New Smart Electric Meters Collect Data On Devices in Your Home

Experts: Smart grid poses privacy risks

Technologists already are worried about the security implications of linking nearly all elements of the U.S. power grid to the public Internet. Now, privacy experts are warning that the so-called “smart grid” efforts could usher in a new class of concerns, as utilities begin collecting more granular data about consumers’ daily power consumption.

“The modernization of the grid will increase the level of personal information detail available as well as the instances of collection, use and disclosure of personal information,” warns a report (PDF) jointly released Tuesday by the Ontario Information and Privacy Commissioner and the Future of Privacy Forum (FPF), a think tank made up of chief privacy officers, advocates and academics.

Smart grid technology — including new “smart meters” being attached to businesses and homes — is designed in part to provide consumers with real-time feedback on power consumption patterns and levels. But as these systems begin to come online, it remains unclear how utilities and partner companies will mine, share and use that new wealth of information, experts warn.

“Instead of measuring energy use at the end of each billing period, smart meters will provide this information at much shorter intervals,” the report notes. “Even if electricity use is not recorded minute by minute, or at the appliance level, information may be gleaned from ongoing monitoring of electricity consumption such as the approximate number of occupants, when they are present, as well as when they are awake or asleep. For many, this will resonate as a ‘sanctity of the home’ issue, where such intimate details of daily life should not be accessible.”

According to the study, examples of information that utilities and partner companies might be able to glean from more granular power consumption data include whether and how often exercise equipment is used; whether a house has an alarm system and how often it is activated; when occupants usually shower, and how often they wash their clothes.

Other privacy risks could result from the combination of information from two separate users of the smart grid: For example, roaming smart grid devices, such as electric vehicles recharging at a friend’s or acquaintance’s house, could create or reveal additional personal information.

At a recent smart grid conference in Madrid, FPF co-chair Jules Polonetsky showed how researchers have already mapped unique load patterns of different equipment, showing that for instance washing machines pull power in different ways than other devices (graphic below courtesy FPF).

In an interview with Security Fix, Polonestsky said some utilities have adopted the stance that existing regulations already prevent them from sharing customer data without prior authorization. But he noted that as power companies transition to the smart grid, those utilities are going to be collecting — and potentially retaining — orders of magnitude more data on their customers than ever before.

“Relatively speaking, [utilities] aren’t big marketing companies with big back end databases ready to handle the tidal wave of data that’s coming,” he said. “But we’re a little worried that without some serious planning now, there’s going to be quite a challenge in a couple of years when people start realizing that maybe should think about developing some solid data retention policies that address what’s going to be done with all of this data.”

Indeed, the report found that “comprehensive and consistent definitions of personally identifiable information do not generally exist in the utility industry. Privacy concerns arise when there is a possibility of discovering personal information, such as the personal habits, behaviors and lifestyles of individuals inside dwellings, and to use this information for secondary purposes, other than for the provision of electricity.”

Ontario is on track to have a smart meter installed at every home and business by the end of 2010. More than 8 million smart meters are used in the United States today, and more than 50 million more could be installed in at least two dozen states over the next five years, according to the Edison Foundation’s Institute for Electric Efficiency.

The report echoes some of the same concerns raised in a recent report (PDF) drafted by the National Institute of Standards and Technology, which warned that “distributed energy resources and smart meters will reveal information about residential consumers and activities within the house,” A NIST panel tasked with examining the cyber security aspects of the smart grid found “a lack of formal privacy policies, standards or procedures about information gathered and collected by entities involved in the smart grid,” and that comprehensive and consistent definitions of personally identifiable information do not generally exist in the utility industry.

Advertisements

New Electric Smart Meters in Mississippi Can Be Removed or Blocked

Use the letter below to forbid smart meter installation (or modify the letter to demand the meter be removed).

From:
Energy Customer’s Name
Street Address
City State Zip

To:
Energy Provider
Street Address
City State Zip

Date of letter

NOTICE OF NO CONSENT TO TRESPASS AND SURVEILLANCE, NOTICE OF LIABILITY

Dear (Energy Provider) and all agents, officers, employees, contractors and interested parties,

If you intend to install a “Smart Meter” or any activity monitoring device at the above address, you and all other parties are hereby denied consent for installation and use of all such devices on the above property. Installation and use of any activity monitoring device is hereby refused and prohibited. Informed consent is legally required for installation of any surveillance device and any device that will collect and transmit private and personal data to undisclosed and unauthorized parties for undisclosed and unauthorized purposes. Authorization for sharing of personal and private information may only be given by the originator and subject of that information. That authorization is hereby denied and refused with regard to the above property and all its occupants. “Smart Meters” and digital meters violate the law and cause endangerment to residents by the following factors:
1. They individually identify electrical devices inside the home and record when they are operated causing invasion of privacy.
2. They monitor household activity and occupancy in violation of rights and domestic security.
3. They transmit wireless signals which may be intercepted by unauthorized and unknown parties. Those signals can be used to monitor behavior and occupancy and they can be used by criminals to aid criminal activity against the occupants.
4. Data about occupant’s daily habits and activities are collected, recorded and stored in permanent databases which are accessed by parties not authorized or invited to know and share that private data by those who’s activities were recorded.
5. Those with access to the smart meter databases can review a permanent history of household activities complete with calendar and time-of-day metrics to gain a highly invasive and detailed view of the lives of the occupants.
6. Those databases may be shared with, or fall into the hands of criminals, blackmailers, corrupt law enforcement, private hackers of wireless transmissions, power company employees, and other unidentified parties who may act against the interests of the occupants under metered surveillance.
7. “Smart Meters” are, by definition, surveillance devices which violate Federal and State wiretapping laws by recording and storing databases of private and personal activities and behaviors without the consent or knowledge of those people who are monitored.
8. It is possible for example, with analysis of certain “Smart Meter” data, for unauthorized and distant parties to determine medical conditions, sexual activities, physical locations of persons within the home, vacancy patterns and personal information and habits of the occupants.
9. Your company has not adequately disclosed the particular recording and transmission capabilities of the smart meter, or the extent of the data that will be recorded, stored and shared, or the purposes to which the data will and will not be put.
10. Electromagnetic and Radio Frequency energy contamination from smart meters exceeds allowable safe and healthful limits for domestic environments as determined by the EPA and other scientific programs.

I forbid, refuse and deny consent of any installation and use of any monitoring, eavesdropping, and surveillance devices on my property, my place of residence and my place of occupancy. That applies to and includes “Smart Meters” and activity monitoring devices of any and all kinds. Any attempt to install any such device directed at me, other occupants, my property or residence will constitute trespass, stalking, wiretapping and unlawful surveillance and endangerment of health and safety, all prohibited and punishable by law through criminal and civil complaints. All persons, government agencies and private organizations responsible for installing or operating monitoring devices directed at or recording my activities, which I have not specifically authorized in writing, will be fully liable for a fee of $100,000.00 for any violations, intrusions, harm or negative consequences caused or made possible by those devices whether those negative consequences are provided by “law” or not.

This is legal notice. After this delivery the liabilities listed above may not be denied or avoided by parties named and implied in this notice. Civil Servant immunities and protections do not apply to the installation of smart meters due to the criminal violations they represent.

Notice to principal is notice to agent and notice to agent is notice to principal. All rights reserved.

Signature

Smart Meter

Smart Meter (Photo credit: Duke Energy)

 

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.

Your Movements will be Monitored via SMART GRID and SMART METERS

Growing field of ‘smart grid’ technology faces opposition over pricing, privacy

By , Published: November 11 | Updated: Saturday, November 12, 7:05 PM

Ralph Izzo, the chief executive of the New Jersey’s Public Service Electric and Gas Co., isn’t your average utility executive.

At Columbia University, he studied mechanical engineering as an undergraduate and later earned a doctorate in applied physics. At the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory, he did numerical simulations of fusion experiments and published or presented 35 papers on something called “magnetohydrodynamic modeling.”

So it’s not surprising he would say that he “fell in love” in 1998 with the gadgetry commonly known as “smart grid” technology — as Izzo puts it, “customer communication technology, real-time price signals and fantastic sensory capability.”

But 13 years later, Izzo says, “I have only now come to realize that what I really wish my customers would do would be to use more caulking.”

The smart grid has been one of the most talked-about issues in energy policy. Experts — and manufacturers of equipment and software — have promoted the idea that “smart meters” could enable utilities to flip household appliances on and off to ease the load of summertime electricity demand and that the devices would help homeowners manage their refrigerators, lights and air conditioning, even controlling them remotely with cellphones, laptops or tablets. Smart grid technology is also seen as critical for integrating renewable energy sources onto grids designed to carry power one way only, from big clunky generating stations to the home.

In summary, they can turn off a new mother’s refrigerator so her stored breast milk can sour, or that the medication stored in the fridge and looses effectiveness.   The AC turned off at peak time could cost lives of the physically vulnerable. Get the picture?  There is no talk of how we the people will retain any control over our electrical use.  If they want it off, it will be off.  And this is only the tip of it.   I haven’t even gotten started.

All this depends on software, networking devices and smart meters, tens of millions of which have been installed across the country. If the grid is modern society’s central nervous system, then the smart meter could become the brains of the operation.

Yet many utilities have come to the conclusion Izzo has: You can install smart meters in homes, but the homes probably still have dumb appliances and homeowners who are too busy to be bothered. At least for now, simple measures such as caulking might save more energy.

The goal of SMART GRID, SMART METER… is  “behavior modification.”  They want to control our carbon foot print.  Who is they?  The smart grid is attached to a global computer and America is the big bad polluter, you think it is someone local at the “City Dashboard”  and “City Cockpit?”  I predict NOT.

DO NOT FORGET THAT 1/3 of the UN Agenda 21 is SOCIAL EQUALITY, so how do you think that measures in, since we as Americans are unequal to 3rd worlds?  America must fall or sacrifice so others can rise.  That is not a quote but is an ongoing repeating sentiment.

“Somehow all of us collectively decided to skip the low-hanging fruit and go for the top of the tree,” he said at a recent energy conference sponsored by The Washington Post.

Notice the belittling tone to beat you into submission?  They are so much superior in thought than we uneducated people.

Nonetheless, entire industries have sprouted up around the idea of a “smarter” electricity grid, one in which people would know more about their consumption, utilities would gain more power over the places hogging too much electricity at peak hours, and broken transmission equipment could be isolated and repaired more quickly.

Utilities say that more sophisticated meters will let them know which homes lose electricity in a storm without having to send a truck. That could speed the restoration of power.

I have not heard of a swarm of people loudly complaining that the Electric Co failed to know there was an outage, have you?  This is an example of an invented problem that when solved nudges our rights and citizens of the USA.

“Empowering consumers with information about how much energy they use and when is huge and gives consumers, for the first time, the opportunity to adjust their own energy usage and be a lot more active in how they use energy,” said Lena Hansen, a principal at the Rocky Mountain Institute, a Colorado-based nonprofit think tank.

This is what they want you to know, half the truth. Failure to give full disclosure is criminal in my eyes.  The Smart Meter, and SMART GRID along with new appliances, MONITOR your movements in the rooms to change the air circulation for maximum comfort.  Full disclosure, insurance companies can see if you are using the medical device assigned as directed and drop you from treatment or coverage for non compliance of lying.  Thieves, Electric Co staff, police, stalkers, your spouse, and voyeuristic criminals can gain access,  monitor your movements in your home, and know intimate details of your life. as well as profitable intimate consumer information.   Appliance companies will be able to target you. You will live in a glass house with no privacy and well controlled.

At bout 1 min into this it describes with animation how it monitors movement in the rooms of your home.  Want Yours, your children’s, or teen daughter’s activities watched by strangers? Bet your Smart Meter/Smart Grid Rep didn’t tell you that.


Improving the grid wouldn’t take much, given its condition. As Bob Shapard, chief executive of the Texas utility Oncor Electric Delivery, says, most meters being replaced date from the 1960s — “older technology than rotary phones.”

This problem has drawn the attention of some of the nation’s largest manufacturers, including Siemens, which does everything from automating electrical substations to writing software to manage meter information; Oracle, which makes grid management software; Echelon, Landis & Gyr and Itron, manufacturers of meters; and Cisco Systems and Silver Spring Networks, which provide communication links.

Other companies are working farther from the home meter, doing things such as measuring more precisely how much energy a line can hold or diagnosing and isolating disruptions so that wide-scale blackouts can be avoided and reliability improved.

“Over the last 30 to 40 years, most of our focus has been on generation,” said James W. Morozzi, president the Gridwise Alliance, a trade association devoted to transforming the grid.

But with greater attention to greenhouse gas emissions, that’s changing.

The United Nations Kyoto Protocols lists the  #1 green house gas to be Carbon Dioxide.  There is great wealth and power to be made revamping the entire system, so it is important to somehow show a need where there is none for justification purposes.  I am not convinced.

Doing something to limit electricity consumption is crucial. The country’s 142 million customers consume 4,200 billion kilowatt hours a year, and those numbers are expected to increase to 160 million customers and 5,200 billion kilowatt hours by 2020, Morozzi says. “Saving even 1 percent is important.”

A hard sell

Connecting with customers, however, hasn’t been easy.

In Bakersfield, Calif., in the summer of 2009, homeowners rebelled when the utility PG&E installed smart meters. It didn’t help that PG&E raised rates, or that Bakersfield had an unusually hot summer. Customers accused the utility of using inaccurate meters, though an independent audit later said the new meters were more accurate than the old ones.

RATES WENT UP!!!!  They were told their rates would go down.  Since there are no dials, and it is digital there is no way to see if charges are accurate, you must trust the companies involved.  Will that be like the traffic light cameras set at lights timing where the yellow light is greatly shortened to bring funds to the city justifying the costs of the cameras? 

Smart meter foes — they have a Web site, StopSmartMeters.org — say that 47 cities and counties have adopted resolutions opposing installation of the devices. The California Public Utilities Commission, which, unlike those towns, has authority over meter installations, has ordered PG&E to allow customers to opt out.

“After Bakersfield, we totally changed the way we roll out a new technology in a community,” PG&E spokesman Greg Snapper said. First, the utility does a lot more explaining about how the meters work. It now has installed 8.7 million new meters, though it has not fully utilized them.

In Nevada, the state Public Utilities Commission is conducting an investigation of health complaints people have tried to link to the meters, though the meters’ radio frequency emissions are lower than cellphones or many other appliances.

It takes years to determine physical outcomes of exposure.  The science is still out, we are waiting to hear the conclusions.  But meanwhile other countries have set protective measures in the emissions where America is set to a Military standard and is one of the highest limits on Frequency emissions.

In Boulder, Colo., voters upset about Xcel Energy’s “SmartGridCity” plan passed a measure Tuesday that would allow the city to take over the local utility.

In Maryland and Illinois, plans to install smart meters have triggered fights with AARP, which has argued that the meters will come with new pricing plans that will hurt the poor and elderly.

“People like us can turn down the air conditioning when we go to the office,” said Scott Musser, AARP’s associate state director for outreach and advocacy in Illinois. “But those who are home could be penalized by paying the peak rates at peak times. ”

In Maryland, installation of the meters was blocked.

In Illinois, the governor, backed by AARP, vetoed a measure that would let the state’s two big utilities charge customers enough to cover $2.6 billion of investments — half of it for the “smart grid” — over the next 10 years. But the legislature overrode the veto.

The meters “could be cool and fancy, but nobody knows what benefit may or may not come of it,” Musser said.

There is little trust or affection between homeowners and their utilities, and that becomes clear when questions about security crop up. The utilities will gain data that essentially tell them when people leave home — for instance, when the electric garage door opens or the heat is turned down. Consumer groups worry that hackers or corrupt utility workers could use the information to break into homes.

Assessing the benefits

Gridwise Alliance’s Morozzi says that utilities “have to engage consumers and make clear that there are benefits.”

What are those benefits?

For utilities, they are clear. The meter reader will become extinct. Diagnostics done by trucks will be done from a central office. And if homes and businesses cut energy use in peak demand hours, utilities can avoid building power plants that will operate only a few hours a day for just a few days a year. In California, for example, peak usage can be two-thirds higher than the demand at other times of the day. With climate change, the differential could become even more extreme.

For homeowners to benefit, they need to figure out how to cut consumption, identifying electricity guzzlers and paying attention to rates that will vary during the day. Oncor’s Shapard says that 1,000 consumers who took part in a smart meter pilot project in north Texas, featuring a contest with prizes for winners, cut consumption by 8 to 12 percent. Most of that, however, was done by 50 homeowners, who averaged a 24 percent drop in consumption.

Gregory Kats, who manages investment funds, sits on the board of a software company called Tendril Networks, which has agreements with 100,000 homes. In return for financial compensation, the homeowners allow utilities, for example, to lower their air conditioning on hot summer days.

Information is key, say advocates of smart meters.

Itron President Philip Mezey says that presentation matters. His company, working with Cisco, has adopted an open architecture, anticipating that people will come up with new applications and gadgets for controlling electricity use at home. “We need to engage with the larger community of innovation,” he says.

Without smart meters, Shapard says, using electricity and getting monthly bills is “like going to the grocery store and throwing bacon, eggs and cheese in the basket without knowing the price, walking out and getting the bill sent to them later.”

Putting in a Smart Meter is like surrendering all in home privacy and rights.

SMART METER VICTORY

youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cTnGMN-kQ64&feature=related

Smart Meters Cause Radio Frequency Interference in Household Electronics

Maine utility admits smart meters cause interference

Utility meters are breaking the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rule not to interfere with other radio frequency devices.

The Portland Press Herald reports the Maine Public Advocate’s office released a statement this week saying:

“Smart Meters are interfering with a wide range of household electronic devices, from garage door openers and WiFi devices to security systems.”

On Central Maine Power’s FAQ, in answer to the question: “Will the smart meter interfere with my other household appliances such as computer routers, television signal, cordless phones, etc.?” they respond: “Separating interfering devices usually reduces interference, so make sure the wireless device is located as far from the smart meter as possible. Also, adjust the position of the antenna on the device, if possible, and move the wireless device away from any walls that may absorb the signal.”

According to the FCC Electronic Code of Federal Regulations: the meters are not supposed to cause interference, and if they do the FCC states,

“The operator of a radio frequency device shall be required to cease operating the device upon notification by a Commission representative  that the device is causing harmful interference.”

Anyone experiencing interference please file a complaint with the FCC!

Smart Meter Fires Blamed on Old Wiring and Improper Installation

Smart Meter Fires Blamed on Old Wiring Improper Installation and other.

 

My understanding is, if the fire is related to older home wiring incompatibility then the fire liability fall on the side of the homeowner/renter not the manufacturer or power company.

Some homeowners worry installing new ‘smart meters’ could spark fires

Florida TV news, Contact 5 investigates fire complaints from Smart Meters. The concern seems to be related to incompatibility between the new meters and older electrical home wiring. Florida resident, “Margie Albernaz woke up in July to the smell of smoke in her Greenacres home. “I went over to the FPL meter and it had caught on fire, it was all black smoke and charred,” said Albernaz.

The report continues, “After some more digging, we discovered similar fire concerns have been reported across the country with different power companies and different brands of smart meters.”

But the Florida utility assured residents that it was nothing to worry about,  smart meters don’t cause fires….however a spokesperson for the utility said they’d responded to 30 complaints related to meter fires and  that “you could have wiring issues if you have dimming lights or power issues on one end of your home and not the other.”

 

Palo Alto Power surge, raises questions about Smart Meters, “a good example of how sometimes the old way is the good way”.“Mindy Spatt, communications director for The Utility Reform Network (TURN), said the utility-consumer advocacy group received many complaints about surges damaging appliances when the SmartMeters were first installed. In the best-case scenario, the event in East Palo Alto is an additional cause for concern, she said.”
Comparing analog to the new meters, she added, “In the collective memory of TURN, we have not seen similar incidents with analog meters.”

Power Surge KTVU video burns out Smart Meters, and appliances.

From You Tube:
“This is the aftermath of one of those new smart meters not being properly installed. The guy who installed it did not know what he was doing and caused the main electric line to the box to become lose and over time it ended up touching the electric meter/box casing causing a fire and a huge firework festival on the side of our house. If I was not home we would have lost the house and our 3 dogs. We are NOT happy with our electric company and we were NOT given a choice if we wanted the smart meter or not.

You can see on the front of the box where the wire touched and started the whole fiasco. Mind you the electric company when I called in the next day as instructed to claimed it was our fault and we’d have to pay for repairs. We aren’t paying for a darn thing and we will be filing a claim with the electric company. Thanks to them I can hardly sleep now and I am paranoid beyond belief.”

 

Action Line: Remodeler finds SmartMeter interference with circuit breakers

By Dennis Rockstroh of mercurynews.com Posted: 09/12/2010

Q One item you did not cover in your Sept. 7 SmartMeter article was interference with arc-fault circuit interrupters (AFCI).

This is a type of circuit breaker that code requires in new and remodel construction. Its job is to detect arcing, which has been shown to be a cause of fires. Normal circuit breakers will not always break when arcing occurs. If arcing is detected by the AFCI, the breaker trips, stopping the potentially dangerous arc.

Long story short, I did some remodeling recently. City code required that I use an AFCI for one of the bedroom circuits that was being remodeled. Some weeks after I completed the remodel, the AFCI started tripping. This meant I had to inspect each junction box and outlet to determine where an arc might be occurring.

Coincidentally, the problem started not long after a SmartMeter was installed toward the end of the remodel. Finally, after severe frustration, I phoned PG&E for help on this matter. A crew came out and looked at the AFCI breaker for a few seconds. One went to the truck and came back with a conventional meter, a mechanically driven version, and swapped it for the SmartMeter that was installed some days before. It took some prodding, but eventually one of the PG&E crew told me that they have been observing that AFCIs are sensitive to the meter’s radio transmissions.

Dave Zittin, San Jose CA

_____________________________________________

Electrician Steps Up When CenterPoint Won’t

Houston Texas News report on another situation where a new wireless utility meter has exploded. According to the article, “The power company not only refuses to fix the meter case that left Vallain’s [A Houston Grandmother] family without power, but now representatives say the problem never happened. “They said it was never an explosion, and my granddaughter and I saw it, and he [the Centerpoint technician] jumped back himself,” Vallain said. ”

__________________________________________________

Appling Family Blames House Fire On Georgia Power Meter- News Video

According to this news article a Georgia family is displaced by a house fire,  the fire department says it was an electrical accident, and the family blames the new Smart Meters installed two weeks ago.

” The Burns family was watching TV when the fire started around 10:00 a.m. Monday morning. Family members say sparks started flying from the TV and power box.  Around the same time, down the street, another homeowner’s TV reportedly started sparking and smoking.  A daughter says their electrical problems started after Georgia Power installed new meters.  Angela Dent, Appling, GA: “That’s when we noticed the changes. It also happened at my brother’s house…his TV’s have been acting strange…popping and surging in and out…her lights have been dimming also.”

__________________________________________

PG&E recently installed ‘smart’ meters in my neighborhood. They do not tell you when they will come, but warn you to shut off things like computers that might be damaged when power is restored. When I arrived home, I only had power in my kitchen. The PGE repairman said that installation of smart meters was frying many meter receiver boxes. He was not qualified to fix it, and the power remained off for another 24 hours while PGE scheduled a qualified repairman to come out. Apparently this result is common in older subdivisions (mine was built around 1975) when the smart meters were installed. The older boxes, due to wear and age, burned out when PGE put in the new meters. The disturbing thing is that PGE will NOT replace the burned out boxes -they send out a guy with a box of spare parts, who cobbles together a sort of replica of the old box. I wonder how many home fires will result from PGE’s installation of the no-so-Smart meters. (CPUC Complaint, 11/2009, Concord CA)

_________________________________________________________

The following letter and photo were sent to the EMF Safety Network from a California fire department captain (Ross) who saved his home from a potential Smart Meter fire in 2009.  PG&E has admitted that Smart Meters have interfered with GFI’s and AFCI’s, but they have not admitted to any connection with a Smart Meter fire. Smart Meter Arcing Hazard

________________________________________

After a Smart Meter was installed in this Florida woman’s home she said the meter “caught fire and fried my beautiful new kitchen” – over $31,000 in damages to many of her home appliances.  The Florida power company refuses to take the blame. See this video:  Help Me Howard, FPL Smartmeter

The following reader comments were posted on the above online story:

(Boater39) “In our apartment complex, we had a fire last week at our sprinkler pump. Afterwards, I went to investigate and it was the electric meter that burned up. Took out decent-sized FP&L feeder in the process. I have an electrical background, and from my professional experience, whatever caused the meter to burn up was a dead short carrying a very large amount of current. Based on the damage, the problem was AT THE METER–not at the customer equipment attached to the meter. (like I said, I have professional experience). At the time I found it strange, until I saw this report on TV…. I will be sending some pictures to Patrick today–they can use them on whatever followup they want. It appears that we have a major design flaw with these new meters!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”

(Jenny White) “After FPL installed the new meter at my dad’s house all his wires were burned as well and the house almost caught on fire. The problem is those new meter.”

(April) “I too had my smartmeter burn out and had a hell of a time getting FPL to fix everything. Their meter burned the wiring in my home behind the box that they said was up to me to get fixed on my own and that they could only repair the meter and wires from the pole to the box. I had 2 electricians come out and they said it was an FPL problem. Ended up there is an outside company that installs the meters for FPL and they ended up paying for my problem after FPL denied my claim for them to pay for the damages.”

______________________________________

Fire Tears Through Cutlet Bay Home A family in Florida suspects a Smart Meter was the cause of their house fire. According to the article, ” Fire investigators have not released the cause of the blaze. A relative told Local 10 the family believes a recently installed Smart Meter may have started the fire.  Florida Power and Light says the company will investigate the allegation…”

______________________________________________________

In Houston Texas, “Local 2 investigates Smart Meter fires” reports they looked into homeowners complaints of Smart Meter fires and found some people are left with no electricity and major damage to their homes, including burnt out appliances after a Smart Meter has been installed by the utility.  See Video.

“Charles Phillips saw smoke coming from the transformer in his backyard one morning last November. When he went out to inspect the damage, he said he saw a CenterPoint Energy contractor at his meter box with a fire extinguisher. He told me it had caught on fire, Phillips said.”

“Inside Phillip’s home, two TVs were fried, his air conditioner and garage door opener stopped working, and all of the wires and cables hooked up to his electronics were melted from the jolt his electronics took when a fire sparked after the installer removed his old meter. Phillips was left with a total of about $2,500 in damages.”

According to the article, Centerpoint, the utility for Houston Texas, has admitted the connection between fire risk and Smart Meters, stating there has been less than 100 problems. “CenterPoint’s LeBlanc said the problem is mostly in older homes where wiring is not up to code or something has caused a strain on the wires running into the meter box.”

_________________________________________
more here:

http://emfsafetynetwork.org/?page_id=1280

Southern Co Investing in United Nation’s SMART GRID

Click HERE for U.N. involvement

in Smart Grid

Utility Efficiency Efforts Ranked

by Susan DeFreitas, November 22nd, 2011

Across the country, utilities are investing in smart grid technology, including smart meters, as well as customer education programs designed to help households save cash and carbon. But some utilities are investing far more in this effort than others, according to a recent report, and reaping different levels of efficiencies in return for those efforts.

This new report by Ceres, a coalition of investors and environmental groups working with companies to address sustainability challenges, reveals that major utilities, such as National Grid subsidiaries Massachusetts Electric and Narragansett Electric, and Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) in California, are investing up to $4.80 per megawatt-hour of retail electricity sales in energy efficiency programs. This is nearly 50 times the amount some other utilities – such as the United Electric Coop Service in Texas, and the Southern Company subsidiaries Alabama Power and Georgia Power – are investing.

Ceres used data provided by the utilities to the Energy Information Administration to evaluate investments by 50 utility companies from across the nation. According to the report, utilities achieved energy savings ranging from less than 0.1 percent of total retail sales to nearly 2 percent of total retail sales. The 10 best-performing utilities all demonstrated energy savings equal to 1 percent or more of annual electricity sales.

What makes the difference in such investments across the country? “State policies that remove unintended disincentives for a utility to pursue energy efficiency are major drivers of utility spending,” Ceres said, particularly for regulated, investor-owned utilities. Among the 50 utilities studied, a general positive correlation was shown between the strength of state efficiency policy and the level of investment and savings (though there were exceptions to the rule).

According to Ceres, utilities joining PG&E and the National Grid subsidiaries in the top 10 for energy savings include Southern California Edison, Nevada Power, Idaho Power, Seattle City Light, Salt River Project, and Interstate Power & Light. The companies rounding out the bottom 10 were First Energy subsidiaries Metropolitan Edison and Ohio Edison, Southern Company subsidiaries Georgia Power, Alabama Power and Mississippi Power and Duke subsidiary Duke Energy Indiana, Ceres said.

Fire Department Captain (Ross) on SMART Meter Fire

Arcing Meter Hazards

Posted on June 28, 2011 by admin

The following letter and photo were sent to the EMF Safety Network from a California fire department captain (Ross) who saved his home from a potential Smart Meter fire in 2009.  PG&E has admitted that Smart Meters have interfered with GFI’s and AFCI’s, but they have not admitted to any connection with a Smart Meter fire.

Friday August 21st 2009 approx 7pm PST

I was at home doing yard work in the late afternoon when my wife came outside and told me that “half the power was off again”. This had been happening on and off for about two weeks and it kept happening when I was at work. This was the first time I got a look at what was happening. It was a hot day and the AC was on. The power went off when my wife turned on the stove.

I then went into my garage and check my fuses. As I opened the door from the house to my garage I could smell burnt electrical smoke. I then rushed over to the fuse box but immediately determined that it was not the source.

I then went out side to where my meter was and I could instantly smell the burnt electrical smoke. As I was looking at the meter I inadvertently placed my hand on the meter itself and almost burned my hand. The meter was so hot you could not touch it. I then went back into my garage and felt the wall area where the meter comes in contact with my home. The wall was also very warm. Being the firefighter I am, I began to remove the sheetrock from the wall to check if I had a wall fire. There was no wall fire but the metal box into which all the homes wiring from the meter is stored was also too hot to touch with a bare hand.

At this point I called my father-in-law who is an electrician to come over and have a look. When he showed up, I told him what was going on and when he touched the meter a look of amazement came over his face and he stated ” This isn’t supposed to be this hot, we need to kill the power”.

At that point we shut the power off to my house and called the PG&E emergency line due to the fact it was a Friday evening.

PG&E sent out a service truck. When they arrived the gentleman walked up we explained what was going on and he asked “When was your Smartmeter installed” I told him ” About two weeks ago”. That when a light went off in my head.

When he went to pull the meter, it was still to hot to touch and the PG&E service worker had to put gloves on, even though the power had been off for approx one hour.

As son as he pulled the meter we could see what had happened. The receiving clips for the meter were burnt.  He then asked ” Did your power go off when the AC kicked on?” I said ” No my power went off when my wife turned on the stove to cook dinner”

He then said ” That makes sense, the burnt area is where your 220v goes into your house, you’re lucky it didn’t start a fire”

I then asked ” How did this happen?’

He then proceeded to tell me that they were having nothing but problems with the contractor who was installing the meters and that it was costing PG&E more money to follow the contractors through each neighborhood and fix the problems they were causing and that the reason they did this is that PG&E didn’t want to pay its own workers wages and wanted a cheaper price.

As you could imagine I was shocked at this admission.

He then went on, telling me that the burnt area was more than likely due to the contractors not being able to fit the new Smartmeter into place, so the widened the receiving clip and shoved it into place. By them widening the clips, the caused an area of no contact which then caused arcing every time we used and appliance with 220v.

What he said next then floored me.

He said ” Well you need a whole new box and there is no way we can repair it tonight. Technically you own the box and we would tell you to hire an electrician to fix it. PG&E own thee lines underground and everything up to the meter. Because this is behind the meter, technically its all on you”

At that point I almost blew my lid but then he said ” I am writing this up as a bad install by the contractor. I am tired of following those guys around and fixing their problems because it’s not right. I’m going to make them pay for it and hire an outside electrician to do it.” I was relieved at that point.

He then kept telling us more and more about all the problems and how this company only gave these people installing the meters two days of training and were hiring people who were not electricians. He also told us about injuries to contact employees were receiving due to lack of training.

At that point he said ” here is what I’m going to do for you. We are not going to be able to rebuild this until Monday, but I will bypass the 220v so you can use your basics, you just wont be able to do laundry or have no AC.”

He then alluded to the fact he wasn’t supposed to bypass the220v but he did it for us anyways.

Come Monday, the third party electrician showed up at my home to repair my box. He asked what happened and I told him, he then says ” This isn’t the first box I have had to fix because of those guys” meaning the contractors.

The pic you see [is] of the burnt area where the 220v went into the house.  Also you see the strips of metal in the other clips, this is where the PG & E service worker bypassed the 220v so I could at least have 110v for the weekend.

SMART METERS REMOVED FOR HEALTH HAZARD

StopSmartMeters.Org

Tuesday, November 1st 2011 info@stopsmartmeters.org

PG&E BEGINS REMOVING ‘SMART’ METERS DUE TO HEALTH EFFECTS

Widening Call for Immediate Return of Analogs; Disconnection of “Mesh” Wireless Network

SANTA CRUZ, CA.—Just as PG&E enters the final phase of its deployment of wireless “smart” meters in California, the largest of the state’s Investor Owned Utilities (IOU’s) has reversed course, quietly beginning to replace the ‘smart’ meters of those reporting health impacts with the old trusty analog version. Consumer rights and health groups immediately seized on the news, demanding that millions of Californians unhappy with their new wireless meters get their analogs returned immediately at no cost.

‘Smart’ meters are new wireless utility meters being installed as part of the “smart” grid initiative, spearheaded by technology firms and backed by the Obama administration and the Department of Energy.

Promises ranging from lower utility bills to enhanced renewable generation capacity have failed to materialize, with widespread reports of higher bills, privacy violations, fires and explosions, and commonly reported health impacts such as headaches, nausea, tinnitus, and heart problems associated with powerful wireless transmissions.

Widely disparate political groups- from members of the Green Party to the Tea Party and Occupy protesters have attacked the program, and dozens of grassroots organizations have sprouted up over the past several months to fight what they call an undemocratic, unconstitutional and dangerous assault on people in their own homes and neighborhoods. Dozens of people have been detained or arrested for peaceful civil disobedience and even simply speaking out against deployments.[1]

In California, more than 47 cities and counties have demanded a halt to halt installation, and a dozen local governments have passed laws prohibiting the controversial technology. [2] The ‘smart’ meter issue has further angered a public already seething at the utilities over repeated gas explosions, safety breaches at nuclear reactors, and an increasingly extortionate rate structure. Word of California’s ‘smart’ meter nightmare has spread across the country and around the world, prompting some utilities to place smart meter plans on hold, and recently Nevada’s PUC to call for investigations into the health effects and other smart meter problems.[3]

Now in a dramatic turnaround that could signal the beginning of a widespread recall of wireless ‘smart’ meters, on October 28th PG&E re-installed a classic spinning disc analog meter on the home of Santa Cruz, CA resident Caitlin Phillips, who had been suffering headaches and other symptoms from her ‘smart’ meter. The move comes in response to verbal directives from the California Public Utilities Commission President Michael Peevey, who recently told members of the public that

the utility “will provide for you to go back to the analog meter if that’s your choice.”

The CPUC has been slow to respond to thousands of ordinary citizens reporting health effects from the new meters.

When a Wellington Energy installer (contracted with PG&E) came to install a smart meter at her home, Caitlin asked the installer to get off her property and not install, because of what a neighbor had told her about possible health damage and privacy violations. “When I returned home later, I discovered a smart meter on my house. That night I awoke to severe anxiety, headache, and buzzing in my teeth, and realized the new smart meter was on the other side of the wall from my bed.” Caitlin reported her experience to PG&E and the CPUC, who both declined to rectify the situation. When the symptoms persisted, Caitlin sought the assistance of the Scotts Valley based group Stop Smart Meters! who provided an analog meter and referred her to a professional who could help her remove her ‘smart’ meter. As soon as the analog was installed, Caitlin’s symptoms disappeared.

Frustrated and outraged about her treatment by the utility and the PUC, Caitlin travelled to San Francisco to speak at a commission meeting on Oct. 20th. About a week later, PG&E crews were at her house replacing her temporary analog meter with a brand new official PG&E analog meter. This is believed to be the first time PG&E have willingly replaced an analog meter on the home of someone suffering from health effects.[4]

An “opt-out” proceeding overseen by an Administrative Law Judge is underway at the CA Public Utilities Commission, yet those suffering (in some cases severe) health impacts have been stuck in limbo as utilities refuse to remove the harmful meters upon request- until now.

“There are hundreds of thousands- if not millions- of people suffering in their homes from forced ‘smart’ meter radiation,” said Joshua Hart, Director of the grassroots organization Stop Smart Meters! “The utilities and PUC’s must respond promptly to all requests that analogs be returned. The alternative is that people will increasingly turn to independent professionals to remove unwanted ‘smart’ meters from their homes, a reasonable action we assert is within our legal rights. Protecting your family’s health is not tampering.”

PG&E and other utilities have also been responding to health complaints by replacing wireless ‘smart’ meters with digital meters that are “wireless-ready.” These digital meters have been associated with health problems from “dirty electricity” frequencies that pass into a home via the electrical wiring. These “trojan horse” meters have been roundly rejected by those who report continuing health impacts after installation. Susan Brinchman, Director of San Diego based Center for Electrosmog Prevention. said “At this point, the burden of responsibility is on the utilities to demonstrate that any new meter they want to install on our homes is safe. Communities have the right to retain analog meters at no extra charge. Period.”

~end~

I am not sure what is the harmful thing(s) (radiation, radio frequency…) being given off from smart meters but I find the scientist on this Video starting at 22:54 to be very credible and gives complete information.

BEGIN AT 22min 54sec.  please skip the first fella.

[1] http://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2010/12/29/2-arrests-at-pge-smartmeter-protest-in-marin-county/

[2] Full list of opposed local governments: http://stopsmartmeters.org/how-you-can-stop-smart-meters/sample-letter-to-local-government/ca-local-governments-on-board/

[3] http://www.lasvegassun.com/news/2011/oct/25/nv-energys-smart-meters-be-investigated/

[4] Video of the switchout can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IjC4BEZxLg


Director, Stop Smart Meters!
http://stopsmartmeters.org

%d bloggers like this: