March 29th, 2013 – Smart Meter Oral Arguments Now Online. In May of 2012, the Maine Supreme Court heard oral arguments for an appeal by Ed Friedman and nine others of a refusal of the Maine PUC to consider issues such as health, safety, privacy and property rights. Their PUC took the position that by allowing an opt-out, with perpetual fee, they could sidestep all these issues and duck their responsibility under the statute to protect utility customers in that state.
The Maine Supreme Court thought otherwise and remanded the case back to the Maine PUC with a directive that they must exercise their statutory obligation to hear evidence on health, safety, and privacy issues.
Here in Michigan we have a nearly identical situation unfolding now. The Michigan PUC has also refused to hear evidence on health, safety, privacy and property rights in making its smart meter decisions. Our PUC, like the one in Maine, is making almost exactly the same arguments that were struck down in Maine – that by merely having an opt-out program they don’t need to reach the underlying issues which are, in fact, their responsibility under the Michigan statute which established our PUC.
We had previously posted these oral arguments as an audio only podcast on this website. We are fortunate now to have, for the first time, video of the oral arguments on this landmark smart meter case. I encourage all of our readers to take the time to watch this hearing, and particularly to note the hollowness of the arguments put forward by the attorney representing the Maine PUC.
I would encourage anyone, after watching the above video, to read the Proposal for Decision of Administrative Judge Dennis Mack in MPSC Case U-17053, at this link. I believe it is fair to say that you will find many of the same arguments that failed to persuade the Maine Supreme Court.
We think it likely the Commission will rubber stamp the above Proposal for Decision and that we will then be headed for a Michigan Appeals Court where we think there is a good chance the outcome will be very similar to that in Maine. Check it out and give us your opinion!