SUMMARY OF SMART METER CASE AND PRESENT STATUS
On October 8, 2020 the Commonwealth Court (CC) ruled on the leading smart meter case on appeal from the PUC, Povacz et. al. vs. PECO and the PUC. (1) It was a mixed decision that left many issues hanging. The CC rejected the complainants' arguments on violation of the 4th amendment on invasion of privacy; reversed the PUC’s argument that it lacked authority to accommodate Consumers’ desire to avoid radiofrequency (RF) emissions from smart meters; and remanded to the PUC the order to figure out some way to satisfy complainants' requests for accommodation of impacts on health on a case by case basis. Each complainant must go through the PUC-utility gristmill yet again to show a requirement for accommodation based on health effects. Moreover, the accommodation measures mentioned in the CC decision are inadequate, or repeat those currently available, e.g., install a smart meter on a pole away from one's residence at your own expense. This “solution” solves only the potential fire hazard, not radio frequency radiation nor conducted emissions. The PUC's longstanding position has been that complainants have not established, by a preponderance of evidence, that smart meters are not safe, repeatedly rejecting a host of peer reviewed studies that show otherwise. In Povacz et. al., the PUC has admitted and ruled that wireless EMF emitting smart meters can and have caused harm; yet, the PUC has failed to provide appropriate accommodation to PA customers wanting to avoid this harm, as required by law. This resulted in several cases being appealed to the CC behind Povacz et.al. PECO and the PUC are appealing to the PA Supreme Court, and the complainants in Povacz et. al., three households, have agreed to carry their case to that higher court. The PUC-utilities are raising an army of attorneys. (2) On the side of citizens, Children’s Health Defense will be submitting an Amicus Brief in support of the plaintiffs. It is your classic David vs. Goliath fight. The CC asked the complainants next in line before it whether its decision on Povacz satisfied them. The answers were universally "no" on the grounds that accommodation based only on health impacts was not relevant to them, as their complaints were based largely on the PUC failing to follow the law, specifically Act 129, Section 2807(f)(2) which says that customers only get a smart meter if they request one and are willing to pay for one. The CC stated, in its decision, that there was no mandate to install smart meters, but this comment was not carried through to the order. The CC did not order the PUC to change its Implementation Order to reflect the true meaning of Act 129. At the utilities’ behest, the PUC issued a stay on November 4, 2020 on the 80 or so pending smart meter cases remaining from the 230 or so formal complaints. It appears the stays will continue until the Supreme Court hears the appeal and decides. In the interim, the CC will delay hearing the cases next in line. The PUC has never proven smart meters safe or effective. Neither have the utilities. Nor the manufacturers. The delay in restoring safe, effective analog [mechanical] meters is a hardship on the thousands of Pennsylvanians who simply want the law to be enforced as written. (1) https://cases.justia.com/pennsylvania/commonwealth-court/2020-607-c-d-2019.pdf?ts=1602181079 (2) https://childrenshealthdefense.org/wp-content/uploads/PA-supreme-court-allocator-2021.pdf Prepared, July 29, 2021
Please visit the Legal Files section of our website (Pennsylvania Cases) to read the briefs including the amicus briefs filed this fall. Oral arguments were heard in Philadelphia in early December 2021. We await a ruling in 2022.
Many cases continue in PUC court. The cases in Commonwealth Court are on hold.
We are waiting for a ruling. Please visit We are the Evidence for an update on this case: https://wearetheevidence.org/chd-v-fcc-hopeful-otard-hearing-webinar-registration/
A District of Columbia US Court of Appeals in the case of Environmental Health Trust et al v. FCC (Docket No. 20-1025) ruled on August 13, 2021: