With complainant’s death, a landmark smart-meter case grinds to a halt

With complainant’s death, a landmark smart-meter case grinds to a halt

Updated: MAY 4, 2017 — 1:37 PM EDT

A Pennsylvania law signed in 2008 requires electric utilities to install smart meters for all customers by 2023.

The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday dismissed a prominent case by a Philadelphia smart-meter opponent, but left unresolved her claims that Peco’s digital device violated the state’s utility law because it made her sick.

The PUC dismissed the complaint by Susan Kreider, 59, a Germantown nurse who in 2014 defiantly replaced Peco’s smart meter, after Kreider died in November from complications related to a fall she suffered in her home, according to her brother, Benjamin A. Kreider Jr.

The death of a complainant during an ongoing proceeding presented the PUC with an unfamiliar legal challenge, as three of the five commissioners voted to follow civil court procedure and dismiss the case “for lack of jurisdiction.” That decision allows Kreider’s “personal representative” 45 days to step in as a substitute to pursue her claims.

Two dissenting commissioners, David W. Sweet and Robert F. Powelson, said Kreider’s death rendered the case moot. “With the untimely death of the complainant, there no longer is a case in controversy, and therefore, no claims remain for which the executor can be substituted,” they said in a statement.

Kreider’s elder brother, who is the executor of her estate, said in a telephone interview Thursday that he respected his sister’s fight to force Pennsylvania to allow customers to opt out from having a smart meter, but that he would not continue her legal battle because several other customers were actively pursuing similar claims before the PUC.

“I’m not going to pursue it,” he said. “We’re looking for closure.”



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