Oral Arguments Heard on Maine Smart Meter Case – May 10th, 2012 – 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 which:
(1) Refused to consider or make any judgment about the health and privacy complaints against the smart meters; and
(2) Refused to reverse an earlier decision that Maine residents must pay a perpetual fee if they opt-out of having a smart meter.
The plaintiffs argued that the Maine Public Utility Commission (PUC) 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.
The Court heard arguments by the plaintiff’s counsel and by counsel for the Maine PUC, and by Counsel for the electric utility company. The Commission defended its decision to dismiss the Appeal for Rehearing by stating that it had already ruled on the issues in dispute in its earlier decision. But then it was brought out that the earlier decision had completely ducked the issues of health and privacy on the theory that it had provided a sufficient remedy with the opt-out decision. Plaintiffs argued that the “remedy” came with punitive costs attached and that the Commission was totally ducking its responsibility to protect ALL the people of the state from a possible health threat – not just hte ones opting out.
It was clear from the judges questions that the Court was not buying the arguments put forward by the attorney for the Maine Public Utility Commission. The Court has not yet issued its written decision on the case, but we think it is quite clear from the oral arguments which way the wind is blowing.
Linked here is an actual audio recording of the oral arguments which runs 35 minutes. The best part is the second half of the recording.