A French court has ordered the removal of the controversial Linky electricity smart meters from 13 homes, for medical reasons. The country’s tribunal de grande instance (TGI or the civil court) of Tours studied the case of 12 plaintiffs against the Linky meters.
The court denied 108 of the claims and accepted the remaining 13. The court recognized a probable link between their medical complaints and their Linky smart meters.
According to the court, the complaint included a seven-year-old child living in Tours, who was in “a state of chronic fatigue” and having “difficulty sleeping.” A medical note claimed the symptoms “could be linked to the Linky meter”.
The court directed that in the case of these 13 individuals, the Linky meter must be removed. The homes will instead receive electricity without using the device.
Arnaud Durand, attorney for the plaintiffs, said that he would argue for compensation for the people who will not be able to live in their home.
Medical safety agency L’Agence Nationale de Sécurité Sanitaire (Anses) determined in June 2017 that the meters could be linked to serious health concerns. Those included the possible consequences of exposure to electromagnetic fields.
Durand contends these concerns have not yet been resolved, and he hopes to bring more cases against continued installation of the Linky meter throughout France.
Twenty-two cases have been brought to court so far, including in Rennes, Toulouse, and Bordeaux. Many of the claims were tossed out. However, claims who cited electro-sensitivity to the meters were not thrown out.
Enedis, an electricity distribution network, first unveiled the Linky in 2015. The meters allow electricity use to be calculated remotely, allowing bills to go out without a manual reading being performed. The company claims homeowners will see a savings on their bills.
But just as in the United States, the meters have been controversial in France since their introduction. Many critics state concerns over the possible health risks, as well as the transmission of meter data to a private company.
Many have also argued that the design and manufacturing process of the meters breaks competition and monopoly laws.
So far, over 700 French communities have spoken out against the Linky. In February, a court ruled that a small village had the right to decline the meters. And residents of the town of Blagnac (Occitanie) were granted legal permission to forbid Enedis from gathering any information from their Linky meters, or for an engineer to trespass on their property.
Nevertheless, there are plans for 34 million Linky meters to be installed across France by 2021. A European Commission directive demands that all member states switch to at least 80% smart meters by 2020.