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Friedman v. Public Utilities Commission

Supreme Judicial Court of Maine

January 26, 2016

ED FRIEDMAN et al.
v.
PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION et al

         Argued November 3, 2015.

          On the briefs: Bruce A. McGlauflin, Esq., Petruccelli, Martin & Haddow, LLP, Portland, for appellants Ed Friedman et al.

         Jordan D. McColman, Esq., Leslie E. Raber, Esq., and Mitchell M. Tannenbaum, Esq., Maine Public Utilities Commission, Augusta, for appellee Maine Public Utilities Commission.

         Kenneth W. Farber, Esq., Central Maine Power Company, Augusta, for appellee Central Maine Power Company.

         At oral argument: Bruce A. McGlauflin, Esq., for appellants Ed Friedman et al.

         Jordan D. McColman, Esq., for appellee Maine Public Utilities Commission.

         Kenneth W. Farber, Esq., for appellee Central Maine Power Company.

         Panel: SAUFLEY, C.J., and MEAD, GORMAN, JABAR, HJELM, and HUMPHREY, JJ.

          OPINION

Page 184

          MEAD, J.

          [¶1] Ed Friedman and others (collectively, Friedman) appeal from an order of the Maine Public Utilities Commission finding that Central Maine Power Company's (CMP) advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) system poses no credible threat to the health and safety of CMP's customers. On appeal, Friedman contends that (1) the Commission applied an improper standard and burden of proof; (2) the determination was not supported by substantial evidence in the record; and (3) the two Commissioners serving on the panel outlined differing rationales and therefore did not concur in the decision. We affirm the Commission's decision.

         I. BACKGROUND

          [¶2] The facts of this case were thoroughly discussed in Friedman v. Public Utilities Commission ( Friedman I ), 2012 ME 90, ¶ 2, 48 A.3d 794, wherein we noted that the genesis of this dispute was the Commission's approval of CMP's AMI proposal in 2010. This project provided CMP customers with " smart meters" and other related devices that allowed CMP to conduct automated and remote meter readings and to communicate with customers' meters. In 2011, the Commission initiated an investigation pursuant to 35-A M.R.S. § 1302(1) (2015) after receiving multiple complaints regarding the safety of CMP's smart meters. Friedman I, 2012 ME 90, ¶ ¶ 2-3, 48 A.3d 794. Particularly, customers raised concerns about the potential health effects of radiofrequency signals (RF) emitted by smart meters. Id. ¶ 2. On May 19, 2011, and on June 22, 2011, the Commission issued Parts I and II of its Opt-Out Order, respectively, mandating that CMP provide alternatives for its customers who want to opt out of the smart meter program. Id. ¶ 3. The ...


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