Southern Company Hides Electric Meter Dangers – Fires the whistle Blower and Hopes not to get Burned

Instead of investigating dangerous reported problems Southern Company COVERS IT UP!

“Smart meters should not be installed on any home, any

where, without a thorough safety investigation.

Manufactured agreed fail rate for the New digital smart meters 0.5%  Actual fail rate 9%!

Meters that Endanger: Shocking Details from a Whistleblower
by A O’Hair ( info [at] stopsmartmeters.org )
Friday Jan 20th, 2012 1:54 PM

Are smart meters just too complex? Are they veritable blackboxes(well, beige) of assorted electronic components, jury-rigged and thrown together in an off-shore factory, and then slapped onto houses without proper safety testing? Sure, we all have electronic devices in the home, but through this particular device passes all the electrical current for the house. That’s a set-up asking for trouble.

From the beginning, smart meters have had problems leading to fires and other electrical dangers. News stories have run all over the U.S. and around the world about installations leading to devastating damage. (Here’s a local SF Bay Area fire we’d like to see more fully investigated.)

A lawsuit made available to us recently detailed just how such faulty equipment could end up attached to the electrical wiring on millions of homes. In Alabama in 2009, a Sensus engineering employee named Don Baker was fired for repeatedly alerting his management to the presence of a multitude of dangerous defects in the smart meter they were manufacturing (model iConA). As he states in the complaint he filed, this whistleblower reported serious flaws in design and functioning that could lead to electrical danger, overheating, and/or fire. In fact, the failure rate of the meters was twenty times higher than it was supposed to be, and the engineer contends that at least two house fires were the result. Sensus meters are used by utilities across the U.S. and in Canada, such as PECO, Alliant Energy, Alabama Power, and NVE.

In May 2010, Mr. Baker filed a complaint [PDF]. The type of suit is called “qui tam”, where an individual alleges harm to his government. This complaint alleges that the manufacturer and the utility companies received federal monies but provided a defective product. The U.S. Attorney’s office in Alabama declined to pursue the case, because the utility said they had not received federal money for the metering project; but the allegations about the dangerous defects in the smart meters made in the complaint have not been refuted or even addressed.

In the complaint Baker relates in detail what makes the meters dangerous, and the allegations are damning—and alarming. A few highlights:

[Meters] may fail dangerously when subjected to a sudden surge of electricity …. Meters found to contain ‘flux’ or loose solder residue …. Calibration equipment not properly designed …. Electric resistor component defective …. Internal temperatures up to 200° Fahrenheit …. Hot socket alarm …. Drastic overheating to the point of catastrophic failure, melting, and burning….

Cutting corners in business and manufacturing is hardly something new; the difference here is just what is at stake: this product is installed in every house in a utility service area, and the electrical current for the house runs through it. Even a half-percent failure rate can result in serious amounts of property damage, or even death, given the total number of “customers”—though this word implies a voluntary acceptance of the product, when in fact installation of smart meters has been very largely involuntary. Truly optional consumer goods actually get more testing than smart meters.

The sort of defects and failures enumerated in this suit might well have been caught with an independent safety-certification process such as Underwriters’ Laboratories (UL). But these Sensus iConA smart meters, and every other type of smart meter, have never been subjected to such testing.

The suit states: “Mr. Baker has direct personal knowledge that Sensus and Southern Company [the utility] have installed approximately one million iConA meters in Alabama homes with knowledge that the meters are seriously defective and pose a substantial fire hazard and that at least two Alabama homes have burned as a result…. [They] were well aware that the iConA was defective and the entire project flawed.” [Emphasis ours.]

Baker submitted the information he had to the Office of the U.S. Attorney and the FBI in Feb 2010. He contends that the defendants named in the suit, Sensus, Southern Company, and Alabama Power, “perpetuated a fraudulent conspiracy” to obtain $165 million from federal stimulus funding.

These meters were never tested—for either for safety or performance—instead they went straight to out for installation. Then Sensus altered the components and design—again without safety testing. Only one percent of the Sensus meters were tested—for accuracy only—but never on a house while connected to the grid.

“It quickly became apparent that the meters were fundamentally unsound.” Baker states in the filing. “[The contract] carried an acceptable failure rate of 0.5%,” but in the first year, the meters were “failing at a rate of 9.0% per year.” Baker made reports to Sensus management about quality and safety issues, but he was ignored and eventually fired.

What was technically wrong with the smart meters that Sensus was producing? The suit alleges four categories of defects and failures: 1) Electrical Fast Transient Failures; 2) Flux Contamination and Inaccuracy Issues; 3) Faulty Components; and 4) “Hot Meters.” These technical issues are explained below.

The suit goes on to make three charges against the defendants: 1) False Claims; 2) Conspiracy; and 3) Suppression, Fraud, and Deceit. These legal issues are explained in more detail below.

Corporate recklessness—and lack of regulation to curb it—has remained a core issue in the smart meter debacle. From the Silver Springs Network antenna which increases the power of the radio over FCC limits (see page 14 of this CPUC doc), to arcing problems due to unprofessional installation, to multiple FCC violations, to the lack of any independent safety testingit is clear that if there had been effective government regulation, it could have changed the face of this “deployment” dramatically.

If you don’t like the idea of more government regulation, then how about consumer choice? If individual customers could choose between utilities, even choose their own meter—again, the landscape would also look very, very different.

But instead we are saddled with corporate utility monopolies, aided by government collusion, which adds up to a poisonous combination—whatever your political beliefs might be. It is an arrangement designed to enrich corporations, with impunity.

Why isn’t the public up in arms about these risks of smart-meter fires and explosions? There have no comprehensive investigations by major media. Early in 2011, a major news station in the SF Bay Area was doing work on this. They interviewed us several times as part of an investigation into smart-meter fires. What happened? The story never aired, and calls to the investigative reporters were not returned.

Without coverage in the mainstream media, people will be left to find out about this issue through social networks or independent media–or worse, suffer their own fire or property damage from the meter.

This is yet another reason why the proposed opt-out here in CA is—even with analogs—incomplete and inadequate. Given the growing evidence of fire risk and safety, this is not a device we should be forced to pay to avoid. Smart meters should not be installed on any home, any where, without a thorough safety investigation.

_____________________________________________________

Technical details from the lawsuit about Sensus meter defects:

1) Electrical Fast Transient Failures: The manufacturer and the utility were both aware, the suit alleges, that the smart meters (iConA) were unsafe and could fail dangerous when subjected to a power surge. [This was certainly evident for another make of smart meter, the one installed in Palo Alto last October.] One critical test was skipped for the Sensus meters, the Electrcial Fast Transient Test (EFT). When this test was performed on a sample of the iConA Sensus meters, they all failed. This was after over 80,000 meters were already installed.

2) Flux Contamination and Inaccuracy Issues. The complaint states that production of the iConA meters was sloppy. Sensus performed two investigations and found 130,000 meters contained loose solder residue called “flux.” They also found that equipment used by the manufacturer to calibrate was not properly designed, calling into question the accuracy of the meters. This was after 400,000 meters were installed—non of which were recalled for testing. Baker himself has investigated over-reporting meters, and found individual meters giving readings seven times the actual electrical usage.

3) Faulty Components. Baker alleges Sensus and the utilities had reason to suspect that some components that were going into the iConA meter were faulty, with very high failure rates. Well into the delivery process, it was found that an electrical resistor was defective on at least 85,000 meters. Over 170,000 meters were also found to contain another faulty component made by Epson.

4) “Hot Meters.” These Sensus meters, the complaint alleges, posed a risk of injury or death. Sensus knew that 19,000 installed meters were reporting a “hot socket alarm”—that is, the internal temperature was getting over 200°F. Sensus received reports of overheating to the point of melting and burning. The plaintiff Baker documented himself meters reduced to lumps of blackened plastic, while the company insisted a meter couldn’t melt at less than 500°F.

Ultimately it was bringing to the attention of his supervisors a burned meter that resulted in a house fire that ended Don Bakers career at Sensus. Instead of conducting an investigation, they fired him.

======

Legal details alleged in the complaint:

1) False Claims. The defendant in the suit, the plaintiff alleges, presented false or fraudulent claims to the U.S. government that their smart grid project was eligible for ARRA funds when it was not. The equipment was defective and unfit.

2) Conspiracy. The defendants acted with the intent to defraud the U.S. by submitting false records to obtain the funds.

3) Suppression, Fraud, and Deceit. The defendants misrepresented or suppressed the fact that the smart meter that formed the basis of their smart grid architecture was dangerously defective.

=======

Alabama house fires possibly resulting from defective smart meters:

Family Blames House Fire On Georgia Power Meter. http://www2.wjbf.com/news/2011/jul/06/appling-family-blames-house-fire-georgia-power-met-ar-2074493/ “Sparks started flying from the TV and power box.”

Atlanta house fire, due to power meter; double blow to Haitian family. http://www.wsbtv.com/videos/news/fire-deals-double-blow-to-haiti-family-in-atlanta/vCRzm/ “Faulty power meter sparked devastating house fire–twice.”

Alabama woman says smart meter is fire hazard. http://www.wset.com/Global/story.asp?S=13487932; The letter the city government wrote to Sensus [PDF].

Related Press: 2010 Article from Cleburne News (AL), which has since been scrubbed from their website: http://stopsmartmeters.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/CleburneNews-smart-meters-Feb2010.pdf

2010 Article from Montgomery Advertiser (AL) which has been since scrubbed from their website: http://stopsmartmeters.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Montgomery-AL-smart-meters-Feb2010.pdf “The meter was … replaced five days before their double-wide burned to the ground…”

2009 Article from Georgia new site, since removed: http://stopsmartmeters.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Electrical-fires-Georgia-Feb2009.pdf “…Steady stream of complaints about the meters since the devices went into general use ….The firemen
told him they are keeping records and turning in their findings to the electric company.”

Article from Atlanta news site, since scrubbed from website: http://stopsmartmeters.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/Atlanta-fire-smart-meter-Jan2010.pdf “A power surge … After firefighters put out the blaze, they said it reignited again hours later.”

Southern Company hopes you get burned not them.

Southern Company may Bankrupt via New International Environmental Court


The Devastating News Southern Company

Mississippi Power Has been Waiting For

OBAMA’S GLOBAL POVERTY ACT IS BACK

by Tom DeWeese
January 11, 2012
NewsWithViews.com

He might be a whiz kid at creating computer software, but beyond that Bill Gates has proven time and again that he hasn’t a clue about why or how freedom works.

He constantly teams up with anti-free market types like the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) to produce “educational programs” in his software packages, misdirecting unsuspecting children with political propaganda. In 2002 he gave the NWF $600,000 worth of software to help these environmental radicals run their programs to block the drilling of American oil. Apparently Gates doesn’t understand that he needs oil to create power to run computers. Most recently his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation donated $3 million to eight universities to reinvent the flush toilet. Environmentalists call that device “one of the world’s most destructive habits.”

Clearly Gates is a captive of his own wealth, suffering the usual rich man’s guilt over being rich – rushing full speed ahead to “give back to the world.” Funny how such giving back always seems to mean supporting socialist causes with money gained from the free market. Up till now, Gates has just been giving his own money voluntarily. Even if it’s to bad causes, he is certainly free to use his money anyway he chooses.

Now, however, his misguided meddling is about to involve the misdirecting of everyone’s income, and so the world’s richest useful idiot just became dangerous to freedom.

In November, as part of the G20 summit, Gates, representing his foundation, presented a report on a plan to eradicate world poverty. Said Gates, “I am honored to have been given this important opportunity. My report will address the financing needed to achieve maximum progress on the Millennium Development Goals, and to make faster progress on development over the next decade.” Gate’s report proposes a financial transaction tax (FTT) on tobacco, aviation, fuel and carbon (energy), to be enforced by all members of the G20 nations. The financial transaction tax has been excitedly talked about in the halls of the UN for a decade. Called the Tobin Tax, named after a Yale economist who dreamed it up, FTT would give the UN almost unlimited funding by taxing every stock and monetary transaction in the world.

Gates didn’t just dream this up on his own accord. He is actually resurrecting legislation a bill introduced in 2008 by then Senator Barack Obama. It was called the Global Poverty Act. Obama introduced the bill during his one abbreviated term in the U.S. Senate.

The bill was one of the only pieces of legislation ever introduced by Senator Barack Obama, and it wasn’t just a compassionate bit of fluff that Obama dreamed up to help the poor of the world. This bill was directly tied to the United Nations and served as little more than a shake down of American taxpayers in a massive wealth redistribution scheme. The Global Poverty Act would provide the United Nations with 0.7% of the United States gross national product. Estimates indicated that would add up to at least $845 billion of taxpayer money into UN coffers, to be spent (or wasted) by UN bureaucrats. The excuse for the taxing, of course, is to help end poverty in third world countries. The bill died in Congress in 2008 after passing unanimously in the House. Now Bill Gates has resurrected it.

Of course the United States has had an ongoing program of supplying billions of dollars in foreign aid and assistance to the poor for decades. In addition, the U.S. pays most of the bills at the UN for its many unworkable poverty programs. So what’s new about the Global Poverty Act, and why is it dangerous?

First, some history that led up to the Global Poverty Act. In 1999 and 2000 non-governmental organizations, NGOs held numerous meetings around the world to write what became known as the Charter for Global Democracy. The document was prepared as a blue print for achieving global governance. In reality it was a charter for the abolition of individual freedom, national sovereignty and limited government.

The Charter for Global Democracy outlined its goals in 12 detailed “principles:”

Principle One called for the consolidation of all international agencies under the direct authority of the UN.

Principle Two called for UN regulation of all transnational corporations and financial institutions, requiring an “international code of conduct” concerning the environment and labor standards.

Principle Three explored various schemes to create independent revenue sources for the UN – meaning UN taxes including fees on all international monetary transactions, taxes on aircraft flights in the skies, and on shipping fuels, and licensing of what the UN called the “global commons,” meaning use of air, water and natural resources. The Law of the Sea Treaty fits this category.

Principle Four would restructure the UN by eliminating the veto power and permanent member status on the Security Council. Such a move would almost completely eliminate U.S. influence and power in the world body. In turn Principle Four called for the creation of an “Assembly of the People” which would be populated by hand-picked non-governmental organizations (NGOs) which are nothing more than political groups with their own agendas (the UN calls NGOs “civil society”). Now, the UN says these NGO’s will be the representatives of the “people” and the Assembly of the People will become the new power of the UN.

Principle Five would authorize a standing UN army.

Principle six would require UN registration of all arms and the reduction of all national armies “as part of a multinational global security system” under the authority of the UN.

Principle Seven would require individual and national compliance with all UN “Human rights” treaties and declarations.

Principle Eight would activate the UN Criminal Court and make it compulsory for all nations — now achieved.

Principle Nine called for a new institution to establish economic and environmental security by ensuring “Sustainable Development.”

Principle Ten would establish an International Environmental Court

Principle Eleven demanded an international declaration stating that climate change is an essential global security interest that requires the creation of a “high level action team” to allocate carbon emissions based on equal per-capita rights – The Kyoto Global Warming Treaty in action.

Principle Twelve demanded the cancellation of all debt owed by the poorest nations, global poverty reductions and for the “equitable sharing” of global resources, as allocated by the UN – here is where Obama’s Global Poverty Act comes in.

Specifically, the Charter for Global Democracy was intended to give the UN domain over all of the earth’s land, air and seas. In addition it would give the UN the power to control all natural resources, wild life, and energy sources, even radio waves. Such control would allow the UN to place taxes on everything from development; to fishing; to air travel; to shipping. Anything that could be defined as using the earth’s resources would be subject to UN use-taxes. Coincidentally, all twelve principles came directly from the UN’s Commission on Global Governance.

There was one major problem with the Charter for Global Democracy, at least as far as the UN was concerned. It was too honest and straightforward. Overt action displeases the high-order thinking skills of UN diplomats. The UN likes to keep things fuzzy and gray so as not to scare off the natives. That way there is less chance of screaming headlines of a pending takeover by the UN. So, by the time the UN’s Millennium Summit rolled around in September 2000, things weren’t quite so clear. Click here

At the Summit, attended by literally every head of state and world leader, including then-president Bill Clinton, the name of the Charter had been changed to the Millennium Declaration and the language had been toned down to sound more like suggestions and ideas. Then those “suggestions” were put together in the “Millennium Declaration” in the name of all of the heads of state. No vote or debate was allowed — just acclamation by world leaders who basically said nothing. And the deed was done. The UN had its marching orders for the new Millennium.

Now the principles were called “Millennium Goals,” and there were eight instead of twelve. Goal 1: Eradicate Extreme Hunger and Poverty; Goal 2: Achieve Universal Primary Education; Goal 3: Promote Gender Equality and Empowerment of Women; Goal 4: Reduce Child Mortality; Goal 5: Improve Maternal Health; Goal 6: Combat HIV/AIDS, Malaria and other diseases; Goal 7: Ensure Environmental Sustainability; Goal 8: Develop a Global Partnership for Development.

Yes, these are sneaky guys, well trained in the art of saying nothing. Who could oppose such noble goals? The Millennium Project, which was set up to achieve the “goals” says on its website that it intends to “end poverty by 2015.” A noble goal, indeed. So what happened to the 12 Charter principles? Take a hard look – they are all still there.

Principles One, Two, and Twelve are right there in Goal 8 – to develop a global partnership for development. Now almost every world organization such as the World Bank carries a section on their web sites calling for “Millennium Development Goals” which control international banking and loan policy. They set policy goals for each country and sometimes communities to measure if nations are keeping their promise to implement the Millennium goals.

Principle Seven is clearly Goal 3, the only way to assure Gender Equality is to enforce compliance with UN Human Rights treaties. Principle Eight has already been achieved. Principle Nine is Goal 7. Al Gore is doing his best to enforce Principle Eleven. Global Warming, no matter how well the theory is debunked, just won’t go away because it is one of the Millennium Goals.

And then there is Barack Obama’s Global Poverty Act. Can you see which Principle that is? Of course, Principle 12 and Goal 1. Obama’s 2008 bill specifically mentioned the Millennium Goals as its guide and the 0.7% of GNP is right out of UN documents. In order to eradicate poverty by 2015, they say, every industrial nation must pony up 0.7% of their GNP to the UN for use in eradicating poverty. Southern Company May go Bankrupt

The UN is now becoming an international collection agency, pressing to collect the promises the world leaders made at the Millennium Summit. The UN wants the cash. In 2005 former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said, “Developed countries that have not already done so should establish timetables to achieve the 0.7% target of gross national income for official development assistance by no later than 2015…”

At the Summit in 2000, the UN set clear goals to establish its power over sovereign nations and to enforce the greatest redistribution of wealth scheme ever perpetrated on the world. Now it has the Criminal Court; Sustainable Development (Agenda 21) is fast becoming official policy in every corner of the nation—only today we call it “going green;” and there is a full court press on to enforce Global Warming policy, in spite of the fact that there is now overwhelming evidence pouring out of the scientific community to fully debunk the scam.

Obama introduced the Global Poverty Act as he campaigned for the Presidency with the obvious and clear intention of showcasing the then little known Senator as a world leader. But the bill died in the Senate. Now, Bill Gates is proving his “useful idiot” status (a term coined by Lenin to describe capitalists who would sell the rope to hang capitalism), by serving as Obama’s lackey to resurrect the Global Poverty Act.

And right on cue, just after Bill Gates made his report to the G20 Summit calling for a financial transaction tax, Senator Tom Harkin (D-Iowa) and Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Oregon) introduced legislation to put a tax on “certain trading activities undertaken by banking and financial firms.” The bills, of course, are the Tobin Tax and in line with Gate’s report.

Clearly, Obama needs to show that, under his leadership, the United States is falling in line with the Millennium Declaration and its 2015 deadline for implementation. Truth, science and American taxpayer interests be hanged, as Bill Gates offers the rope, Harkin and DeFazio provide the knot, and Obama gets to pretend to be a “world” leader.

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