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

Introduction
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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Lloyd’s of London excludes liability coverage for RF/EMF claims

Credit to Sharon Noble, Director, Coalition to Stop Smart Meters in British Columbia, for bringing this information to the public. 

Lloyd’s of London excludes any liability coverage for claims,

Directly or indirectly arising out of, resulting from or contributed to by electromagnetic fields, electromagnetic radiation, electromagnetism, radio waves or noise.” (Exclusion 32)

This information is from CFC Underwriting Limited, which is a Lloyd’s of London underwriter (page 12-13 of policy document, page 13-14 of pdf), and was posted by Citizens for Safe Technology:

[This] is a recent renewal policy which, as of Feb. 7, 2015, excludes any coverage associated with exposure to non-ionizing radiation. In response to clarification, this response was received on Feb. 18, 2015 from CFC Underwriting LTD, London, UK agent for Lloyd’s:

“‘The Electromagnetic Fields Exclusion (Exclusion 32) is a General Insurance Exclusion and is applied across the market as standard. The purpose of the exclusion is to exclude cover for illnesses caused by continuous long-term non-ionising radiation exposure i.e. through mobile phone usage.”
http://www.citizensforsafetechnology.org/Lloyds-of-London-excludes-coverage-for-RFEMR-claims,2,4168

The policy document is here: http://emrabc.ca/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/InsuranceAEWordingCanadav17Feb2015.pdf
Also http://www.citizensforsafetechnology.org/uploads/scribd/Insurance%20AE%20Wording%20Canada%20v1%207%20Feb%202015.pdf

From the Lloyd’s of London policy:

“Exclusions (starting on Page 6 of policy, Page 7 of pdf):

We will not

a) make any payment on your behalf for any claim, or
b) incur any costs and expenses, or
c) reimburse you for any loss, damage, legal expenses, fees or costs sustained by you, or
d) pay any medical expenses:

32. Electromagnetic fields (General Insurance Exclusions –Page 7 of policy):

directly or indirectly arising out of, resulting from or contributed to by electromagnetic fields, electromagnetic radiation, electromagnetism, radio waves or noise.”

This would include the microwave radiation and electromagnetic radiation emitted from Smart Meters (AMR, AMI, PLC), from Home Area Network devices and appliances (including AC and thermostats), from Wi-Fi transmitters, from wireless devices in schools, offices, and homes, and from wireless sensors and wireless-connected fire alarms.

 “This means that the Province (that is we, the taxpayer) will be held liable for claims from teachers and parents of children suffering biological effects from wifi in schools, from homeowners exposed to RF from mandated smart meters on homes, and from employees forced to use cell phones or exposed to wifi at work. Lawsuits in other countries have resulted in huge payments already, and it is only a matter of time before similar lawsuits are filed and won in Canada.

“Potentially those who allow such devices, after having been fully informed about the dangers, could be held liable for negligence, and directors’ insurance may not provide financial protection. Directors’ insurance applies when people are performing their duties “in good faith”. It is hard to argue they are acting “in good faith” after having been warned by true scientific experts and by a well-respected insurer.

“Consider yourself notified once again that you could be held legally responsible for the decisions you have made.”

Yours truly,
Sharon Noble
Director, Coalition to Stop Smart Meters in British Columbia Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

The full letter with policy document is here: http://www.citizensforsafetechnology.org/Lloyds-of-London-excludes-coverage-for-RFEMR-claims,2,4168

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Report ranks electricity meters for risk to health, privacy, cybersecurity

From Electromagnetic Health.org, March 16, 2015

This March 15, 2015 report ranking electricity meters on their risk to health, privacy and cyber security is from Ronald M. Powell, Ph.D. Dr. Powell is a retired career U.S. Government scientist who holds a Ph.D. in Applied Physics from Harvard University. During his Government career, he worked for the Executive Office of the President, the National Science Foundation, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology.

Ranking Electricity Meters for Risk to Health, Privacy, and Cyber Security

Introduction

The manufacturers of electricity meters offer a wide variety of models. And many of these models are available with a dozen or so options, leading to an enormous number of possible combinations. These meters have capabilities beyond what is required to measure the electricity consumed for the purpose of issuing a monthly bill. Unfortunately, the new capabilities present a host of risks to health, to privacy, and to cyber security, as has been widely discussed elsewhere. But, briefly –

• The risks to health arise primarily from the fact that many electricity meters communicate wirelessly with the electric power companies. They transmit radiofrequency radiation, at microwave frequencies, day and night, every day of the year, forever. That radiation travels through homes and businesses readily, and penetrates the unborn, the children, and the adults alike, disrupting health. Every transmitting meter in a community irradiates everyone in that community. So does every community-based transmitter/receiver that the electric power companies have erected to communicate wirelessly with those meters.

• The risks to privacy arise from the fact that many of the meters capture and transmit very highly time-resolved information about electricity consumption. That detailed information can reveal much about the activities taking place inside the homes and the businesses, sufficient, for example, to reveal when no one is there.

• The risks to cyber security arise, in part, from the fact that some types of meters can accept incoming wireless commands that may come from nefarious sources. Many of those meters can respond to wireless commands to shut off the electrical power to a home or a business entirely, or to accept new software programming. That new programming can alter the functions of the meters and can do so invisibly to the owners of the homes and the businesses.

Download the Full Report Here (PDF)

Ranking Electricity Meters for Risk – A Summary

graphThe table summarizes the risk rankings of electricity meters, based on a detailed analysis in a longer companion document.1 “5” is the highest risk. Blank is the lowest risk. Capital letters mark meters with similar, but not necessarily identical, risk rankings. The priorities among the three types of risk addressed are these:

Health: The meters are arranged in descending order by Risk to Health, which the author believes to be the single most important risk factor.

Privacy: The meters with the same Risk to Health are arranged in descending order by Risk to Privacy.

Cyber Security: The meters with the same Risk to Health and the same Risk to Privacy are arranged in descending order by Risk to Cyber Security.

The Wireless Smart Meter poses the highest risk in all three categories of risk. In contrast, the Traditional Analog Meter poses the lowest risk in all three categories of risk. This meter is also called:

• Traditional Analog Mechanical Meter
• Traditional Analog Electromechanical Meter
• Traditional Analog Mechanical Meter with No Wireless Communications Capability
• Traditional Analog Mechanical Meter with No Electronic Circuitry.

Download This Graph Here

http://electromagnetichealth.org/electromagnetic-health-blog/ranking-electricity-meters/

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March 17, U.S. Senate hearing on electric grid innovations

There is no representation of the public at this hearing. and therefore, the committee will not receive information about the myriad problems and costs of Smart Meters and the Smart Grid.

NARUC will be on the panel (see previous posts on NARUC) and EPRI. This is an industry and “captured” agency presentation to Congress, not a fact-finding hearing. The committee members and their website links are here. to contact them. Elizabeth Warren is on this committee: http://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/members

Mar 17 2015, 10 AM EDT (Eastern Daylight Time)

The State of Technological Innovation Related to the Electric Grid

Full Committee Hearing

The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee will hold a hearing to evaluate the state of technological innovation related to the electric grid.

The hearing will take place Tuesday, March 17, at 10 a.m. in room 366 of the Dirksen Senate Office Building.

The hearing will be webcast live here on the energy panel’s website.

Opening Remarks

  • Chairman Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)

Witness Panel 1

  • Ms. Lisa Barton
    Executive Vice President, AEP Transmission
    American Electric and Power
  • The Honorable Lisa Edgar
    Ms. Lisa Edgar Commissioner, Florida Public Service Commission
    President, National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners
  • Dr. Michael Howard Ph.D., P.E.
    President and CEO
    Electric Power Research Institute
  • Dr. Peter Littlewood
    Director
    Argonne National Laboratory
  • Dr. Jeff Taft
    Chief Architect for Electric Grid Transformations
    Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

http://www.energy.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/hearings-and-business-meetings?ID=1348cae4-e8dd-448a-b111-6357cf9af113

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New tools for the industry to get your personal energy data

It is ridiculously easy to see and analyze someone’s energy data now.

http://smartmeterharm.org/2014/07/09/privacy-invasion-data-mining-and-surveillance-with-smart-meters-part-1/
http://smartmeterharm.org/2014/07/09/privacy-invasion-data-mining-and-surveillance-with-smart-meters-part-2/
http://smartmeterharm.org/2015/02/03/digital-electronic-internet-of-thingsiot-and-smart-grid-technologies-to-fully-eviscerate-privacy/

However, the states and the industry have publicly stated that data is “aggregated” – all the information clumped together and impossible to disentangle. Because of that, they say, people’s privacy is protected.

Now, the industry has overcome even their contrived hurdle with disaggregation – creating tools that break down the data even more easily.

The article has a photo of a needle in haystack. Privacy? No longer available with Smart Meters and the Smart Grid.

http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/eeme-goes-public-with-energy-disaggregation-te st-results

Startup Goes Public With Its Energy Disaggregation Results

EEme is hoping that large-scale tests shared publicly will help demystify this emerging technology.

by Jeff St. John
March 13, 2015

One of the biggest questions facing the providers of energy disaggregation technology is how to prove that it works as advertised. Then there’s the inevitable follow-up question — how well does it work compared to the competition?

Over the past few years, we’ve been covering companies like Bidgely, PlotWatt, Smappee, Neurio (formerly Energy Aware), Navetas, Belkin, Intel, and others offering technology to disaggregate whole-home energy data into specific breakouts of air conditioning, water heating, appliances and other typical building electricity loads. But without large-scale, standardized testing methods, it’s hard for would-be users of the technology to know whether they’re getting what they’ve paid for.

Enes Hosgor, CEO and founder of EEme, says that his company wants to change that. Last week, the Carnegie Mellon University spinout released results from what may be the biggest disaggregation technology test out there — a comparison of the results turned out by EEme’s algorithms against the circuit-level, real-time data being collected from 264 homes that are part of the Austin, Texas-based Pecan Street research consortium.

EEme disaggregated a year’s worth of 15-minute smart meter interval data, and was able to achieve about 70 percent accuracy in its estimates of air conditioning, water heater, clothes dryer and dishwasher energy use, compared to the granular data Pecan Street was pulling into its supercomputers. That’s on par with what other disaggregation technologies have been able to get out of 15-minute whole-home meter reads, according to tests from the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) that we covered in late 2013.

But it’s also a lot more comprehensive in terms of the data it’s being compared against, he said. Other disaggregation tests have been limited to mock homes set up in labs, or at most, a couple of dozen homes equipped with expensive and hard-to-maintain circuit-by-circuit sensors. And importantly, those test results haven’t yet been made freely available to the public, as EEme is now offering to do, he said.

“If you don’t have that insight in public, you cannot have a benchmark, a reference point, to move the entire knowledge base forward,” Hosgor said in an interview last week. “And if you don’t know the accuracy reference point, you cannot put that in the context for use cases,” which can range from load forecasting, demand response and energy efficiency measurement and verification for utilities, to appliance-by-appliance energy use and cost breakdowns for homeowners.

To be fair to the other energy disaggregation companies out there, EEme isn’t revealing the algorithms and approaches it uses. “Everything we’ve built at Carnegie Mellon is our own — and we don’t share how we do things, just like Bidgely and PlotWatt don’t share how they do things,” he said. But at least it’s giving out the results from what’s most likely the largest, and thus most statistically significant, test of this kind of technology out there today, he said.

Sharing the wealth from a treasure trove of home energy data

Pecan Street offers a unique resource on this front. No other entity, to our knowledge, has sensored and monitored so many homes at such fine detail for as long as it has. Even so, EEme isn’t the first energy disaggregation technology vendor to use this resource as a test bed.

“We have done projects like this for several companies, including EEme,” Bert Haskell, Pecan Street’s CTO, told me in an interview this week. “It’s just the first to publicly release its results.”

Haskell declined to name the other companies that have used Pecan Street’s enormous residential energy database to test their disaggregation technologies. But he did say that they include at least three Fortune 100 companies — and while he didn’t mention it, Intel publicly announced in 2012 that it was testing its disaggregation tech at Pecan Street.

Pecan Street has been releasing some of its own results on this front, like its Sol app, which monitors time-stamped energy data from solar PV-equipped homes to catch problems with their solar generation ranging from dirty panels to faulty electronics. It’s also making its data available to universities and researchers through its WikiEnergy platform.

“I’m glad that EEme has decided to publish its results, because I think it would be good for the industry to discuss what the appropriate methods are” for testing these technologies, Haskell said. “For this industry to move forward, there have to be some kinds of industry benchmarks that are commonly understood.” That’s a view shared by the Department of Energy, which could be a valuable partner in bringing energy disaggregation systems to broader use.

EEme wants to bring its own disaggregation technology into play as a behind-the-scenes addition to other partners, rather than as its own energy portal, Hosgor said. So far it’s piloted with one California utility and another in Texas — while he wouldn’t name either, it’s likely that Austin Energy is the Texas partner — as well as at a U.S. military base. But it’s looking for partners outside the utility space as well, he said.

“We want to be the go-to analytics company in the DSM [demand-side management] market, for everybody to make more targeted and intelligent decisions,” he said. The company has received funding from Carnegie Mellon’s technology transfer center, and “we’re currently raising capital to expand our team and operations.”

Pecan Street’s Haskell noted that large-scale industrial and commercial power users have been using energy data for diagnostic and analysis uses for years. “The kind of work we’re doing is really focused at lowering the hurdle for people to utilize this capability to the point where a mobile app can use this data to save you money in your house, without you having to do much of anything,” he said.

“We would love to facilitate that process,” he said. “I think the industry does need a set of benchmarks — not a single figure of merit, because there are different classifications of problems. We certainly have the data to facilitate a lot of those, particularly when they’re related to residential systems.”

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

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The Powell memo

When attempting to stop Smart Meters in local communities, members of the public have often found the Chamber of Commerce promoting Smart Meters and representing the utility companies.

This memo, written in 1971 by Lewis Powell, an influential member of the corporate legal community, called on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to take a more active and aggressive role in the country in promoting their voice. In it, he detailed the many avenues of influence the Chamber  could take in asserting their influence.

Lewis Powell became Associate Justice on the Supreme Court the following year, serving on the Supreme Court from 1972 – 1987.

Background information:

From Wikipedia:

Powell was a partner for over a quarter of a century at Hunton, Williams, Gay, Powell and Gibson, a large Virginia law firm, with its primary office in Richmond (now known as Hunton & Williams LLP). Powell practiced primarily in the areas of corporate law (especially in the field of mergers and acquisitions) and in railway litigation law. He had been a board member of Philip Morris from 1964 until his court appointment in 1971 and had acted as a contact point for the tobacco industry with the Virginia Commonwealth University. Through his law firm, Powell represented the Tobacco Institute and various tobacco companies in numerous law cases…

On August 23, 1971, prior to accepting President Nixon’s request to become an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court, Powell sent the “Confidential Memorandum” titled “Attack on the American Free Enterprise System.” He argued, “The most disquieting voices joining the chorus of criticism came from perfectly respectable elements of society: from the college campus, the pulpit, the media, the intellectual and literary journals, the arts and sciences, and from politicians.” In the memorandum, Powell advocated “constant surveillance” of textbook and television content, as well as a purge of left-wing elements. He named consumer advocate Ralph Nader as the chief antagonist of American business.[19]

This memo foreshadowed a number of Powell’s court opinions, especially First National Bank of Boston v. Bellotti, which shifted the direction of First Amendment law by declaring that corporate financial influence of elections through independent expenditures should be protected with the same vigor as individual political speech. Much of the future Court opinion in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission relied on the same arguments raised in Bellotti.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lewis_F._Powell,_Jr.

Continue reading

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CPUC President Peevey: “There really are people who feel pain, etc. related to EMF”

A massive corruption scandal is unfolding in California at the Public Utilities Commission.

As a result of a lawsuit by the City of San Bruno, PG&E was forced to release 65, 000 emails. Buried in those emails is a startling admission from former CPUC President Michael Peevey in September 2010. This is EMF Safety Network’s report on that email.

CPUC President Peevey “There really are people who feel pain related to EMF”
February 7, 2015

In April 2010 the EMF Safety Network filed a CPUC application on smart meters. We asked for a moratorium, an independent technical review, evidentiary hearings on health and safety, and the right to opt out.

In December 2010 CPUC President Michael Peevey approved PG&E’s motion to dismiss our application.  He stated “I believe that relying on the FCC in this case is reasonable, prudent and fully consistent with our responsibilities to provide safe and reliable electric service to ratepayers.” He concluded his statements by stating, “You should take these concerns to the FCC, it’s the proper body.”

Nearly five years later 65,000 emails between PG&E and the CPUC have been publicly released. Emails reveal the collusion between CPUC and PG&E. They discussed the smart meter problems privately, violating their own rules of procedure.

In September 2010 Peevey emailed PG&E’s Brian Cherry on smart meters.  He did not say he thought we should take the issue to the FCC.

Peevey believed people were suffering from smart meters.  He believed PG&E should do something about it. However, instead of regulating the utility to ensure public safety,  he deferred his lawful responsibility to PG&E.

Michael Peevey wrote, “One thought for the company: If it were my decision I would let anyone who wants to keep their old meter keep it, if they claim they suffer from EMF and/or related electronic-related illnesses and they can produce a doctor’s letter saying so (or expressing concern about the likelihood of suffering same). I would institute such a policy quietly and solely on an individual basis. There really are people who feel pain, etc., related to EMF,etc., and rather than have them becoming hysterical, etc., I would quietly leave them alone. Kick it around. And, it sounds like the company may already have taken this step, based on a couple of the comments at yesterday’s public hearing.

He writes, “If it were my decision”.  As the Commissioner assigned to the proceeding- it was HIS decision. Yet, Peevey defers his lawful duty to PG&E.  And he delayed on this case for years.

Peevey wanted PG&E to keep it quiet- didn’t want other customers, or the rest of the world to know there’s a problem with smart meters causing customers pain, etc.

You can find this email/quote here: ftp://ftp2.cpuc.ca.gov/PG&E20150130ResponseToA1312012Ruling/2010/09/SB_GT&S_0000529.pdf

Stay tuned for more EMAIL exposé! Yet to come: emails showing CPUC and PGE discussing alternatives to smart meters, including a phone line option. Email showing the CPUC stopped PG&E from giving small businesses an analog meter option, AND MORE!

http://emfsafetynetwork.org/cpuc-president-peevey-there-really-are-people-who-feel-pain-related-to-emf/

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Smart Meters—not so smart; “I’ve never been so sick in my life”

How Dangerous and Expensive Became “Smart” An Exposé of the “Smart Grid”
Amy Worthington
Published by the Weston A. Price Foundation,

Electric “smart” meters were installed in Cindy deBac’s Scottsdale, Arizona, neighborhood in 2012. She recalls the day a new meter was mounted on her home as a sort of digital Pearl Harbor attack. “I’ve never been so sick in my life,” she says. “Nausea, a crushing migraine headache, and painful heart palpitations laid me low right away.”

Healthy and exuberant before the installation, deBac became unable to sleep normally. She soon became exhausted and tearfully anxious as she struggled with rashes and a chronically racing heart. For respite she spent nights away in her car. One of her dogs died of cancer within six months of the meter’s installation and the other developed large tumors. Today Cindy leads a global educational crusade to warn others about the myriad devastating health effects that electromagnetic radiation can unleash.

Across the U.S. installers continue to replace comparatively safe analog (mechanical) utility meters with digital “smart” meters for electrical, gas and water services. Most of the new meters are wireless two-way transmitters that pulse signals to communicate continuously between your home, school, or workplace and utility companies miles away. The new meters are part of a nationwide project dubbed Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI). Most folks call this evolving make-over the “smart grid.”

The AMI “smart” meter below records electrical consumption data and sends the information wirelessly to energy system managers. “Smart” meters can be programmed to read and transmit data monthly, or up to every fifteen seconds. Data may be relayed by systems similar to mobile phones or Wi-Fi. Or information may be relayed via fiber optics (thin, transparent cables that carry signals by pulsing light). Of these methods, fiber optics may offer the safest transmission.

AMI is nested within the American Recovery and Investment Act of 2009, and the Obama Administration has shoveled an estimated eleven billion dollars into incentive programs for utilities that participate. “Smart” grid advocates insist that the new two-way meters will reduce national energy consumption and allow consumers to make better choices about their energy needs.

The Department of Energy (DOE) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) are among federal heavyweights behind the thundering AMI rollout. Several universities and corporations stand to profit hugely by providing AMI equipment, software and expertise. These include General Electric, IBM, Hewlett Packard, Siemens, Toshiba, Microsoft, Cisco, Verizon, Google, Itron and Tantalus.

With a financial and political engine of this magnitude, the AMI meter replacement project has moved at lightning speed. According to the Institute for Electric Efficiency (IEE), nearly 40 percent of U.S. households had an electric “smart” meter installed by August 2013. A total of sixty-five million “smart” meters are projected to be installed by 2015, covering more than half of all U.S. households.1 Among states hit hardest so far have been Oregon, Idaho, California, Nevada, Arizona, Texas, Oklahoma, Maryland, Virginia, Indiana, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Michigan, Vermont, Florida, Georgia and Alabama.

PRELIMINARY REPORTS ON “SMART” METERS

Over the last three years, strong-arm installation tactics, fires caused by meters, skyrocketing utility bills, privacy concerns and disabling health effects have given momentum to a broad coalition of “smart” grid opponents. Many, including some government officials, say that the touted benefits of “smart” systems have not materialized, while the negative ramifications have proven disastrous. Continue reading

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