MA Smart Meter Hearling Update Sept. 2019

Smart Meter Hearing Update

Thanks so much to those who sent in testimony for the three Massachusetts utility smart meter bills!

(If you haven’t had a chance, there’s still time and every voice counts — here’s the template to make it easy.)

Yesterday nine constituents testified before the Joint Committee on Telecommunications, Utilities and Energy. We hope to have video to share soon.

Some highlights:

  • The legislators heard personal experiences, the science, and what other states and countries are already doing to protect their citizens.
  • They also heard details on National Grid’s fraudulent smart grid pilot program in Worcester, MA.
  • Senate Chair Michael Barrett stopped to ask good questions about the science.
  • We laid out solutions and handed both the House and Senate Chairs the roadmap to safe, sustainable technology: the policy book Reinventing Wires: The Future of Landlines and Networks.
  • Industry representatives were in the hearing chamber so we got to educate them too; they chose not to testify.

We are so grateful for the tireless work of our world scientists, health care professionals, educators, advocates — and a growing number of public servants tuning into the wireless radiation issue. We know it is on your shoulders we stand as we work together to move the needle toward safe technology.

The public policy process in Massachusetts is a long one — this session goes until December 2020 but perhaps our legislators will move more swiftly now that New Hampshire and Oregon have passed wireless radiation bills into law.

The Next Bills: October 7

We just found out the Massachusetts Joint Committee on Consumer Protection and Professional Licensure has scheduled two more of our bills for public hearing:

Monday, October 7, 1-4 p.m.
Massachusetts State House, Gardner Auditorium

Senator Julian Cyr’s S. 129 and S. 130 seek, respectively, to:

  • Form a special commission to research the impact of electromagnetic (EMR) and radiofrequency (RFR) radiation on consumer protection, public health, and technology
  • Emulate the Berkeley, CA ordinance to notify the public of the fine print radiation warnings

I’ll create a template soon and ask for testimonies to be sent in again. If folks can make arrangements to testify in person too, these are perhaps our two strongest bills this session.

Smart Meters Banned in NM cities

Today we won a victory in the fight against radiation in New Mexico. The Public Regulation Commission has denied PNM’s application for Smart Meters. “The plan presented in the Application does not provide a net public benefit and it does not promote the public interest,” wrote the Commission.

The Commission accepted the Hearing Examiner’s recommended decision without alteration. It ruled that:

• PNM did not demonstrate that smart meters will save money.
• PNM did not demonstrate that smart meters will produce energy efficiency.
• PNM did not show that customers want smart meters.
• PNM did not evaluate alternatives.
• PNM did not say how it would protect customer data privacy.
• Cybersecurity issues need to be addressed.
• 125 good, high-paying jobs would be lost.
• Proposed opt-out fees were unreasonable.
• There was insufficient public input.
• There was insufficient response by PNM to public objections.

EVIDENCE ABOUT HEALTH EFFECTS was discussed at length. “Customers who have strong feelings about the
health effects of the meters should be allowed to protect their stated health concerns without a
prohibitively high cost.”

The decision goes on to state: “The conditions of the portion of the population who believe they are
electromagnetically sensitive deserve acknowledgment and consideration as decisions are made
regarding the implementation of an AMI Project. Accommodations could include reasonable
opt-out provisions and fees and perhaps the selection of technologies that minimize the impacts
on such people. Such accommodations may be desirable to minimize health risks to customers
and address the needs and preferences of PNM’s customers. These are issues that can and should
be addressed in a public input process of the sort PNM stated in its 2012 Report that it would
conduct before bringing a smart meter proposal to the Commission for approval.”

The decision means there will not be smart meters in the near future in New Mexico’s metropolitan areas: Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Las Vegas, Clayton, Ruidoso, Tularosa, Alamogordo, Silver City, Lordsburg and Deming.