- Are there any lawsuits against utilities because of “smart” meters?
- Where can I find a class action lawyer? How can I connect with others who have been affected in order to file a suit?
- What about Home Owner Associations? Can our HOA legally opt out as a building?
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Q: Are there any lawsuits against utilities because of “smart” meters?
There have been lawsuits, most notably from a group of Bakersfield CA residents in 2009 who were severely over-billed. The power and money that utilities have at their disposal has made it hard to take them successfully to court. Often money is exchanged and people are asked to sign away their right to speak about the case. But discontent and public outrage has been growing steadily, and a large number of personal injury and class action lawsuits are in the making. It’s hard to foresee the utility and telecom industry escaping paying out damages for long if our justice system operates fairly.
Federal Energy Act of 2005 states clearly that “smart” meters are to be OFFERED to residential customers, not mandated or forced. Read this letter from a US representative clarifying the matter.
Q: Where can I find a class action lawyer? How can I connect with others who have been affected in order to file a suit?
Calling law firms that address consumer issues is a start. You may have to make a lot of phone calls or emails, but you may be able to find someone who’s already at work in your area compiling complaints against utilities for “smart” meter issues. Network in your area through local media for others in your situation, and work together. Post on local internet bulletin boards, and you may find others who have been affected. If you are suffering any health-related impacts from your ‘smart’ meter, document all your symptoms with the dates, date of installation, and include any medical reports.
Q: What about Home Owner Associations? Can our HOA legally opt out as a building?
Yes. This is a reasonable matter for a HOA to decide collectively on—after all, if a member of the HOA were harmed by the “smart” meters (especially the person who is directly next to the bank for the building), it could fall to the HOA to compensate this injured person. Your HOA or your landlord may be legally liable for damages from ‘smart’ meters that they allowed on the premises. Individual “opt outs” obviously make little sense in the context of a condo or apartment block with multiple meters on a wall.
A CPUC judge has yet to rule on opt-out options (for California) (as of early Oct 2011). Communities of all sizes have voted to exclude these toxic devices from their midst, and there has yet to be a legal ruling on the question of jurisdiction between local and state governments.