How to File an Accommodation Letter / Discrimination Complaint Associated with RF Radiation from Smart Meters

03/20/2013

How to File an Accommodation Letter / Discrimination Complaint Associated with RF Radiation from Smart Meters

People with disabilities and medical conditions may feel they are being discriminated against – involuntarily exposed to RF radiation from smart meters on their property or neighboring properties that may cause harm, risk, exacerbate an existing condition, or are being charged fees to opt-out of smart meters for medical reasons (illegal surcharge). Accommodations may be requested of the PUC or utility for qualifying disabilities or medical conditions. A discrimination complaint may be filed if accommodations aren’t met.

Each state and local gov’t, including a municipal utility (run by local gov’t) is required to follow the Americans with Disabilities Act under Title II . Privately-owned utilities may be covered under Title III (see below). The ADA (more at www.ada.gov) is enforced by the US Dept of Justice (US DOJ). Privately-owned utilities that accepted federal funding for smart meter and smart grid projects also must follow certain additional federal discrimination laws, such as Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (as amended), as it applies to equal access to program benefits and services (equal access to essential utilities such as electricity and gas or water)**, with enforcement by the US Dept of Energy.

People with qualifying disabilities**** under the ADA*** may wish to file a complaint against the state Public Utility Commission and the utility company involved, if they feel their rights have been violated through denial of accommodations for their disability or medical condition.

The complaint(s) would be filed with the US Dept of Justice (US DOJ) and/or the US Dept of Energy for Section 504 complaints (see below). Please note that there may be a time limit from the date the discrimination occurred (may be 180 days or less). It is recommended, if possible, to have legal assistance from an attorney or advocate skilled in disability rights to assist you in this process. Do an online search on “disability rights attorneys” to locate nonprofits with free disability rights clinics or attorneys who specialize in this area. The following is not intended to substitute for legal advice and our disclaimer applies to the use of this information.

First step:
1. Request the accommodations first, as they may be approved by the PUC or utility, in which case you will not need to file a DOJ complaint. Click HERE to see a sample accommodations request letter.

2. Write the state PUC and utility to request the accommodations.

3. You may refer to your disability or medical condition in general or choose to describe your disability or medical condition briefly, and how RF radiation impacts it.

4. It is helpful to confer with a supportive healthcare provider who will write a letter also making the request.

5. Request, specifically, the accommodations you wish to be provided with. These may be determined with your healthcare provider.
(for example: smart meters removed from your property and/or neighboring properties that impact your disability through exposure to RF radiation, analog (purely electromechanical) meters to replace them, no opt-out fees)

6. If you are denied, then you may file a complaint to the US DOJ (or US DOE, see below). You may also file a complaint if you have proof of a discriminatory policy of the state public utilities commission (ie. forcing smart meters and RF radiation on you and on everyone without regard for disability, or charging a surcharge or fee to avoid the radiation for medical reasons).
People with medical conditions under 504 (same complaint form for US DOJ), may first file an accommodations request to the state public utilities commission or utility as above based on a medical condition, rather than disability, or for both disability and medical condition(s) if applicable.

Second Step:

1. If your accommodations request was not granted, you may wish to file a discrimination complaint with the Department of Justice against the PUC and/or utility (whoever denied your accommodation request).

Note: To file a discrimination complaint against the utility also, you will need to find out if your utility is municipal or privately-owned. A municipal utility is run by local government. A privately-owned utility is owned by private interests, and is usually a corporation.

2. To file a (Title II) discrimination complaint against your state public utilities commission (PUC) or a local municipal utility, CLICK HERE to read background info and then download, print and fill out the TITLE II COMPLAINT FORM.

3. To file a (Title III) discrimination complaint against a privately-owned utility, see How to file a Title III Complaint – ADA.gov

4. If a privately-owned utility accepted federal funding (Recovery Act, etc.) for the smart grid or smart meter program, then an additional discrimination (Title 10) complaint under SubPart D, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 (as amended), Nondiscrimination under the Basis of Handicap, may be filed with the US Dept of Energy. Complaints may be submitted to Field Civil Rights Officers located in DOE’s field offices or to the Director, Office of Civil Rights and Diversity, Forrestal Building, 1000 Independence Avenue, SW., Washington, D.C. 20585. For more info see * below.

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For your healthcare providers:

Take the American Academy of Environmental Physicians (AAEM) position statement and letter to CPUC about smart meters to your physician or health care provider. AAEM: Advise Immediate Caution Smart Meters (April, 2012); AAEM Calls for Smart Meter Moratorium (Jan. 2012).

Also: Austrian Medical Association Calls for Smart Meter Halt (Jan. 2012)

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