Link

Dr. David O. Carpenter to Testify Against “Smart Meters”
in Utility Rate Case
before
Michigan Public Service Commission.

David_O_Carpenter_from_the_University_at_AlbanyDr. Carpenter’s position is that the current smart meter technology
poses health risks both because of the microwave radiation and
because of the low frequency “dirty electricity” these meters put
on the wiring of homes and businesses.

Cross Examination of Dr. Carpenter
Michigan Public Service Commission
7109 West Saginaw Highway
Lansing, MI

Monday July 6th, 9 AM

Dr. Carpenter is currently Director of the Institute for Health and the Environment, State University of New York at Albany. He has published some 350 papers in peer reviewed journals.

We would like to see as many as possible attend the above
hearing before the administrative judge to show support for
Dr. Carpenter and for the testimony he is providing that will
be so helpful to our cause.

Directions from Detroit area: Follow I-96 from Detroit to Lansing and continue up the west side of Lansing, then exit to Saginaw Highway
and proceed
about 3 blocks east.

If you care about putting the brakes on this harmful technology, consider making a donation of $100, $50, $25 or whatever you
can afford to cover Dr. Carpenter’s travel expenses.

The doctor is, apart from reimbursement of out of pocket expenses, receiving no payment for his testimony. It is costing about $1,000
for air fare and rental car to bring him to this hearing.
This money
has been advanced by
Michigan Stop Smart Meters. Any money
raised
in excess of these travel expenses will go toward our ongoing
legal efforts and toward cost of
travel to put on smart meter
lectures
all over the state.

Please send contributions by check or money order to:

Michigan Stop Smart Meters
215 West Troy #4004
Ferndale, MI 48220

 

 

Link

by Vigilant Dave

DTE Electric Company, a wholly owned subsidiary of DTE Energy, on December 19th 2014, filed an application to the Michigan Public Service Commission for what is known as a “general rate case”. In their application they ask for approval to slightly lower electricity rates for some classes of high volume commercial users while substantially raising rates across the board for all classes of residential customers. A typical residential customer would see an increase of $13.70/month if DTE’s application is approved.

DTE argues that commercial users have been subsidizing residential customers and that this imbalance needs to be corrected. They will be submitting some evidence to support this claim. They also indicate that they will introduce evidence concerning progress with smart meter deployments and the experience to date with the smart meter opt-out program. The official notice of hearing on this case may be found here: http://efile.mpsc.state.mi.us/efile/docs/17767/0036.pdf

DTE states that they are not asking for an increase in opt-out fees at this time as they believe such action would be ‘premature’ until there is more data on costs and participation levels. Nevertheless, we cannot rule out the possibility that the Commission will increase opt-out rates based on a possible recommendation from staff.

DTE is asking the Commission to again approve the AMI program as providing benefits to the utility customers substantially in excess of the costs that are being passed on to the customers. They are also asking the Commission to approve expansion of what is known as the “demand side management program”. Stripped of the jargon, what this means is that the company will be more aggressively seeking to control how and when residential customers may use electricity for certain appliances. This is an inevitable outgrowth of smart meters and smart appliances. The company will doubtless argue that the new programs will be ‘voluntary’.

If you would like to have a voice in this case there are two ways to do this:

  • You may simply put in “an appearance” in the case in order to get your comment on the record. This means coming to the “pre-hearing conference” on Thursday, January 29th at 9 am, before Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) Sharon L. Feldman at the Commission’s new address: 7109 West Saginaw Highway, Lansing, Michigan. Upon arrival be sure to put your name on the sign-in sheet to speak so that they will call on you. The ALJ will likely set a time limit, such as 3 minutes or 5 minutes for each person wishing to comment. We hope a very large number of citizens who are upset with this smart meter program will take advantage of this option. There is no cost to do this other than about ½ day of your time.
  • You may choose to become what is called an “intervenor” in the case. This will allow you to take an active part over the weeks and months of hearings, including the submission of written evidence and witnesses, participation in cross-examination of DTE witnesses, and the writing of a brief in which you make arguments based on the evidence and the law as to what decision the Commission should make on DTE’s application.

To become an intervenor you must file a “Petition to Intervene” with the Commission at least 7 days prior to the pre-hearing conference, or by Thursday, January 22nd. This is a course that will require a considerably greater commitment of your time and a willingness to acquire at least some familiarity with the rules of procedure and the rules of evidence.

If you wish to become an intervenor, we can help. Some of us who have been down this road before will lead a workshop to help others if there is sufficient interest. The first step, however, is to read Part II of “Practice and Procedure Before the Commission” at: http://www7.dleg.state.mi.us/orr/Files/AdminCode/934_2009-046LR_AdminCode.pdf. Then read DTE’s application at: http://efile.mpsc.state.mi.us/efile/docs/17767/0001.pdf. Based on these 2 documents, draft your petition to intervene. Your petition can be created as a Word document or pdf document and attached to an email to the Executive Secretary of the Commission. Call me at (248) 604-7545 if you need assistance with creating your petition.

Scope of an Intervention: You can choose to limit your participation to only the smart meter issues OR you could choose to also challenge the across the board rate increase for residential customers. Either way you are going to need to present admissible evidence. But if you choose to challenge the rate increase you are probably going to need to present a witness who can be qualified as an expert on the economics and accounting procedures of the utility industry.

What is the Real Value in Becoming an Intervenor?

The real value is the opportunity to get evidence in the record that will effectively counter DTE’s claims and will, therefore, make it harder for the Commission to simply rubber stamp DTE’s application. If the Commission simply ignores the evidence that intervenors supply, it may become necessary for one or more of us to bring an appeal of the Commission’s final decision to the Michigan Court of Appeals. But first we must get evidence on record, or get on record the fact that our evidence was excluded from the record.

In the wake of the very successful hearing December 2nd public hearing before Tom McMillin’s House Oversight Committee we think the Commission and the ALJ will be more cautious about dismissing intervenors or ignoring their evidence as they have so often done in the past.

Link

corruption graphicDecember 18, 2014 – Michigan Stop Smart Meters expresses its support for much of what was said in a recent editorial “Standing Up to the Sleaze and Rot That Kills” posted by stopsmartmeters.org in California.

(image courtesy of hin255 at freedigitalphotos.net

While there are parts of that editorial that promote a world view with which we do not agree, below are quotes from that piece with which we particularly DO agree:

“The attack on public health and safety and the highway robbery the smart grid represents is not the result of some “misunderstanding” or “lack of information.”

“All of this is intentional and it will only stop when the criminals behind the program are forced to stop.  If a PUC commissioner suddenly woke up and realized the truth and started to actively challenge the system, the system would have them removed.  No question.  Commissioners are vetted carefully for any hint of rebellion before they are appointed.”

“Activists trying (in many cases valiantly and at great personal and financial sacrifice) have seen how fruitless it is to try and get one government agency to censure another, when the stakes are as high as a trillion dollar industry driving the global economy.”

What are the alternatives?  Are we doomed to submit comments to be ignored at the PUC and accept the consequences of smart grid proliferation?  Spend thousands of dollars on lawsuits just to be tossed out of court by corrupt, system-loyal judges?”

“Watch as our friends and families and perhaps ourselves get sick and die of cancer?  As our homes burn down at 3am and the utility blames the wiring?  As we are disconnected one by one from essential services because we refuse to agree to pay not to be harmed?”

“What we need is a resistance movement that protects environmental health and safety by whatever means necessary.   A group of committed individuals who will stand up against state power and refuse to back down- no matter what- in the face of injustice.  Yes we need the intelligent, well-informed critiques of current policy to spread awareness and provide fodder for those willing to take the time to analyze the truth (and lies) behind these industry documents.  But intellectual debate and discussion- or even active awareness raising campaigns- are not going to win it alone.”

What then do we do?  Your comments please.

Link

February 23rd, 2012 – 109 Texas Citizens Press Texas Public Utilities Commission to Act on “Smart” Meters – In a legal filing today Texas utility customers asked for legal relief against the bullying actions of a number of Texas electric utilities.   They are seeking to have their case heard by an Administrative Law Judge.  A key assertion was that:

“In order to persuade consumers to permit the installation of smart meters on their residences and businesses some and, perhaps all, utilities and purveyors have engaged in egregious misconduct, engaging in deliberately fraudulent representations and fraudulently withholding vital information material to the consumer’s informed consent, and where fraud was insufficient such utilities and purveyors have engaged in unlawful duress and even unlawful force.”  (Does this sound familiar folks?)

Many specific examples of fraudulent statements are cited, including “implicating personnel of the PUC … by persuading them to fraudulently respond to complaints and inquiries by concerned citizens that ‘Customers do not have the opportunity to opt out of having their meter replaced with an AMS meter’ even though the PUC official could not pretend to be unaware of … “ (Texas law to the contrary)  (Does this sound familiar?)

The parallels to our own situation here in Michigan seem all too obvious.

The specific remedies sought by the Texans are very enlightening.  If they get even half of what they are asking for they will have killed smart meters in their state.  Their filing was prepared by or under the supervision of an attorney.  Click here to review their entire petition. 

Where are we here in Michigan?  We have a Public Services Commission which has failed to exercise proper supervision of the meter rollout in our state, and whose staff people routinely tell consumers they have no choice but to permit installation of a smart meter – even though they know that is NOT the law.

We have a Public Services Commission that was asked by the governments of 9 Michigan cities to:

  1. Institute a review of the health effects of the meters.
  2. Impose a moratorium on further installs pending results of a health study.
  3. Do more to educate the public about the nature of the smart meters and the risks they pose.
  4. Allow for individual opt-outs.

Our MPSC issued an Order on January 12th that did not include 3 of the above 4 requests by the city governments. 

While our Commission “investigates” for the next 6 months, it is also permitting DTE to install possibly as many as a half million more ‘smart’ meters without the informed consent of the utility’s customers.  If we take no major action to change things, all we can expect from this investigation is probably some sort of individual ‘opt-out’ involving the payment of onerous fees for the ‘privilege’.  The outcome would likely be similar to what happened in California – where they must now fight the fees.  What about whole communities opting out? What about the informed consent of the governed?  What about the possible health damage to millions of citizens from their own or a neighbor’s smart meter?

Is it not time we Michiganders followed the example of the Texans and filed a similar legal document with our MPSC?  Who is ready to add their name to such a complaint?  Who is ready to attend a public meeting to discuss where we go from here?  And if our complaint is denied by the Commission, who is ready to take it all the way to the State Supreme Court?

Please post a comment here and send an email to Vigilant Dave at the address shown at the bottom of this page if you are willing to participate or help in some way.