Report on Smart Meter Problems

The December 2012 report “Analysis: Smart Meter and Smart Grid Problems – Legislative Proposal” is available to the public. This 173-page report by activist Nina Beety has extensive referenced information about many of the problems and risks of the Smart Meter program, with information from state, national, and international resources. Supplemental documents can be downloaded here.

Originally written for California legislators, this updated report also provides a legislative and regulatory action plan for halting this program, and suggestions for reforming utility regulation so that the public is protected in the future.

Table of Contents

What is a Smart Meter?
Smart Grid/Smart Meter problems and issues
– Overview
– Overcharging, accuracy, and the Structure Group report
– Reliability
– Privacy invasion
– Fires and electrical problems
– Health problems Continue reading

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Oregon: Portland General Electric replaces 70,000 Smart Meters, says remote disconnect switch is a fire risk

The Oregonian, July 24, 2014:

Portland General Electric is replacing 70,000 residential “smart” meters that run the risk of catching fire, many of them installed at rental properties in East Multnomah County.

PGE says three small meter fires have been reported in its service territory, with minor property damage in one case. It mailed out letters to affected customers this week and aims to have the affected meters replaced by the end of October.

The electrical component failures are limited to a subset of smart meters that it installed between 2010 and 2012. The affected model number is the Sensus 2F Gen3 RC. Customers can call PGE at 877-835-1435 or check online at

The other 785,000 meters that the company installed with residences and businesses between 2009 and 2012 don’t have the same technology, which allows them to be turned on an off remotely. As such, the company says they don’t run the risk of catching fire.

Bill Nicholson, PGE’s Senior Vice President of Customer Service, said PGE first became aware of potential problems in 2013 and hired two separate consultants to evaluate the meters. Its initial testing was inconclusive, but it shared its results with the manufacturer, North Carolina-based Sensus, and asked for help.

“They are not recalling these”, Nicholson said. “This is our choice. This is our decision based on our assessment and our tests. We believe this risk is small, but it’s totally unacceptable to us.”

Reports of smart meter malfunctions, explosions and fires, meanwhile, have cropped up around the country and the world, including some meters manufactured by Sensus.

… PGE says it is working with Sensus on the meter replacements and it’s not clear at this point whether ratepayers, as a group, will be asked to cover the capital or installation costs of the replacements.


Complete article at:
PGE replacing 70,000 electricity meters because of fire risk


Article posted under Fair Use Rules.





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Insurance Brokers Association: Ignoring Smart Meter problems increases liability

Medicine Hat News
City could be liable for smart meter fires
By Gillian Slade
July 29, 2014.

The City of Medicine Hat could be held responsible if a smart meter results in a fire and should therefore be diligent about the associated risks, says the Insurance Brokers Association of Alberta.

The City has to take a hard, hard look at this. They now know that there are problems and if they continue to install them they are increasing their liability,” said Gord Cowan, president of the Insurance Brokers Association of Alberta. “If there is a meter installed that does fail, and the house burns down, the city’s insurers are going to have to pay for that. I would venture to say the City’s insurers are taking a pretty hard look at this.”

Saskatchewan halted installation of its Sensus smart meters after eight of the devices malfunctioned causing the meters to melt or catch fire.

Coun. Bill Cocks, who chairs the City’s Energy Committee, is not concerned at this stage about liability based on the information he’s been given to date.

“Not based on what I have been told to date,” said Cocks. “I’m assured by my department, the people that I rely on, that our equipment is state-of-the-art and that we haven’t had these problems. As I understand it they have to be properly installed and we have not had any such issues here. It is something I think we need to be aware of but we have had no problems here at all.”

In Medicine Hat, 29,000 meters have already been installed, and the project is almost complete.

Note: Medicine Hat Electric Utility is installing the same Sensus Smart Meters than SaskPower has been ordered to remove.

Reposted under Fair Use Rules

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BREAKING: SaskPower ordered to remove all 105,000 Smart Meters in province (VIDEO)

Government Minister Bill Boyd stated that people’s lives and their family’s lives can’t be compromised.

SaskPower ordered to remove all smart meters in the province
30 July 2014 at 7:16pm |
by Shawn Knox, Global News

Fires prompt full recall & investigation of why testing never happened

The removal of the smart meters over the next six to nine months will cost around $15 million, according to SaskPower.

REGINA – SaskPower has announced that they are removing all the smart meters that were installed in the province.

The minister responsible for SaskPower Bill Boyd said the utility company will be taking out all 105,000 smart meters around Saskatchewan.

I think the concerns about safety are paramount here, the concerns are significant enough, anytime families are at risk in Saskatchewan, actions have to be taken and that’s why we’ve directed SaskPower accordingly,” said Minister Boyd.

The removal of the smart meters over the next six to nine months will cost around $15 million, according to SaskPower.

We view it as similar to a recall situation and the people of Saskatchewan shouldn’t be responsible for the costs of this and we’ll do everything we can to recover those costs,” said Boyd.

Boyd will also be reviewing why the new meters weren’t properly studied or tested before they were installed in homes.

“I don’t know whether there was enough testing done. We’ll certainly be conducting, along with SaskPower, an internal review of the procurement procedures around this around the safety concerns people had,” added Boyd.

“We want to determine when these were originally ordered, if there were safety concerns known at that point in time, so we have a lot of questions we’re going to be discussing with SaskPower about how this came to be.”

Earlier this month SaskPower temporarily suspended its installation of smart meters around the province after half a dozen caught fire.


Related stories:

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PG&E charged with lying to regulators in San Bruno explosion

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Pacific Gas & Electric was charged Tuesday with lying to regulators in connection with a fatal pipeline explosion that killed eight people and leveled a suburban Northern California neighborhood in 2010.

The U.S. attorney in San Francisco announced the obstruction of justice charge and 27 related counts, which are in a new indictment charging the utility with felonies. It replaces a previous indictment that contained 12 counts related to PG&E’s safety practices, but not obstruction.

Prosecutors say PG&E hampered the investigation by lying to regulators soon after the blast. In particular, PG&E officials are accused of telling National Transportation Safety Board investigators that the safety procedures being followed were correct and approved.

The other charges accuse the utility of failing to act on threats in its pipeline system even after the problems were identified by its own inspectors. The indictment charges PG&E with keeping shoddy records, failing to identify safety threats and failing to act when threats were found.

…No employees or executives have been charged in the San Bruno disaster. Prosecutors could still file another indictment charging individuals.

The utility announced in June that it was expecting the new indictment. PG&E spokesman Greg Snapper said company officials had not yet seen it.

“However, based on all of the evidence we have seen to date, we do not believe that the charges are warranted and that, even where mistakes were made, employees were acting in good faith to provide customers with safe and reliable energy,” he said in a prepared statement.

… On Tuesday, San Bruno City Manager Jim Ruane said “the new criminal charges demonstrate a pattern of deceit by PG&E.”

Complete article:
PG&E charged with obstruction over San Bruno blast
Santa Cruz Sentinel
July 29, 2014

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PG&E reports minimal customer conservation overall, 2010-2013; zero savings for web monitoring customers in 2013

“Analysis: Smart Meter and Smart Grid Problems” (p. 116 – 117) showed PG&E’s 2010 and 2011 “SmartMeter™ Program Enabled Energy Conservation Program” charts from their annual reports. Here are now the charts for 2012 and 2013.

PG&E’s numbers are confusing and contradictory from year to year. There are obvious errors, such as “0” under total enrolled customers for 2010. Customers enrolled in two programs are double counted in 2012, as PG&E notes.

The net result is that during these four years, there has been very minimal conservation savings by consumers, less than what could have been achieved without the expense and considerable problems of the Smart Meter program.

The web program, greatly hyped by PG&E and other utilities, and their premiere PR tool, appears to be a failure, especially for 2010 and 2013, as far as energy conservation.

Demand reduction is not happening at all.

This data is compared below with PG&E’s own suggestions from their literature. Continue reading

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Austrian Medical Association opposes Smart Meter roll-out, warns of serious health problems from Smart Meters (including Powerline Carrier — PLC)

In January 2012, the Austrian Medical Association (literal translation: Austrian Chamber of Physicians) — ÖÄK — opposed the mandatory introduction of Smart Meters in Austria.

They issued a letter to the Austrian government, followed by a press release in February, warning of the health consequences they expected would result.

Press Release

 “The planned area-wide introduction of so-called ‘smart meters’, can lead to health consequences, in the opinion of the Department of Environmental Medicine of the Austrian Medical Association (ÖÄK)… The available transmission options such as radio or transmission over the power grid itself (Powerline Communication, short PLC) lead to electrosmog that is harmful to health. Additionally, with Power Line Communication the existing electrical lines and the connected devices now emit increasing electrosmog (electric fields in the Kilohertz range).
Press release, German, 2-4-2012
Press release, English translation

Letter to Austrian Federal Ministry for Economics, Family and Youth, 1-18-2012

The expected health consequences would be an increase in symptoms and diseases that fall into the category of so-called multi-system diseases. This illness is characterized by involving several organs or functional systems at the same time and in interaction…

Who is liable in the event of health problems and diseases caused by the increased field exposure on the part of the Smart Meter?…

From the perspective of the Austrian Medical Association, the planned timetable of mandatory introduction of ‘smart meters’ should be reconsidered or suspended until pending clarification and solution of open questions.”

Austrian Medical Association website:


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AARP Oklahoma argues against PSO’s “flawed smart meter program”; citizen groups oppose program and rate hike, call for moratorium and state investigation

Tuesday, July 22, AARP Oklahoma representatives testified in court that the Smart Meter plan proposed by American Electric Power-Public Service Co. of Oklahoma (PSO) is flawed and unproven.

Sean Voskuhl, state director for AARP, said his group tried to make its case that the smart meter plan is flawed and unproven. He said that AEP-PSO did not include data from its smart meter pilot project in Owasso that could prove the cost-benefit analysis.

“We weren’t able to find evidence that this is a great deal for ratepayers,” Voskuhl said Tuesday after the hearing.[i]

Earlier in the month, Joe Ann Vermillion, AARP Oklahoma Executive Council Member, wrote this editorial on the AARP website [ii]

Giving PSO an Open Check Book for its Flawed Smart Meter Expansion Not a Smart Idea

Right now, our electric company – Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO) – is asking the Oklahoma Corporation Commission to approve its flawed smart meter expansion program.

They want customers like you and me to pay for their $133 million expansion, even though their own analysis fails to show their smart meter program will reduce either operational expenses or the price of electricity for customers.

AARP Oklahoma opposes PSO’s flawed smart meter program and is urging the Corporation Commission to reject their plan.

We shouldn’t give PSO an open check book for its expensive smart meter expansion, especially when many older Oklahomans already have trouble paying for their monthly utility bills. Instead, AARP is asking PSO to create a low-income program, much like one already in use by OG&E, which would help older Oklahomans afford to pay their electric bills.

PSO’s smart meter costs outweigh the benefits that will occur as a result of this investment. Under their costly plan, residential customer bills will increase by $3 to $4 per month for three years or more – $135 over three years– without any way to determine if cost reductions or bill savings will actually occur as they predict.

This is not a bargain that ratepayers should accept.

PSO’s flawed smart meter expansion plan is anything but smart. It’s a dumb way to shift almost all the risks associated with its estimated costs and benefits to the customer.

And it’s simply not fair to ask us to pay for this expensive project.

I urge you to call the Oklahoma Corporation Commission at 1-800-944-6708 and ask them to reject PSO’s flawed smart meter expansion program.

(Joe Ann Vermillion, a resident of McAlester, is a member of the AARP Oklahoma Executive Council.)

Meanwhile, two citizen groups issued a press release July 21, opposing the PSO’s request for a rate hike and deployment of Smart Meters.

The Tulsa 9-12 Project cited privacy, data use, health problems, program cost, and liability from lawsuits in their opposition. They also said:

If approved, “Smart Meters” will blanket 30,000 square miles of Oklahoma with pulsing non-ionizing radiation (a class 2B Carcinogen). The unsuspecting public will be radiated 24 hours a day by a wireless technology that can neither be seen nor heard. There are 3 cases currently before the Oklahoma Corporation Commission due to severe health effects associated with AMI (Smart Meters).

Amanda Teegarden, executive director of OK-SAFE, Inc. said

“OK-SAFE opposes PSO’s proposed rate increase, and the related rollout of AMI (smart meters) in their service area. Having followed this issue for a while now, we have come to believe that PSO is willfully and intentionally disregarding the public’s legitimate privacy, health and cost concerns associated with the installation of these types of meters. We strenuously oppose this rollout.

Further, we ask the legislature to issue a moratorium on the installation of any more AMI meters until expert testimony on the risks and costs has been made public.”

Tulsa 9.12 Project additionally stated

Corporation Commissioner Patrice Douglas, candidate for U.S. Congress, should recuse herself from voting on the PSO rate case. Douglas has accepted campaign contributions from several utility companies, including PSO, leading to possible conflict of interest and bias in the PSO rate case.


AARP challenges AEP-PSO smart meter plan;
AEP-PSO plans to increase customer rates to pay for new meters
Judge considers utility’s plan for smart meters



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