Report on Smart Meter Problems

Updated January 19, 2016

The report “Analysis: Smart Meter and Smart Grid Problems – Legislative Proposal” is available free to the public. This 173-page report, released in 2012 by health and environmental advocate Nina Beety, has extensive referenced information on the many problems and risks of the Smart Meter program known at that time, with information from state, national, and international resources. Investigation and admissions by the industry since 2012 continue to substantiate these serious problems, providing a searing indictment on regulatory and legislative officials who have failed to halt Smart Meter deployments. The report serves as a legal document for assessing liability for the extensive harm caused to the public. 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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Colorado: Energy bill quadrupled after Xcel installed “Smart” Meter

Protest a high bill and report it to the consumer affairs or attorney general’s office in your state or province. There is usually an appeal process where a customer does not have to pay the contested amount. This information is normally  on the back of the utility bill. Consider notifying local officials and the news media as well.

Before the customer contacted the news media, energy company Xcel said the bill was correct. After the customer contacted the news media, Xcel said the bill was a mistake and would issue a credit. 

From Fox 31 Denver:

September 5, 2016

DENVER — People around the Denver metro area are talking about new meters being installed by Xcel Energy in homes and saying they seem to be anything but smart.

However, Xcel says these new meters are not “smart meters,” even though many customers believe they are. The company has asked regulators for permission to start installing those types of meters starting next year.

One customer, Patsy Smith, lives in a 700-square-foot home and said she is conscientious about her energy use by unplugging things when they are not in use.

But with the new meter, her bill jumped from an average of $50 a month to $180. She has called Xcel several times, but it said there is nothing that can be done about her bill.

After sharing Smith’s story, the FOX31 Problem Solvers heard from many other Xcel customers who saw bills go up after new meters were installed.

This month, Xcel said Smith used more than 1,100 kilowatts of electricity, up from her average of 300. According to Xcel’s website, that’s more than a small commercial business uses in an average month.

“That’s impossible,” she said.

It’s also about four times more electricity use than her highest month.

“I thought it was a mistake,” she said. [It is.]

Smith said she has called Xcel three times and time she was told that it was normal.

“I will have to work my hours just to pay my electric bill and I’m working quite a few right now,” she said.

The Problem Solvers reached out to Xcel and spoke to an official on Tuesday.

A company spokeswoman said it looks like there was a mistake with Smith’s bill.  They are investigating whether it was a mechanical or human error, but they will correct her bill.

Xcel adds it has been a hot summer and people may notice higher than average utility bills.  But the spokeswoman says if you suspect a mistake, contact their customer service at the number on your bill.

Problem solved: Woman’s energy bill quadrupled after Xcel installed new meter

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Your kitchen appliances and Smart Meter are watching you, security expert warns

From Bloomberg

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Maine: CMP customers who refuse to pay opt-out fees get disconnect notices

In Maine, people have been fighting Smart Meters at the public utility commission and in the courts. In addition, some customers of Central Maine Power have refused to pay Smart Meter opt-out fees ordered by the PUC. They have clearly stated that these fees amount to extortion in order to protect their health and privacy, and as such are illegal.

Now CMP is threatening to disconnect their electricity. Notices were received last week. Here is an example:

CMP disconnect notice

These decisions can be appealed. Here is the information for CMP customers:

CMP right to appeal info

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UK: National smart meter initiative is “ongoing saga of cash burning”; £11bn later, Smart Meter project delayed again

The photo below is a parking meter, but if the shoe fits……

From the Register

This would be funny if it wasn’t worth 31 years of non-existent Brexit NHS funding

17 Aug 2016
by Alexander J Martin


There has been yet another delay in the ongoing saga of cash-burning that is the UK’s national smart meter initiative.

While the communications infrastructure was due to be switched on today, the £11bn project’s turn-on has now been delayed again until September, the BBC has reported.

The Data and Communications Company (DCC), which is responsible for providing the communications infrastructure for smart meters’ readings, is a subsidiary company owned by Crapita (often comically referred to as “Capita” by Private Eye), infamous for its outsourcing “successes”.

At the moment, Crapita has only managed to complete the design and build phase of the project, and despite plans to have it in operation by April last year, DCC is still testing the system ahead of the new live-date in September this year.

A spokesperson for the subsidiary told The Register: “As indicated by the Department, the timetable for the roll-out of the new infrastructure will allow for testing of the system to ensure that it will deliver a long-lasting and effective system.”

The project, which according to a 2014 Impact Assessment will arrive with a £11bn bill for consumers, was previously described as in danger of becoming a “costly failure” by a government report after a farcical number of delays and internal government warnings that it would most likely not be completed for another 50 years.

Last year, the Institute of Directors warned that the smart meter project would add billions to consumers’ bills and that the rollout “should be ‘halted, altered or scrapped’ to avoid a potentially catastrophic government IT disaster”.

Formerly run by the Department for Energy and Climate Change (DECC) — which has now become the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) — the project was initially intended to be operational by April 2015, though it was subsequently delayed until April 2016, then August 2016, and is now slated for September 2016.

Responding to The Register when we enquired regarding the delay, a BEIS spokesperson acknowledged the delay’s existence but did not provide any explanation of its cause, instead stating: “The roll-out of smart meters is the one of the most significant upgrades to Britain’s energy infrastructure making it fit for 21st century life.

“The new infrastructure is planned to go live at the end of September.” BEIS added, “It is currently being tested to deliver a long-lasting, world class system to bill payers. In the meantime energy suppliers continue to drive forward the programme, rolling out more than 3.6 million smart meters to homes and business across the country.”

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Maryland: Pepco disconnects electricity to family refusing to pay opt-out fees despite heat wave

The newspaper uses the key phrase “lack of any conclusive evidence”. This and similar phrases are repeatedly used by utility companies and regulatory agencies to confuse and deny. 

Who is responsible for “concluding?” With the rampant conflicts of interest throughout governmental agencies, so-called regulatory associations such as ICNIRP, and scientific journals, strong political pressure insures no “conclusion” will ever be reached to interfere with corporate profit.

When a term such as “no conclusive evidence” is used, the public is being frauded. The appropriate, science-backed response is, “There is substantial evidence of harm including the federal government’s own NTP results showing this radiation causes cancer. Are you willing to repeat another disaster like the tobacco, asbestos, and DDT cover-ups? How much evidence are you willing to ignore before you do your job?”

Pepco cannot even do proper record-keeping. I have seen the Pascalev’s payment record, and Pepco appears grossly incompetent in its bookkeeping. Whether this is intentional and retaliatory against the Pascalevs would be known only if there is an investigation. If other Pepco customers experience routine anomalies in their bills and improper crediting of payments, contact the Attorney General’s office

From the Bethesda Magazine

Bethesda Family Lives without Power While Refusing To Pay Pepco Fees
Pascalev family has been without electricity for 13 days during the hottest period of the summer

By Aaron Kraut

Tuesday is day 13 without power for the Pascalev family of Bethesda.

Pepco disconnected electricity service to the home on Sleaford Road after almost two years of husband Mario Pascalev and wife Assya Pascalev refusing to pay the utility’s $14-a-month fee for customers who opt out of its smart meter program.

Despite sweating through record heat over the weekend and more high temperatures Monday, the Pascalevs said they will continue their protest against smart meters, the opt-out fee requirement and what they claim is a series of inaccurate billing statements from Pepco. The couple has copies of checks sent to Pepco through certified mail showing they paid for their electricity use, but not the smart meter opt-out fee.

“There is the notion of unjust laws and civil disobedience against unjust laws,” Mario Pascalev said Friday while sitting in a downtown Bethesda Starbucks. “It is wrong and [Pepco] should not be able to force it on you.”

The family, which includes two teenage children age 13 and 18, have coped with the lack of air conditioning in the house by hanging out in Bethesda coffee shops and bookstores.

Chevy Chase resident Deborah Vollmer, whose power has remained on as she goes through a formal review process over her own refusal to pay Pepco’s smart meter opt-out fees, helped pay for part of the Pascalev family’s stay over the weekend in a downtown Bethesda hotel.

From 2011 to 2013, Pepco began replacing old electricity-reading meters on homes with digital smart meters—technology the utility and state regulators say provides more detailed information on energy use and can save customers money.

Maryland’s Public Service Commission, which regulates the utility industry, issued an order in February 2014 that established a $75 upfront charge and $14-per-month fee for Pepco customers who don’t get a smart meter. The regulators ruled utility companies around the state should be allowed to recover “incurred costs created by opt-out customers” still using the older meter technology.

Like Vollmer, the Pascalevs object to the smart meters by claiming they could emit harmful radiation, are a fire hazard and are a privacy concern because they could help Pepco track exactly when electricity is being used in the house.

When asked about the lack of any conclusive evidence linking the smart meters to harmful radiation, Assya Pascalev said the family would “rather err on the side of safety.”

“Until there is clarity one way or another, we’d rather take a precautionary approach,” said Assya Pascalev, a philosophy professor at Howard University. “I realize that under this current arrangement, we owe them the fees, but I disagree with the arrangement. I disagree with the principal by which this is being allowed to happen.”

The Pascalevs also disagree with how much Pepco says they owe in overdue payments. Pepco’s notice in May that electricity would soon be disconnected said the family owed $855.35 in overdue fees, an amount the Pascalevs said exceeded the opt-out fees they haven’t paid plus any additional late fees.

Confusing matters further is the fact the Pascalevs said they unknowingly paid the initial $75 upfront charge through three $25 payments in July, August and September 2014 because they had set up auto-pay for their Pepco bills and spent part of that summer on a vacation.

Assya Pascalev showed a reporter Pepco bills from October and November 2014 that contained two more $25 fees for the smart meter opt-out fee upfront payment. She also showed a reporter a copy of one payment the family sent Pepco in January 2015 that wasn’t deposited until earlier this month.

In a statement provided by Pepco after Bethesda Beat forwarded the Pascalev family’s complaints about billing inconsistencies, the company said “Pepco works with all of our customers to address any billing concerns.”

“Monthly opt-out fees are authorized by the Maryland Public Service Commission to cover the additional costs to maintain the legacy metering system, including paying for meter reading, for customers that refuse a smart meter,” the statement from Pepco read. “We have the right to disconnect service as a last resort if a customer refuses to pay their bill in entirety.”

Pepco spokesperson Marcus Beal said there are 1,489 customers in Montgomery and Prince George’s counties who have opted out of the smart meter program, about 0.3 percent of the company’s total customer base in those two counties.

The Pascalevs have asked for help from the Public Service Commission and elected officials such as Rep. Chris Van Hollen. They said their goal is to get Pepco to turn the power back on as they sort through the billing issues, but they acknowledged they can only last so long without power.

The first day of school is Aug. 29. “You can’t do school work in a Starbucks,” Mario Pascalev said.

“This makes it really hard because it’s not just the two of us,” Assya Pascalev said. “We have two children and we have a dog in the house. And we are responsible for them and although they are patiently supportive, the thing is it’s a lot of extra work. Just physically, it wears you down.”

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“The cloud never forgets”: Every move you make, every click you take, every appliance you use, they’ll be watching you

“[I]t’s already built a profile on every American adult, including young people who wouldn’t be swept up in conventional databases…”

Smart Meters and the Home Area Network provide the equivalent of a video feed of daily life inside homes and businesses, coupled with the actual data from computer cameras and security cameras. All archived.

Not just adults. Children and teenagers are the most lucrative market. Marketing firms and the government may not admit it, but databases on children are actively being compiled. Google is used by many school districts for district email. Data companies are hired by school districts to collect, organize, and create “individualized” learning plans. Where does that data go, along with Facebook, Twitter, online gaming, and all the online activity and school work of  children and teenagers? It is treasure archive for stalkers, marketers, and blackmail. The title “No Child Left Behind” was no mistake. It’s a dragnet.

Online buying means everything is tracked, versus in-person cash purchases. “Convenience” and “ease” replace safety and privacy.

Reminder: StartPage — — is one of several internet search engines that allows you to search the internet anonymously.

From Bloomberg

August 5, 2016
By David Gauvey Herbert

Every move you make. Every click you take. Every game you play. Every place you stay. They’ll be watching you.

Forget telephoto lenses and fake mustaches: The most important tools for America’s 35,000 private investigators are database subscription services.

For more than a decade, professional snoops have been able to search troves of public and nonpublic records-known addresses, DMV records, photographs of a person’s car-and condense them into comprehensive reports costing as little as $10. Now they can combine that information with the kinds of things marketers know about you, such as which politicians you donate to, what you spend on groceries, and whether it’s weird that you ate in last night, to create a portrait of your life and predict your behavior.

IDI, a year-old company in the so-called data-fusion business, is the first to centralize and weaponize all that information for its customers. The Boca Raton, Fla., company’s database service, idiCORE, combines public records with purchasing, demographic, and behavioral data. Chief Executive Officer Derek Dubner says the system isn’t waiting for requests from clients-it’s already built a profile on every American adult, including young people who wouldn’t be swept up in conventional databases, which only index transactions. “We have data on that 21-year-old who’s living at home with mom and dad,” he says.

Dubner declined to provide a demo of idiCORE or furnish the company’s report on me. But he says these personal profiles include all known addresses, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses; every piece of property ever bought or sold, plus related mortgages; past and present vehicles owned; criminal citations, from speeding tickets on up; voter registration; hunting permits; and names and phone numbers of neighbors. The reports also include photos of cars taken by private companies using automated license plate readers-billions of snapshots tagged with GPS coordinates and time stamps to help PIs surveil people or bust alibis.

IDI also runs two coupon websites, and, that collect purchasing and behavioral data. When I signed up for the latter, I was asked for my e-mail address, birthday, and home address, information that could easily link me with my idiCORE profile.

The site also asked if I suffered from arthritis, asthma, diabetes, or depression, ostensibly to help tailor its discounts. Users and industry analysts say the addition of purchasing and behavioral data to conventional data fusion outmatches rival systems in terms of capabilities-and creepiness. “The cloud never forgets, and imperfect pictures of you composed from your data profile are carefully filled in over time,” says Roger Kay, president of Endpoint Technologies Associates, a consulting firm. “We’re like bugs in amber, completely trapped in the web of our own data.”

When logging in to IDI and similar databases, a PI must select a permissible use for a search under U.S. privacy laws. The Federal Trade Commission oversees the industry, but PI companies are largely expected to police themselves, because a midsize outfit may run thousands of searches a month.

Dubner says most Americans have little to fear. As examples, he cites idiCORE uses such as locating a missing person and nabbing a fraud or terrorism suspect.

IDI, like much of the data-fusion industry, traces its lineage to Hank Asher, a former cocaine smuggler and self-taught programmer who began fusing sets of public data from state and federal governments in the early 1990s.

After Sept. 11, law enforcement’s interest in commercial databases grew, and more money and data began raining down, says Julia Angwin, a reporter who wrote about the industry in her 2014 book, Dragnet Nation.

Asher died suddenly in 2013, leaving behind his company, the Last One (TLO), which credit bureau TransUnion bought in bankruptcy for $154 million.

Asher’s disciples, including Dubner, left TLO and eventually teamed up with Michael Brauser, a former business partner of Asher’s, and billionaire health-care investor Phillip Frost. In May 2015, after a flurry of purchases and mergers, the group rebranded its database venture as IDI.

Besides pitching its databases to big-name PIs (Kroll, Control Risks), law firms, debt collectors, and government agencies, IDI says it’s also targeting consumer marketers. The 200-employee company had revenue of about $40 million in its most recent quarter and says 2,800 users signed up for idiCORE in the first month after its May release. It declined to provide more recent figures. The company’s data sets are growing, too. In December, Frost helped underwrite IDI’s $100 million acquisition of marketing profiler Fluent, which says it has 120 million profiles of U.S. consumers. In June, IDI bought ad platform Q Interactive for a reported $21 million in stock.

IDI may need Frost’s deep pockets for a while. The PI industry’s three favorite databases are owned by TransUnion and media giants Reed Elsevier and Thomson Reuters. “There’s no shortage,” says Chuck McLaughlin, chairman of the board of the World Association of Detectives, which has about 1,000 members. “The longer you’re in business, the more data you have, the better results.” He uses TLO and Tracers Information Specialists.

Steve Rambam, a PI who hosts Nowhere to Hide on the Investigation Discovery channel, says marketing data remains a niche monitoring tool compared with social media, but its power can be unparalleled. “You may not know what you do on a regular basis, but I know,” Rambam says. “I know it’s Thursday, you haven’t eaten Chinese food in two weeks, and I know you’re due.”

—With Olga Kharif

The bottom line: IDI’s marketing databases may help PIs predict people’s moves or digitally peek into their cars or medicine cabinets.

©2016 Bloomberg L.P. All Rights Reserved

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$16,000 water bill stuns homeowners — “the only explanation” is the Smart Meter

California American Water Company refuses to tell the public that Smart Meters can cause these outrageous bills, most likely due to RF interference with the meter.

How many incorrect but not so outrageous bills do people get and pay rather than fight?

This water company has dealt with these high bills for several years now, not just in California. They are covering up for the meter industry and for the Smart Meter program. And who’s paying?

From the Carmel Pine Cone
August 5-11 edition
by Mary Schley

The water bill for this Camino Real vacation home went way beyond what was usual – and far beyond what anyone could anticipate – but no one is sure what happened to the more than 144,000 gallons that were supposedly used.

When Kellie Meyers received a postcard from California American Water warning her that too much water was being used at the home on Camino Real she and her husband own, she knew there was a problem What Meyers wasn’t prepared for was the $16,668.90 water bill she got – including a $14,181.24 fee for May 7 to June 7, and $2,487.66 for June9 to July 8.

“My husband got the bill and almost had a heart attack,” Meyers said.

They’d already been working with the water company to reduce water use and check for leaks at the house following a few bills earlier in the year that exceeded $1,000. They had also repaired a leak that caused a spike – but nothing In the nature of a five-digit figure.

“I sent an urgent message to my gardener to shut off the water and let the garden die, because it would be cheaper to replace it all than to have the water on,” Meyers said. “And I told my cleaning lady to make sure there were no toilets running, or anything like that.”

The bill for the period of May 7 to June 7 showed a total of 144,663 gallons of water used, or an average of 4 ,521 gallons per day, at a time when nobody was living there.

And it was 1,154 gallons per day from June 8 to July 7, when the house was also unoccupied. Average water use in the Monterey Peninsula is about 50 gallons per day per person.

Won’t be on the hook

The huge bills obviously resulted from a leak or some other malfunction, Cal Am spokeswoman Catherine Stedman said. The home’s water meter electronically transmits the flow rate to the utility hourly, and an examination of account records shows that starting at 7:49 pm on May 2, the meter reported a rate of more than 180 gallons per hour, 24 hours a day, until June 13, when it slowed to 105 gallons at 6:49 pm, and dropped to zero at 7:49 pm.

“I don’t know what the cause was,” she said. “It would appear like an irrigation leak.” Since then, water use on the property has returned to normal, with zero most days, and numbers consistent with garden maintenance, household use and cleaning on the other days.

The charges were so high not only because of the water used, but because state regulations require Cal Am to set its prices to penalize customers who exceed their allotted use, with prices ranging from nine-tenths of a cent per gallon In the lowest tier, all the way up to 13 cents per gallon in the highest billing tier.

“The purpose of the rates is to drive down consumption so that we can stay in compliance.” with regulatory requirements that strictly limit how much water Monterey Peninsula residents can sue, Stedman said.

She also said the couple won’t have to pay the huge bills, since they’re cooperating with an audit of their property to help identify any problems – the same process they undertook to fix the leak a couple of years ago.

‘Historic use’

“We’ll go through their house and look at their fixtures, and see how much they could save,” Stedman explained. “We’ll go and make recommendations, check for leaks, and then outdoors, we check the irrigation system and make sure there are no broken sprinkler heads that could be contributing to water loss.”

The analyst also ensures any timers are set correctly.

The service is free and available to all Cal Am customers, and in this case, it’s the key to getting Meyers’ water bill reduced to what it would normally be, based on historic use, according to Stedman. That no cause was identified doesn’t matter.

“Either way, they’re not going to have to pay the bill,” she said. “There are some cases where no one can figure out what happened, and we’ll still adjust the bill.”

Stedman also said the water company has joined a pilot program that allows some customers to go online and look at their hourly usage and see what’s typical for a similar customer.

“So for example, you could set your online account up so that if your water use is double than average on any particular day, you would get a text or an email – your preference – letting you know you may have a leak.” Stedman said.

“That way, you don’t have to wait 30 days until we read the meter to find out there’s a problem.”

It’s been successful, and the company is applying to the California Public Utilities Commission to make the program available to all its customers.

Meyers said she’s relieved to hear she won’t have to pay the $16,668.90 bill, but she’s frustrated by the lack of an explanation. since we have no floods in the yard or water damage in the house, where in the heck did all that supposed water go? Even if we had a toilet running while we were gone, it wouldn’t fill up 180 gallons per hour,” she said.

The water could have leaked underground and disappeared into the soil, of course. But since no leak was found, Meyers wondered if the meter itself was faulty.

“It seems the only explanation,” she said.

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