AG says CMP fees are not extortion

In last week's Going Green column, I wrote about smart meters, the somewhat controversial devices intended to make our electric grid more efficient. I reported that anti-smart-meter activist Ed Friedman had written to Maine Attorney General William Schneider, claiming that Central Maine Power's opt-out fees (up to $144 per year, plus a one-time charge of $40) were extortion due to the fact that customers were being forced to pay to avoid/prevent harm, Friedman argued. 

The AG's office responded last week, and they disagree. "It's is my professional judgement that your assertions that CMP and the PUC are committing theft by extortion as defined in Maine's Criminal Code by charging a fee for those customers who opted out of the Smart meters, is without legal merit," wrote William Stokes, special assistant attorney general, in a letter dated October 23, 2012. 

The PUC is still investigating the health and safety concerns of so-called smart meters. 

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