smart meters

A hypothetical risk of harm isn’t enough to stop the installation of Internet-connected energy meters on individuals’ premises, according to a Maine high court ruling.

Central Maine Power Co.’s “smart meters” pose no credible safety threat, the state Supreme Judicial Court ruled Jan. 26.

CMP’s smart meter program allowed the company to communicate with customer’s meters and conduct automated and remote meter readings.  Customers raised health and safety concerns about the radiofrequency (RF) signals emitted by meters installed on their premises.

According to the plaintiffs, the Maine Public Utilities Commission allowed customers to opt out of the program for a monthly fee.

Some evidence demonstrated a “potential future risk” posed by exposure to RF radiation in general, the court said.  However, testing showed that—at an average distance of three feet from a smart meter—radiation exposure is roughly 100,000 times lower than Federal Communications Commission standards on exposure limits. 

“Evidence of a hypothetical future risk is not sufficient to preclude a finding that CMP satisfied its burden; rather, the threat of harm must be probable and convincing,” the court said.