On Friday, March 22, Judge John Z. Lee dismissed the federal lawsuit filed against the City of Naperville in December 2011 by the Naperville Smart Meter Awareness Group. In his ruling, the judge specifically stated that the group failed to adequately state its claims that the City was violating their constitutional rights through implementation of the Naperville Smart Grid Initiative (NSGI).
The 24-page ruling by Judge Lee stated that the Naperville Smart Meter Awareness Group did not pursue any state remedies prior to filing a lawsuit in federal court and that there was no proof provided that smart meters were harming anyone’s health due to radio frequency emissions. The judge’s ruling stated that “nowhere do plaintiffs actually allege that smart meters are causing harm to residents or that they would do so” and the City’s Non-Wireless Meter Alternative (NWMA) option that has allowed Naperville customers to install a non-wireless electric meter at their home or business means it is within a customer’s control whether radio frequencies are emitted from their smart meter.
In addition, the ruling stated that the City has precautions in place to guarantee that electric usage data gathered from meters for the purposes of running the utility will not be shared without customer consent. The ruling also stated that there was no evidence that more detailed information about electric usage was being gathered or used without consent, and therefore concerns about privacy were unfounded.
“We are very pleased with the judge’s ruling in this case and expected this ruling from day one,” Assistant Legal Director Jill Pelka-Wilger said. “The fact that the plaintiffs can choose to file an amended complaint within 14 days is not an unusual legal proceeding, and we don’t believe that anything included in any amended complaint would have any merit as well.”
The NSGI is an upgrade of the City’s $360 million electric network to provide more efficient, cost-effective and reliable service to customers and empower them with more information on their energy usage. With meter installation more than 99.9 percent complete, the City will be rolling out optional tools and programs in the coming months that could help residents and businesses save money on their electric bills. One such tool is the ePortal, a secure website that will let customers view their energy usage on a daily basis as well as energy saving tips.
“We have always been and will always be confident that this project is the right thing to do for our customers,” City Manager Doug Krieger said. “Some of the most exciting parts of the NSGI, including ePortal, are yet to come. We remain a leader in the electric industry, which is collectively moving in the direction of smart grid and smart meters and providing new options and choices for customers to meet the demands of the 21st century.”
For more information on the NSGI, visit www.naperville.il.us/smartgrid.aspx.