Smart Meter Lawsuit Filed in Texas

A lawsuit was recently filed in Texas claiming that smart meters violate wiretapping laws, invade people’s privacy, and that utilities are stealing the smart meter data in violation of Texas law.

As we follow this lawsuit, we will refer to it as the “Wiretap Lawsuit”.

The lawsuit was filed in January 2013 in Waco federal court (technically, the U.S. District Court, Western District, Waco Division) against:

  •         Oncor Electric Delivery Co., LLC;
  •         TXU Energy Retail Co., LLC; and
  •         Energy Future Holdings Corp.

There are 4 main causes of action to the lawsuit. Oncor is accused of being the primary actor in most of the wrongdoing, with TXU and EFH being mostly accused of joint liability (aiding/abetting/conspiracy/etc.).

The 4 main causes of action are:

1) Wiretapping–the smart meters are violating both Texas and federal wiretap laws; (18 USC 2511 & 18 USC 2520 (federal), Tex.Penal Code 16.02(b) & Tex. Code of Crim. Proc., Art. 18.20, Sec. 16)

2) Invasion of privacy–Intrusion on seclusion–the smart meters collect and constantly transmit such intimate details of the activities of a given home that it violates Texas laws regarding invasion of privacy; (See O’Connor’s Texas Causes of Action 2013, Invasion of Privacy–Intrusion on Seclusion.  Older versions will have it, too. )

3) Conversion (theft)–Texas law states unequivocally that the data from a smart meter belongs to the customer unless they expressly consent to allow the utilities access to it. The lawsuit alleges that the defendants are taking the plaintiff’s smart meter data without the legally required consent. (See Texas Utilities Code §39.107(b) )

4) Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress (IIED)–the plaintiff’s petition alleges that because she wouldn’t allow Oncor to install a smart meter on her home, Oncor bullied, terrorized, and intimidated her for months.  (See O’Connor’s Texas Causes of Action 2013, Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.  Older versions will have it, too. )

While the IIED claim only applies to this plaintiff’s particular circumstances, the other claims can be applied to almost anyone in Texas who has a smart meter. So this is a lawsuit that will affect, at least, all Texans. It could have heavy influence on smart meters throughout the country, too.

Below are the relevant documents in the case. The only documents left out are procedural documents (like to set up electronic filing by the parties) that have no significance to the case.


Case # W-13-CA-022
U.S. District Court, Western District, Waco Division

01/25/2013 Plaintiff [1] Original Petition–(also see Table of Contents below)
**NOT FILED For convenience only **Table of Contents for [1] Original Petition 
03/22/2013 Defendant Oncor [11] Motion to Dismiss
03/22/2013 Defendants TXU & EFH [12] Joint Motion to Dismiss
03/25/2013 Defendants TXU & EFH [13] Proposed Order Granting [12]Joint Motion to Dismiss
03/25/2013 Court [14] Order for Plaintiff to Respond to Motions to Dismiss [11]&[12]
03/28/2013 Defendant Oncor [15] Rule 7.1 Disclosure Statement
04/01/2013 Defendants TXU & EFH [16] Rule 7.1 Disclosure Statement
04/05/2013 Plaintiff [17] Response to Oncor’s [11]Motion to Dismiss
04/05/2013 Plaintiff [18] Response to TXU & EFH’s [12]Joint Motion to Dismiss
04/11/2013 Defendant Oncor [19] Reply to [17]Plaintiff’s Response to Oncor’s [11]Motion to Dismiss

Download all documents in file  (Click on “Regular Download”, then “Click here to Download”)