Breaking News: CMP Threatens to Sue City of Bath Over Smart Meters

Leaked Letter Reveals City Councilors Pressured to Change their Votes

Add another notch to Central Maine Power’s bullying belt. Two weeks after Bath City Councilors passed an “opt-in” ordinance preventing CMP from installing a smart meter on someone’s home unless that customer wants one, CMP hired a prominent Portland law firm to write a letter threatening legal action unless city councilors back down.

If CMP does, in fact, take the city to court, the Spanish-owned company would earn itself the dubious distinction of First Utility in the World to Sue a Municipality for Trying to Protect Residents.

Even in California, where 40 communities have halted smart meter installation, utilities there have been respecting and accommodating those official statements of concern and requests for more time, rather than taking towns to court for taking a stand.

The letter from the law firm of Pierce Atwood to Bath’s City Attorney was leaked to the Smart Meter Safety Coalition, and states:

CMP requests that the Council rescind the ordinance immediately. If not, CMP is prepared to take necessary legal measures in federal and/or state court to challenge the legality of the Ordinance.

Read the letter in its entirety.

The Bath City Council passed the ordinance to protect residents’ health, safety, security, privacy and pocketbooks. Across the state and across the world, documented reports are pouring in of malfunctioning pacemakers, malfunctioning Wi-Fi, overbilling, electrical fires, heart failure, vomiting, insomnia — and the list goes on. Thankfully, despite CMP’s best efforts to cover up the issues of concerns and force every customer to accept a wireless smart meter on their private property, the Maine Public Utilities Commission recently ruled that CMP must let people keep their current meter — for a price.

While paid opt-outs are better than no opt-outs at all, one reason Bath city councilors passed the ordinance is that they don’t believe people should have to pay to protect their health, safety, security and privacy.

Especially now that the World Health Organization puts wireless radiation in the same “carcinogenic hazard” category as engine exhaust, chloroform and DDT, it seems fair and reasonable to want to protect one’s family from exposure to a possible carcinogen.

That’s why the Bath ordinance makes so much sense. Everyone who wants a smart meter gets one. They just have to ask. Which means, hopefully, they’ve looked at the critical issues and have made the very personal, very individual decision that the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks.

It’s precisely why the Smart Meter Safety Coalition is kicking off a series of discussions and Q&A sessions called “Smart Choices About Smart Meters: Crucial Issues to Consider in Making an Informed Decision.” The first one’s happening June 29th at 6:30 pm at Scarborough Town Hall. All are welcome.

Meanwhile, Bath residents who don’t want a wireless meter won’t have to pay $40 up front and $12 per month to keep a piece of equipment they already have.

Or will they?

It seems, in addition to threatening to sue the city, CMP is also threatening to skirt the ordinance by charging every resident the opt-out fee if they don’t accept a smart meter. So says the letter, which informs the city that the ordinance is “not in the interest of CMP’s customers in Bath who, as a result of the Ordinance, will be required to pay the opt-out fees unless they affirmatively ask to have a smart meter.”

For nearly nine months, the Smart Meter Safety Coalition has tried to work with CMP to find reasonable solutions. At every turn, the company has not only disregarded and disrespected legitimate customer concerns, but actively sought to dismiss and discredit those concerns. CMP hired the same firm that represented the tobacco and asbestos industries in cancer cases to try to “prove” smart meters are safe. When that didn’t work, CMP submitted reams of paperwork to the PUC, trying to “prove” opt-outs were technically and economically unfeasible. When that didn’t work and the PUC staff issued a recommendation for opt-outs, CMP filed exceptions to that recommendation, trying to “prove” why the PUC should not only reject the recommendation of its own staff, but reject opt-outs altogether.

It didn’t work.

The threatening letter is another hired scare tactic — an attempt to “prove” why the Bath ordinance wouldn’t hold up in court. Whether it would or it wouldn’t is not the point. Bath councilors have stepped up and taken a stand to protect residents from the actions of a company with a clear disdain for its customers.

—SMSC

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