- 'Smart Meters'...
The New Silent Killer - Pt 2
- At the end of Part I , I posed these
- Can you opt out of having a 'smart meter' in your state?
- What if I already have one installed? Should I file a
- Is there a state or federal law requiring a 'smart meter'
be installed on your home or business?
- This mess is a complicated issue with states around the
country doing one thing while another is doing nothing.
- Regarding lawsuits: One thing I have learned over the
past two decades from brilliant constitutional attorneys who have become
dear friends - never, ever go into court poorly prepared because the end
result is bad case law on the books.
- We when feel threatened or harmed, the first inclination
is to file a lawsuit. But, due to millions of laws on the books at both
the federal and state level, one becomes frustrated and driven to insanity
by tracing one statute to the next from one bureaucracy to another. Here
in Texas, a lawsuit over the 'smart meter' failed because of jurisdiction.
On Aug. 13, 2010, Texas Civil District Court judge Lorraine Raggio dismissed
a class action lawsuit against ONCOR. That case was about new smart meters
overcharging customers by ONCOR. Judge Raggio ruled that the Public Utility
Commission of Texas (PUCT) was the entity that had to be approached for
looking into and ruling on the accuracy of the meters.
- There was another unsuccessful lawsuit filed earlier
this year, Cynthia Johnson v ONCOR, which had a lot of good arguments,
but, again, wrong jurisdiction. There is a central theme regarding the
'smart meter' onslaught which appears in the filings in the Johnson case.
The first I read about it was in the letter from ONCOR to me:
- In ONCOR's response to Ms. Johnson, they, of course,
make the claim there are no health risks involved, but also bring forward
the pesky little jurisdictional issue - page 18. ONCOR falls under the
jurisdiction of the Texas PUC. On page 20, the discussion begins regarding
something known as PURA. As you can see on page one of the letter to me
from ONCOR, they talk about PURPA. All of this revolves around whether
or not there is a federal or state law which requires anyone to have the
specific 'smart meter'. Now, I spent a considerable amount of time researching
this, including the law cited by ONCOR in their letter to me, H.B. 2129,
which uses the word "encourages" not mandatory.
- I also was sent this very valuable piece of comprehensive
research on this important question:
- Smart Meters: No Federal Mandate
- How about here in Texas? In ONCOR's letter, they site
the previously mentioned bill, H.B. 2129
- Please note this part of that law:
- SECTION 6. Chapter 31, Utilities Code, is amended by
adding Section 31.005 to read as follows:
- Sec. 31.005. CUSTOMER-OPTION PROGRAMS. (a) This section
- (1) a municipally owned electric utility;
- (2) an electric cooperative;
- (3) an electric utility;
- (4) a power marketer;
- (5) a retail electric provider; and
- (6) a transmission and distribution utility.
- (5) a program that encourages the deployment of advanced
- Encourages does not mean mandatory.
- On August 29, 2011, my state representative, Jim Landtroop,
forwarded me email from Gabriel Cardenas, Legislative Assistant, Governmental
Relations Division, Public Utility Commission of Texas, who opened his
email with this statement:
- As you may know, in 2005, the federal government passed
legislation that required states to consider the adoption of advanced metering
infrastructure (Energy Policy Act of 2005). That same year, the Texas Legislature
adopted law that encouraged the deployment of new advanced metering technology.
- The Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUC) then established
standards for the features and deployment of the smart meters (PUC Substantive
- Consider and encouraged does not mean mandatory.
- Going to the URL provided by Mr. Cardenas, here, one
sees this on page one for 25.130:
- (d) Deployment and use of advanced meters.
- (1) Deployment and use of AMS by an electric utility
is voluntary unless otherwise ordered by the commission.
- So far, I cannot find any such order by the Texas PUC.
- There is one other source I need to cite and wish to
thank Debra Medina (who ran for Governor here last year against Rick Perry;
I voted for her) for bringing it to my attention: Texas Utilities Code
- Section 39.107.
- Metering And Billing Services
- Debra was told by JP Urban at the PUC that Sec. 39.107
of the Utilities Code provides the authority for installation of the meters
and in fact, "he said, was the directive to install the meters."
Debra disagrees with his statement and after reading it, so do I.
- Now, let's go back to page two of ONCOR's letter to me
(image above). They provide fine print stating they have the right to enter
a retail customer's premises to do this that and the other. I am not a
retail premise nor is my personal residence.
- So, where do we stand legally? Citizens in dozens of
states are fighting with their utility companies. They are sending letters
telling the utility company to stay off their property. They are putting
locks on their old analog meters so a utility company's installer can't
removetheir old meter. They are spending money to purchase kits ($299.00)
in an effort to keep the 'smart meter' from functioning the way it is supposed
to when installed. However, in my opinion, the utility companies are going
to find out and come after the homeowner for tampering with their equipment
and then the homeowner will have even more legal problems.
- First thing you must do is research the rules and laws
set by your state's PUC (Public Utility Commission).
- The aforementioned lawsuits were thrown out because the
plaintiffs did not take their case to the PUC first. I can't tell anyone
what to do, but based on those couple of court decisions already on the
books, I would not recommend filing a lawsuit until you exhaust your right
to petition your state PUC and see what they rule. You can retain legal
counsel and ask others in your state to become petitioners (see below).
There are a lot of lawyer jokes out there, but when you're dealing with
state bureaucracies where billions of dollars (and political cloud is purchased
by lobbyists), you absolutely need qualified legal counsel to represent
- Many folks are printing out some of the expert opinions
listed at the bottom of my first column and presenting them at city council
meetings to let folks know how dangerous those meters are. However, as
has been the case over and over in California with almost two dozencounties
banning the meters, I'm afraid it's largely symbolic as it all goes back
to the PUC. Out there, PG & E continues to install those meters regardless
of what city councils have voted because they know the California PUC has
jurisdiction. It's good to attend a city council meeting and hand out a
nice flyer with facts, but the real fight has to be with your state PUC
first while you petition your state representative.
- I recommend you write a snail mail letter to your state
representative (regardless if they're out of session or not) if you have
or are experiencing new health issues that did not exist before the 'smart
meter' was attached to your home. List your new health problems. Tell your
state representative that your legislature must step up now and pass a
simple law that says no citizen, owner of an apartment building or retail
or commercial building can be forced to have one of those 'smart meters'
forcibly installed. You can print out (or simply dump all onto a CD) the
expert opinions provided at the bottom of my first column and include it
with your letter. Putting it onto a CD is more cost effective and your
state rep can just pop it into his/her computer. Politely remind your state
rep next year is an election year and do they want one of those dangerous
things on their home?
- You can notify your utility carrier that you refuse to
have them install the meter, but, they can and will shut off your power.
- As I said in my first column, the only reason there isn't
a 'smart meter' now attached to my home is I have locks on my six foot
fences and ONCOR can't get into the back yard unless I unlock the gates.
At this point in time, they have lied about access to our home, but that
will be addressed at our hearing. Here in Texas, the PUC has a law on the
books that utility companies cannot shut off the power to a home that has
a disabled person residing there. That is the only thing that has kept
ONCOR from flipping the switch and turning off my power because my husband
has a long list of serious health problems. ONCOR was notified of this
prior to their July 20, 2011, letter via certified mail.
- Of course, that didn't stop ONCOR in their letter; image
two at the bottom of the page where they threaten to 'suspend' delivery
of power to my home knowing full well they would be in violation of PUC
law. My case can be the second landmark case in the country. Texas is a
huge state compared to Maine as far as getting a favorable decision for
the rest of the country. PUC's watch what other ones are doing throughout
- If you read my first column, you know I have retained
legal counsel to present our arguments to the Texas PUC. My husband and
I are petitioners. Hiring legal counsel costs a great deal of money and
like many, John and I live on a fixed income. A few people have comeforward
who are able to contribute financially to my case and are now petitioners.
They have sent their checks in various amounts. We are pooling those funds
so the financial burden gets shared, just as the folks did in Maine. Tommy
Cryer is our attorney representing us as petitioners. He will be filing
for a hearing in front of the Texas PUC. I am still gathering some documentation
for him and checking a few more things with the Texas PUC, so this isn't
going to happen tomorrow. We only have one shot at this so we need to be
- If you would like to become a petitioner in my case as
a few others have done, please contact me by email: firstname.lastname@example.org
and I will give you the specifics as well as what we can expect as far
as the financial burden. In the end, John and I will be responsible if
not enough funds are available at the end of the case. But, the more petitioners
we have who can contribute financially to the legal defense fund, well,
the easier it will be for all of us. I have been doing all the research
so far regarding health issues and the information provided above regarding
laws here in Texas to cut down on billable hours, but Tommy will have to
do the legal part.
- To date, the utility companies here in Texas (and elsewhere)
are simply picking people off one by one. The more numbers we have as petitioners
in front of the PUC, the more clout we will have and not just financially.
- If you decide to join my case here in Texas and become
a petitioner, you will not have to appear at the hearing as Tommy will
be representing all of us. No hearing date is set yet, but all petitioners
in my case will be kept up to date as we carefully proceed.
- If you live in the State of Texas, this case is very
important and can have a tremendous impact in other states. We will have
two issues before the PUC:
- 1. Can any utility company in Texas force you to allow
them to install a 'smart meter' on your home against your wishes even though
there is no federal or state law requiring installation?
- With the amount of expert opinions warning 'smart meters'
are a "ticking time bomb against human beings," I believe we
can win this argument because as far as I can find from all my research,
there is no mandatory requirement for the specific 'smart meter'. This
is all about massive amounts of money for the utility companies and that
- 2. Your utility company installed a 'smart meter' on
your property without your knowledge and without informing you of the very
real risks involved. Can the Texas PUC legally force the utility company
to remove the 'smart meter' and reinstall the analog meters (which I have
on my house? Can the PUC force the cost of such replacement onto the utility
company or will the people in Texas get reamed like they did in Maine as
- If you are unable, and I do understand, to become a petitioner
in my case, perhaps you can make a donation that's comfortable for your
situation. As long time readers of my columns and old newsletter dating
back to the mid-1990s know, I am always up front in projects I undertake
and for the rare occasion when I ask for donations, every penny goes only
for that project. If you would like to make a donation, which will be greatly
appreciated, please send your check or MO to:
- Tommy Cryer - Attorney at Law
- 7330 Fern Ave., Suite 1102
- Shreveport, LA 71105
- In the memo section, please write: smart meter defense
- http://www.devvy.com. You may also sign up for her free email alerts.
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