Judge dismisses lawsuit by man who says SMUD smart meters are health hazard

The Sacramento Bee | Sacbee.co

SMUD has installed smart meters, left, replacing the conventional GE model meters throughout the county.
October 7, 2016 12:07 PM

A Sacramento Superior Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit by an Elk Grove resident who has been a persistent critic of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’s smart meter program.

Mark Graham sued the utility in January, seeking to recoup charges he paid for switching from a smart electric meter to an analog meter. While the lawsuit involved a fairly small amount of money – less than $500 at the time – Graham hoped to prove that SMUD’s smart meter program was not properly approved and raise awareness that utility customers have the option to replace smart meters with analog meters.

SMUD vehemently disagreed with Graham’s allegations – which included assertions of health concerns related to the presence of smart meters – in a dispute stretching back several years, at SMUD board meetings and via email.

 
By Mark Glover
mglover@sacbee.com

 

 

 

 

 
A Sacramento Superior Court judge has dismissed a lawsuit by an Elk Grove resident who has been a persistent critic of the Sacramento Municipal Utility District’ssmart meter program.

Mark Graham sued the utilityin January, seeking to recoup charges he paid for switching from a smart electric meter to an analog meter. While the lawsuit involved a fairly small amount of money – less than $500 at the time – Graham hoped to prove that SMUD’s smart meter program was not properly approved and raise awareness that utility customers have the option to replace smart meters with analog meters.

SMUD vehemently disagreed with Graham’s allegations – which included assertions of health concerns related to the presence of smart meters – in a dispute stretching back several years, at SMUD board meetings and via email.

 

Judge David I. Brown dismissed the lawsuit, without comment, in a ruling time stamped Tuesday. The dismissal followed an Aug. 26 court hearing before Brown.

Laura Lewis, SMUD’s chief legal officer, said in a Friday email: “The court’s ruling affirmed that the complaint was completely without merit, and it represents a victory for SMUD.”
Under its smart grid program, SMUD completed replacing 600,000 old analog meters in its territory by 2012. The project was funded with millions in federal stimulus money. Unlike the old, odometerlike metal meters, the new meters use wireless technology to transmit customers’ energy use information to the utility’s offices. That eliminates the need for monthly visits by meter readers, saving on SMUD labor costs.

SMUD also touts smart meters as the industry standard, enabling customers to keep closer watch on power usage and plan for more efficient power use.

Graham repeatedly expressed alarm about radiation related to smart meters, citing international scientists’ concerns about possible health impacts and their calls for strengthening wireless radiation exposure limits.

Graham chose to switch from a smart meter to an analog electric meter in late 2013. He said SMUD charged him $127 to make the change and subsequently charged him $14 a month for a meter reader to see the analog readout.
His lawsuit contended that SMUD management implemented a massive meter-replacement program that was not in line with a board resolution authorizing smart meters for customers who specifically requested a time-based rate. Graham claimed that many SMUD customers had no say in the change and many did not know that they can opt for an analog meter.

Lewis said the board approved the extensive smart meter program and that “the board was very specific in its authority and communicating this.” She cited multiple sources of documentation and board resolutions. As for allegations that smart meters present a public health concern, Lewis previously said: “There’s been no scientific or medical evidence” of that.

Graham said Friday that he is not sure if he will appeal, citing possible high costs associated with that process. He said he was pleased that he helped get the word out that SMUD customers can “opt out” of their smart meters in favor of analog meters.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
Steve Uhler
Mr. Graham should of asked SMUD to relocate the SMUD smart meter if he has a concern.

Arlen Orchard, SMUD General Manager when he was SMUD General Counsel in legal letter LEG 2013-0363 says that SMUD can relocate the SMUD smart meter in minutes as required by FCC regulation 47 CFR 2.1091.

I have had SMUD relocate my SMUD smart meter twice, not for health reasons, the meter interferes with my home electronics, something that SMUD advertises the SMUD smart meter does not do.

SMUD Board knew that the meters can cause interference, the meter was known to interfere with itself, see SMUD video clip https://youtu.be/Z8zGeqQpguA for more detail.

The SMUD Board was told by Arlen Orchard when he was SMUD General Counsel that SMUD has a “pretty big hammer” when it comes to the SMUD smart meter, see this SMUD video clip https://youtu.be/J43ycMBbxYU for more detail.

SMUD Board Director Bill Slaton believes the SMUD smart meter is licensed by the FCC. The radio in the SMUD smart meter operates under FCC Part 15 rules for unlicensed radios and is unlicensed and has no regulatory protection against interference for its radio signal.

It should be noted that the radio in the SMUD smart meter is not authorized to be installed in a “fixed location”, it authorized as a mobile radio, as spoke of in 47 CFR 2.1091.

Maybe the SMUD Board did not ask the right questions in choosing among the many radios available to use in the SMUD smart meter.

There is no need to prove a health concern or interference from the meter, FCC regulation 47 CFR 2.1091, a regulation that appears to be established for a public reason, says the radio has to be used in other than fixed locations.

The SMUD smart meter is installed in a fixed location, try moving your SMUD smart meter, I believe you will find you can’t easily relocate the SMUD smart meter, only SMUD can move the SMUD smart meter, re SMUD legal letter LEG 2013-0363.

SMUD customers can at any time, tell SMUD to relocate the SMUD smart meter, for what ever reason, as I have done and will continue to do as needed.

Steve Uhler
SMUD Customer-Owner

 

 

 

 

 

 

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