Smart Meter Awareness Group files injunction to stop installation of smart meters in Naperville, Illinois, until reasonable safeguards in place

NAPERVILLE, Illinois , January 3, 2012 (press release) – 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 #11-CV-9299) this morning. The NSMA is 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 alleged 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.

“An alleged Open Meetings Act violation 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 vote 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.

Today’s filing in United State 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.

About Naperville Smart Meter Awareness

Naperville Smart Meter Awareness is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. The group is made up of Naperville electric customers concerned about the worldwide controversy surrounding wireless smart meters and the impact that the wireless smart meter deployment will have to our community. Our purpose is to provide credible information and data to help Naperville residents become fully informed of the risks of wireless smart meters.

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