by a national network to contain and marginalize a nationwide movement. Update: When this story first appeared there were many hundreds of mindless ‘tinfoil hat’ type comments. Evidently PBS did some serious editing because the number of comments has now been reduced to about 70 and the quality of these comments is better than the quality of the PBS story! If enough people nationwide read the comments they may get a real education on this issue!To see the video cast and read transcript and public comments, click here.
July 19th, 2012 - ACLU of Vermont Weighs in on smart meters -
“The ACLU’s concern has been this: We felt that privacy issues around “smart meters” and “smart grid” data were not being fully considered.
“The temptation to use this information for something other than managing electrical loads will be strong – as it has been for cell phone tracking data and GPS information. Police will want it to know your general comings and goings or whether you’re growing marijuana in your basement under grow lights. Advertisers will want it to sell you an expensive washing machine to replace the energy hog you got as a wedding present 20 years ago.
“Information flowing in a smart grid will become more and more “granular” as the system develops. New appliances will have computer chips that will tell the grid exactly how much electricity they are using. The grid will be able to turn appliances on or off to avoid peak loads. Click here for article.
July 12th, 2012 - Update - MAINE SUPREME COURT REBUKES MAIN PUBLIC UTILITY COMMISSION – In a decision today the Court held that the Maine Public Utility Commission had failed to consider or resolve issues of smart meter health and safety and was clearly wrong to deny a Petition for Reconsideration filed by lead plaintiff Ed Friedman and 17 co-plaintiffs. The decision was a mixed result however, in that Court failed to address Constitutional issues on grounds they were only reviewing a decision of the PUC which had never been given jurisdiction by the legislature to consider Constitutional issues.
Click here for news story from Maine Public Broadcasting.
Click here for the actual court decision.
Earlier Story – May 10th, 2012 – Main Supreme Court Hears Smart Meter Case – The Court on this date heard oral arguments on an appeal brought by a group of named plaintiffs protesting the decision of the Maine Public Utilities Commission. The plaintiffs argued that the Maine Public Utility Commission ducked its responsibility under the law to consider matters such as health, safety and property rights before authorizing utilities in the state to deploy the new meters, and ducked that responsibility again when it issued its opt-out decision. Plaintiffs argued further that the Commission was remiss in dismissing its Appeal for Rehearing on these issues.
Click here for rest of story and audio recording of the hearing.
July 11th, 2012 - PG&E Spied on Smart Meter Activists (from National Stop Smart Meters website). PG&E Executives read emails of activists and attempted to join their meetings while posing as anti smart meter activists. Now they seek to muzzle disclosure of the names of the executives involved. Click here for story.
July 10th, 2012 - UPDATE TO MICHIGAN SMART METER CASE – The couple with the home in Addison Township has learned that the preliminary injunction and summary disposition sought by Detroit Edison to force installation of a ‘smart meter’ was not granted by the Court! The couple has filed a counter claim against the utility and has made the demand for trial by jury for all issues that may be so tried. They have just received notice that their trial is scheduled for March 2013. They are representing themselves and will have a lot of work ahead of them now, but at least there is a very good chance for a just outcome! If there is an attorney reading this with a keen interest in the ‘smart’ meter issue willing to provide some advisory assistance to the couple, please contact this website via firstname.lastname@example.org.
June 20th - Earlier Report on This Case - A couple was sued by Detroit Edison for an injunction to force installation of a ‘smart meter’ at the couple’s Addison Township home. In a hearing today in Oakland Circuit Court, the judge listened attentively to the couple’s defense. Many telling points were made and an affidavit from a qualified expert was submitted. DTE was apparently expecting a cakewalk and was surprised at how the hearing went. The judge took the case under advisement. We are cautiously optimistic as we await the judge’s written decision.
July 6, 2012 - UPDATE - Michigan Public Service Commission Report still inconclusive on need for ‘smart meters’
State Reps. Paul Opsommer and Tom McMillin today announced their disappointment with the results of the Michigan Public Service Commission’s recent report regarding the use of Advanced Metering Infrastructure, also known as “smart meters.” Both legislators said ratepayers are being forced to pay for devices that have not been shown to save consumers any money, and are not being given an ability to opt out of the controversial program. Click here for complete news release
Earlier Story - June 29th, 2012 –The Michigan Public Service Commission issued its staff report on its “investigation” of the smart meter controversy. The important point to understand is that this “investigation”, spanning 5-1/2 months, was no investigation at all. It was a “Cover Thy …” process designed to justify policies the agency had put into effect years earlier. The process was initiated in response to pleas from 9 city governments and to placate citizens, give citizens an opportunity to vent their rage, and utility corporations an opportunity to get their corporate PR on record. It was clear from the beginning that this process was never seriously intended to question the ongoing forced replacement of 2 million electric meters. Click here for article.
May 23rd, 2012 - ENTHUSIASTIC RESPONSE AT PLYMOUTH MEETING – On Wednesday evening about 45 people gathered in the Plymouth Public Library to hear a program presented by Michigan Stop Smart Meters. Three speakers presented an overview of smart meters, the failed business case, the radiation hazards and the threat to privacy. Click here for full story
April 10th, 2012 – MICHIGAN COURT OF APPEALS REBUKES MPSC - On this day the Michigan Court of Appeals rebuked the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) for a decision made in 2010. The case was brought by the Michigan Attorney General and Association of Businesses Advocating Tariff Equity (ABATE). The case questioned whether the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) acted properly when it approved, in 2010, the request of Detroit Edison that it be allowed to recapture the costs of installing 500,000 smart meters by means of a $37 million rate hike to its customers. Click Here for Full Story.