Citing violations of the federal Open Meetings Act, this anti-‘smart’-meter group has filed a lawsuit against the deployment of the meters. Just the sort of fresh air that this program–hatched in corporate backrooms with corrupt government collusion and no public input–needs!
Press Release: Smart Meter Awareness group files federal injunction to stop wireless smart meter deployment in Naperville, Illinois
Naperville, Illinois – The Naperville Smart Meter Awareness group (NSMA) filed a Complaint for Injunctive Relief in United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois Eastern Division, (Case No 11-cv-9299) this morning. We are seeking a stay of the installation of smart meters in Naperville, Illinois, which is set to begin next week, until reasonable safeguards are in place and a common sense alternative option for customers is made available.
The Illinois Attorney General is currently investigating the City of Naperville for what appears to be clear violations of the Open Meetings Act. The Open Meetings Act is designed to prohibit secret deliberations and action on matters which, due to their potential impact on the public, should be discussed in public forum. Violations of this Act are a serious offense and calls into question all decisions made on the Naperville Smart Grid Initiative.
“An Open Meetings Act violation investigation associated with Naperville Smart Grid Initiative is a serious offense, and one that brings all decisions relating to this project into question. The city should not be allowed to move forward with this project,” states Tom Glass, NSMA Board Member.
NSMA, residents, and business owners have engaged the city council and public utility for over a year and a half in hopes of persuading the council to halt the meter deployment and allow residents to weigh in. The Naperville City Council has repeatedly reminded members of the community they made the decision long before residents opposed this project.
Over 35 volunteers collected 4,209 signatures for a referendum that would allow residents to vote on whether the city should continue the installation or dismantle the smart meter project and its wireless communications network.
“We were hopeful that the city and utility leaders would take the referenda seriously. They have repeatedly said that only a small number of residents are concerned with this project. We showed them that is not the case,” states Jen Stahl, a founding member of NSMA.
“It was a difficult decision to file in federal court. We have worked tirelessly for months advocating for caution and informed consent. The council continuously disregarded our concerns. We urged them to heed the warnings from across the country and shared real time examples of communities that are questioning the wisdom of mandated “smart” meters. When that did not happen, we obtained over 4200 signatures and filed a referendum that would allow residents to vote on this project. There have been attempts to block the referendum and council has stated they will not take it seriously anyway. It has become clear that our city officials are no longer acting in the public’s best interest. They have failed to stop the project in the face of public outcry. Without adequate choice, we feel the council left us no other option,” stated Kim Bendis, President of NSMA.
Councilman Bob Fieseler stated in response to the referendum filing that he was not in favor of halting the project until the residents voted in March and that if the majority of residents rejected the project, they’d have a tough decision whether to follow the will of the people or move forward anyway. (Naperville Patch, 11-16-2011, Swasko)
There is no federal mandate for smart meters. The Energy Act of 2005 states utilities should offer its customers the option of a smart meter. According to Bendis, this is an opt-in program that is being marketed as a mandated project.
“All residents should have the right to choose what technology is used in and on their home, especially when it is controversial and potentially harmful”, states Bendis.
The City of Naperville put out a media release at 1:45 pm, approximately 15 minutes prior to the press conference, stating “Recent Opposition Will Not Affect Scheduled Meter Deployment”. The Mayor and City Council were served the complaint at 2:00 pm today, Friday December 30, 2011.
Today’s filing in United States Federal Court represents one of the first federal filings regarding smart meters. Other advocacy groups have also sought legal action. Additionally, a long awaited decision by PG&E recently gave customers the ability to keep their analog meters in California, an option Naperville residents have been denied.
The Federal filing and video of the press conference will be posted on the Naperville Smart Meters Awareness groups website. www.NapervilleSmartMeterAwareness.org
Naperville Smart Meter Awareness is 501(c)6 non-profit group of concerned citizens educating the public about the risks of wireless smart meters. We are comprised of lawyers, technology professionals, health advocates, accountants, business owners and parents in our community.
Smart meters are to be installed in Naperville starting January 2012 and pose risks in the areas of privacy, costs, security, and health. Our mission is to educate the residents of Naperville by bringing all pertinent information to the public and in doing so, advocate for a smarter solution in Naperville.