January 8, 2013 – Michigan Administrative Judge Shows Bias - Today, at a hearing of the Michigan Public Services Commission (MPSC), administrative judge Dennis Mack excluded nearly ALL opposition evidence from being considered in the smart meter opt out case, U-17053. Nearly all evidence that had been offered by multiple intervenors has been stricken from the record on the transparently false claim that health, safety and privacy issues are “outside the scope” of this proceeding. This, despite the fact that the MPSC had been ordered to hear evidence on these issues by the Michigan Court of Appeals, and had already refused to hear such evidence in its general rate case, U-15768. Administrative judge Theresa Sheets in that newly reopened case also denied rights to 4 people who sought to intervene to raise health and privacy issues the original intervenors had waived. All on the theory that it was three years too late to intervene, even though the case had just been reopened to hear the very issues these intervenors wanted to raise.
Administrative law judges in Michigan are assigned to MPSC cases by another state agency and they are supposed to function independently in making their determinations. Today we saw that this was not the case. Some had initially taken false comfort from the judge’s pleasant and patient manner in dealing with the intervenors, many of whom had little prior experience representing themselves in a legal setting. But at the end of the hearing, when it really mattered, nearly every one of his many rulings favored the exclusion of evidence, just as he had been asked to do by Detroit Edison’s attorney and by an attorney representing MPSC staff.
The evidence that was excluded in this case would have established the harm that smart meters are causing our entire society and also the particular hardship suffered by people who are entitled to protection under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
The point was well established that this entire opt out case was begun prematurely since the Commission has yet to hold an evidentiary hearing on whether smart meters should even be legal in this state. The judge was not even willing to consider health testimony as it might relate to the type of opt-out meter to be allowed.
Much of the health testimony offered by Linda Kurtz and Cynthia Edwards was specifically designed to show, based on the personal experiences of at least 5 witnesses, that a smart meter with its radio turned off causes nearly as much trouble for the electro-sensitive people as a smart meter with the radio turned on. This goes directly to the type of meter that should be allowed as part of an opt-out policy and is very clearly within the scope of this case. None of this testimony was allowed.
The reason a smart meter with its radio turned off causes so much mischief has to do with the switched mode power supply contained in all the new electronic meters, but not contained in the old analog meters. The Cusumanos were offering an expert electrical witness who would explain what it is about the new meters that causes this problem. That witness was excluded along with the personal testimonies.
A very young attorney, representing Michigan’s Attorney General, sat mute through the entire proceeding, never objecting to anything that was done or making any contributions of a positive nature. We were appalled today, just as we were in the U-15768 case, by the failure of the Attorney General to protect the interests of the people of this state.
This judge also ruled that five people who had submitted personal sworn testimony concerning how their lives have been diminished by smart meters were “not expert witnesses” and therefore not qualified to speak as lay witnesses even as to their own health and to their personal experience and observations as to how their health had been affected by smart meters.
Finally the judge refused to grant expert witness status to a Red Seal electrical consultant from Canada who has testified before numerous legislative bodies on matters within the scope of his professional competence. These testimonies included the Texas Senate, Oregon Senate and the Parliament in British Columbia, Canada
Today’s developments were not entirely a surprise since we have encountered dishonesty and foul play at almost every turn in dealing with this state agency.
We need to launch an appeal of what happened here today. We are fighting a battle, not just for ourselves, but for the people of the State of Michigan. Dishonesty in state officials makes us angry! Does it make you angry too? We need your HELP!
OUR ACCOMPLISHMENTS SO FAR
We at Michigan Stop Smart Meters have, in concert with others, been struggling for nearly two years now to raise health, safety and privacy issues with respect to so called “smart meters” now being deployed by Detroit Edison on the east side of state, and by Consumers Energy on the west side. In concert with others we petitioned city and county governments to endorse our cause and got the backing of 24 local governments. This resulted in a pretend MPSC investigation, but also led to the introduction of two proposed new laws. We sponsored this website and public educational meetings in Ferndale, Plymouth, Holland and soon in Muskegon. We have been interviewed by Macomb Daily, Oakland Press, Detroit News, Hometown Newspapers, by Holland radio’s “Talk of the Town” program, Fox17 News in Grand Rapids, and by Channel 13 in Grand Rapids.
We have been closely following two cases in Oakland Circuit Court where Detroit Edison has sued local couples who changed their own meters when they became ill and could get no relief from the utility. One of these cases is going well. In the other case the couple has suffered an unjust decision and is in need of our help to mount an appeal.
Appeals are also needed for the two MPSC decisions that muzzled us from presenting necessary evidence on the record.
The decision has been made to proceed without legal representation, unless we can find an attorney to help us pro bono. If we had an attorney on the clock at usual commercial rates the utility could easily bankrupt us. Even though our members have enough experience to manage these cases without being represented by an attorney (if we must), we still need money for filing fees, for transcripts, for travel expenses of expert witnesses and for legal consultations.
If you are angry at what Detroit Edison and its cronies in state offices are doing to Michigan utility customers, PLEASE HELP US by donation or by volunteering your time!