Report on Smart Meter Problems

Updated May 1, 2017

The report “Analysis: Smart Meter and Smart Grid Problems – Legislative Proposal” is available free to the public for downloading and printing. 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.

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Kentucky regulators reject two Smart Meter roll-outs; Attorney General supports denial

As posted here, two Kentucky utility companies tried for the second time in January to get their Smart Meter programs approved by the Kentucky Public Service Commission,

Once again, the PSC has said, “No”. — Order

One key issue:

  • These companies told the Public Service Commission there would be a net financial benefit to customers by switching to this Smart Meters/AMS system.
  • However, their business case of benefit over cost was based on a 20-year or more service life for these meters.
  • The two companies told the PSC the service life of these Landis & Gyr meters is 20 years, and used a 2-word email from their vendor as their only evidence to justify their claim of a 20-year service life.

Here’s the email
————————————————
.


  • The companies’ business case falls apart with less than a 20-year service life, and turns to a cost to customers: $18.1 million cost for an 18-year meter service life and $67.2 million cost for a 15-year meter service life.
  • Congressional testimony by an industry spokesman said Smart Meters’ service life is only 5 years, and companies continually report Smart Meters failing after a few years.

The Attorney General was an intervenor in this case, and recommended PSC denial based on several factors, including that benefits were overstated.

The Attorney General argues that the Companies failed to meet the burden of proof to justify approval of a CPCN. The Attorney General claims that the Companies failed to show a substantial inadequacy of service and failed to provide sufficient evidence that the AMS proposal will not result in wasteful duplication. Further, the Attorney General states that the cost-benefit analysis provided by the Companies supports the denial of the CPCNs because the analysis assumes that the AMS meters last longer than the case record supports, and the benefits are overestimated. The Attorney General recommends that the Companies’ request for approval of CPCNs should be denied.”

Here’s the story:

In January, two energy companies, Kentucky Utilities Company (KU) and Louisville Gas and Electric Company (LG&E), asked the Kentucky Public Service Commission for Certificates of Public Convenience and Necessity (CPCN) so that they could roll out Landis & Gyr Smart Meters — “Advanced Metering Systems (AMS)”– throughout their service territories. They also asked the Commission to “grant deviations from meter inspection and testing requirements” and approve opt-out charges for customers who didn’t want an “AMS” meter.

On August 30, 2018, the Public Service Commission denied their application.

The Commission found that the Companies

failed to present sufficient evidence to support a determination that there is a need for AMS at this time, and failed to demonstrate that a Companies-wide AMS deployment will not create wasteful duplication of facilities” p. 7

The Companies failed to present sufficient evidence in the record to demonstrate that there is a substantial inadequacy of existing service.” p. 8

[T}he Commission is not persuaded by the evidentiary record that the AMS proposed by the Companies is the reasonable, least-cost alternative.” p. 9

In support of their assertion that the meters have a 20-year service life, the Companies relied upon a two-word email from their vendor that read “20 years” in response to a question about the expected service life. p. 3

Excerpts, beginning on p. 11

“The Companies claimed that AMS would provide customers more control over their consumption by providing them timely usage data, but acknowledged that the data customers would receive would be 24 to 48 hours old

Moreover, the Companies operate a limited opt-in AMS pilot program that has yet to reach full capacity, and many of the pilot program customers do not regularly check usage data, which is 24 to 48 hours old. The lack of robust utilization of the usage data in the pilot program reflects on customers’ desire for the type of data that would be offered by AMS. Thus, based on the evidentiary record, the Commission is not convinced that customers will benefit substantially from the usage data as proposed by the Companies or that the failure to provide that data to all customers would result in inadequate service.

The Companies also claimed that AMS would benefit customers by allowing the

Companies to restore power more quickly during outages because AMS would allow them to know when a customer does not have service. The Companies currently rely on customer complaints and visual inspections to identify outages. However, there was no evidence presented in the record that would justify finding that the Companies’ current method for identifying outages results in a substantial inadequacy in service to customers.

Rather, the evidence in the record indicated that the Companies were generally providing adequate service with their existing meters and that they would continue to do so. For the reasons set forth above, the Commission finds that the Companies have not presented sufficient evidence on the record that established a substantial inadequacy of service at this time and, therefore, the Companies have not established a need for the proposed AMS.

Wasteful Duplication

The Companies similarly failed to present sufficient evidence to demonstrate that he AMS proposal would not result in wasteful duplication. As mentioned above, the remaining service lives of LG&E’s and KU’s electric meters are 17.4 years and 15.4 years, respectively. This accounts for $16.7 million and $36.2 million in undepreciated book value for LG&E and KU, respectively. Moreover, the Companies have offered no evidence into the record that indicates their current metering systems are failing to provide adequate service. Rather, the evidence indicates that the Companies are able to provide adequate service with their existing meters.

The Commission questions the soundness of the Companies’ cost-benefit nalysis, which was the Companies’ primary evidence in support of AMS. First, the NPVRR benefits calculation of $24.6 million is based on a service life in excess of 20 years, which is greater than the Companies’ asserted 20-year service life.40 Second, the Commission is not persuaded by the Companies’ assertion that the meters have a 20-year service life.

The Companies’ only evidence to support a 20-year service life of the Landis+Gyr meters is a two-word email from a sales representative that indicates a service life of “20 years.”…

The Companies offered no further evidence, explanation, or support for a 20-year service life. The Commission notes that the Companies propose to depreciate the AMS meters over 15 years, not 20 years, and that the Companies used a 15-year depreciable life in calculating the cost-benefit analysis

Even assuming all of the Companies’ other calculations and assumptions are accurate, the AMS proposal results in a net cost to customers if the meter service life is less than 20 years. The AMS proposal results in a net cost to customers of $18.1 million for an 18-year meter service life and [a net cost to customers of] $67.2 million for a 15-year meter service life.

Editor: What is the net cost to customers if the meters have a 12 year, 10 year, or less service life?

Besides the Congressional testimony, utility companies across the country are replacing meters because they fail long before their advertised service life.

It looks as if the only way any business case can be made for AMI/AMS meters, wherever they are installed, is to claim a much longer service life than what they really have.

If the two-word email is accurate and the proposed meters have a 20-year service life, the net benefit is $11 .6 million on a total capital and operations and maintenance cost of $339.9 million .

The probability of the AMS proposal having an actual net benefit of $11.6 million NPVRR, which is associated with the purported 20-year service life based on a two-word email, is too marginal and the risk to ratepayers too great to support a finding that the AMS proposal is a least-cost alternative. For the reasons discussed above, the Companies have failed to present sufficient evidence at this time to demonstrate that the AMS proposal is a least-cost alternative that will not result in wasteful duplication.”

From the Conclusion:

“…the Companies failed to provide sufficient evidence to persuade us that the AMS proposal satisfies the requirements of KRS 278.020(1) by demonstrating that the current meters are obsolete or that the benefits of the AMS proposal outweigh the costs here.”

– – – – –

The Commission denied this application “without prejudice”; these utility companies can file another application in the future. Each company currently has an “opt-in” pilot program, and the Commission increased the “opt-in” cap of 5000 residential and small commercial customers to 10,000 for each company. Duke Energy already received approval to install Smart Meters in Kentucky, so this is not a ban or moratorium.

Posts from January:

https://www.courier-journal.com/story/news/local/2018/01/03/opting-out-smart-meters-would-cost/1000201001/

https://smartmeterharm.org/2018/01/18/kentucky-utilities-try-again-to-get-approval-for-smart-meter-roll-out-attorney-general-calls-proposal-premature/

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Short video on electromagnetic sensitivity (EMS)

Electrohypersensitivity (EHS) is a commonly used term for Electromagnetic Sensitivity (EMS)

4:07
It’s time to EMF off!

A short video by Lewis Evans (https://lewisevans.net and https://cogenicamedia.com) explaining how electro-sensitivity, or EHS, is a biologically correct response to an environmental pollutant.

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Martin Pall PhD: Report on 5G, EMF effects, and the corruption of international science

From Martin Pall PhD
Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences
Washington State University

Please access my 90 page, seven chapter document on EMF effects, how they are produced in the body and the corruption of the international science:



Martin Pall

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Film ‘Take Back Your Power’ is now free to view (with subtitles)

Filmmaker Josh del Sol Beaulieu has now announced that his film ‘Take Back Your Power 2017’ is now free for the public to view. It can be seen on YouTube and on TakeBackYourPower.net.  Subtitles in Danish, French, Hebrew, Spanish, and English.

Thank you, Josh.

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Duke Energy abruptly shuts off electricity to 4 North Carolina homes for refusing Smart Meters

Posted by Citizens for Safe Metering:

4 Asheville NC Houses Have Their Power Shut Off June 28th, 2018

We never imagined this would happen. After months of sending correspondence and expressing with notarized documentation our request for the power company’s compliance to provide a safe meter, and our intent to pay in full every month, to communicate openly with them, to be in agreement with all of their requirements as long as we were not subjugated to a harmful radiation emitting digital meter, and following the clear legal steps to assure we had a safe meter, they chose to abruptly cut our power. We hope this can be resolved. We invite everyone to get involved, get educated, spread the word, share this and share with your communities that now is the time to stand together. As well, donations are deeply appreciated at this time as we have already spent much more than has come in to address the needs at our four houses to provide essential power. We have basically no time to do anything other than deal with this situation on many levels and all that it has impacted in our lives. We need generators, batteries, inverters, extension cords, replacing rotten food, doctors and lawyers fees, and general expenses since many of us are self-employed and had to put our work on the side. Thank you!

https://www.paypal.me/safemeters (click URL)

And our GoFundMe fundraiser: https://bit.ly/2KSNoqT

UPDATE:

It’s day 6 without power. It is hot. We have no A/C, and in order to power our refrigerators we need to burn a lot of gas in the generator we are borrowing. The other houses have purchased a generator with some of the donations we have received. There are so many things to be done, so many challenging moments and somewhat overwhelming situations due to the circumstances, and basic essentials all require more time and energy to figure out. Our lives have been put on hold, but we are persevering with strength and determination, and we are sincerely hoping this video will ignite a spark in those who feel this should not be happening, or to bring awareness to those that didn’t know. We deserve to protect our health and our dignity and our privacy, all of us! There is much evidence and scientific research about Smart Meters and many forms of wireless radiation we are subjugated to more and more. Get educated, tell everyone what is happening, and resolve to make the change in yourself, and to work together for what is right. If you are in Asheville, please consider creating a group of your friends and community to come together and hold a solidarity towards a powerful outcome which will protect us all, and if you’re elsewhere, do the same in your community.

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Breaking: Natural Resources Defense Council sues FCC, requests statements from members

NRDC Petition for Review

From Arthur Firstenberg

Cellular Phone Task Force

June 18, 2018

The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC)  filed a lawsuit against the FCC on May 14, 2018. NRDC is challenging the legality of the FCC’s March 30, 2018 order exempting “small wireless facilities” from environmental review.

In order for NRDC to have standing to challenge the FCC’s ruling, the NRDC needs statements from its members about the harm to them of 5G technology. The NRDC lawyers have asked me to forward this request to my email lists:

“Please share the following email address to help us identify NRDC members who might be interested in providing a statement regarding the harm from 5G technology and siting of the so-called small wireless cells needed to deploy it.  Such statements are necessary to give us standing to sue the FCC in court and invalidate the Commission’s recent action. Ideally, the individuals will need to identify specific existing, proposed or reasonably foreseeable facilities that affect where they live, go to school or areas/ communities to which they have a regular connection.”

Statements should be emailed to nrdcinfo[at]nrdc.org. Reference Case No. 18-1135 in the subject line of your email.

Time is of the essence. Initial submissions by the parties are due July 2. In addition to NRDC, ten Indian tribes are challenging the FCC’s ruling because it also exempts small wireless facilities from review under the National Historic Preservation Act. The CTIA and Sprint have intervened against NRDC and the Indian tribes and are likely to file motions to dismiss for lack of standing.

The FCC’s ruling defines “small wireless facilities” as any facilities that are up to 50 feet tall, OR do not extend more than ten percent higher than other adjacent structures, whichever is greater — OR the antennas do not extend more than ten percent higher than the structure they are mounted on. In other words, virtually NO wireless facilities (not just 5G) that are built from now on will be subject to environmental or historic preservation review. 

If you are an NRDC member and you presently live, work, go to school, or have a ‘regular connection’ at a location near any cell tower up to 50 feet tall, proposed cell tower, or foreseeable future cell tower, and you are being harmed or would be harmed by it., you qualify and can submit a statement. If you are an NRDC member and you live, work, etc., near any existing, proposed, or foreseeable cell tower of any height, so long as it is not much taller than adjacent structures, you also qualify.

Contact me if you have any questions or need help in drafting your statements for NRDC.

Arthur Firstenberg
Cellular Phone Task Force
Email: info[at]cellphonetaskforce.org
(replace [at] with @)

http://www.cellphonetaskforce,org

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Michigan: Consumers Energy spends millions to unseat 2 pro-consumer legislators, derail free analog meter bill, keep utility monopoly; report exposes lobbying front group

The Energy and Policy Institute report follows this overview article.

From Michigan Radio

by Tracy Hamilton
June 12, 2018

In the past four years, Consumers Energy gave $43 million to a political lobbying group, Citizens for Energizing Michigan’s Economy, according to research by the Energy and Policy Institute.

That’s a huge sum for a utility to spend on political activity — as much as the entire electric utility industry spent on federal campaigns since 2015.

Matt Kasper of the Energy and Policy Institute found that the lobbying group failed to disclose all of the money to the IRS.

But he says it’s clear what a lot of it’s being used for: To help elect opponents of two legislators that Consumers wants out of office — Gary Glenn and Tom Barrett.

“We almost did a double take to make sure, is this really what’s happening?” he says. “But it is.”

Both Barrett and Glenn favor competition in the energy market.  

Officers with the lobbying group did not respond to requests for interviews. The Michigan Secretary of State, which oversees campaign spending, says it has not received a complaint about Citizens for Energizing Michigan’s Economy…

From Energy and Policy Institute

The report on their website includes annual reports, tax reporting, a table of contributions, and other related docs

Consumers Energy contributed $43.5 million over four years to Citizens for Energizing Michigan’s Economy

But that’s not what Citizens for Energizing Michigan’s Economy reports on their IRS 990 – so where’s the money?

by Matt Kasper

Documents filed by Consumers Energy with the Michigan Public Service Commission show that the investor-owned utility has made over $43.5 million in political contributions to Citizens for Energizing Michigan’s Economy (CEME) since its creation four years ago. Almost half of that amount was contributed last year. Crain’s Detroit was the first to break the news of the millions of dollars that the utility has dolled out to the group.

However, CEME, a 501(c)(4) organization, reports in its annual filings with the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) for the years 2014, 2015, and 2016 that is has received only $8.5 million in revenue. Consumers Energy contributed a total of $23.5 during those years, which suggests that at least $15 million has not been reported to the IRS by the 501(c)(4) organization, and needs to be explained.

When asked to confirm the CEME funding and to explain the discrepancies between the MPSC reports and the IRS 990s, Consumers Energy spokesperson Katie Carey told the Energy and Policy Institute that their contributions to Citizens for Energizing Michigan’s Economy came from the company in the form of non-customer, shareholder dollars and can’t speak to their tax reporting.

CEME working to influence voters

CEME was created in 2014 as part of Consumers Energy and DTE Energy efforts to prevent the legislature from passing deregulation legislation. DTE Energy contributed $332,550 that year according to its filing with the MPSC but has since not detailed specific groups in the annual reports.

CEME aired misleading ads that warned of rolling blackouts if the state did deregulate, and has continued to run ads pushing back against deregulation as well as ads supporting candidates or promoting specific energy legislation.

According to the Michigan Campaign Finance Network, Citizens for Energizing Michigan’s Economy is targeting State Rep. Gary Glenn, chairman of the House Energy Policy Committee, and State Rep. Tom Barrett by promoting their competitors in the respective primary races. 

Rep. Glenn has supported restoring the old net metering rates, lifting the cap on customers that can participate in the program, and favors deregulation – all policies that would create competition with the utilities. Rep. Barrett is also on the energy committee and recently criticized the MPSC for siding with the utility industry in ruling to end the state’s net metering program.

[Reps. Glenn and Barrett are co-sponsors of House Bill 4220 which provides free analog meter choice for the public — https://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2017-2018/billintroduced/House/pdf/2017-HIB-4220.pdf ]

$43.5 million is an unmatched amount of political spending

The $43.5 million that Consumers Energy has contributed to CEME is far more than the utility has reported in other political spending. It’s over 40 times greater than the total amount of money the utility’s PAC has contributed to Michigan candidates, their total state lobbying expenditures, and is nearly 10 times larger than its federal government lobbying over the same four year period.

The company has not even spent close to that amount of money on federal campaigns. According to the Center for Responsive Politics, Consumers Energy has contributed $3.97 million in federal races since 1990.

The closest dollar figure to compare is $45.3 million, which is the total amount of money the entire electric utility industry has spent on federal campaigns since 2015.

Consumers Energy nearly faced a shareholder revolt over its political spending at its May 2018 shareholder meeting, and that was before the full extent of its funding of CEME was first reported. A shareholder resolution nearly passed with 45% support that would have required Consumers Energy to make public all of its expenditures made to influence the public. The same resolution received 36% support in 2017. Each year the board of directors recommended their shareholders reject the proposal.

CEME directors have been Consumers Energy employees

Consumers Energy spokesman recently told Crain’s Detroit that they don’t know what CEME spends its money on because it is an independent organization and was then unable to provide additional information.

However, a Consumers Energy executive was a director for the organization since its creation and other registered officers are also connected to the utility.

Since 2014, CEME’s IRS 990s list David Mengebier as the vice president. Mengebier retired in October 2017 as Consumers Energy’s senior vice president of governmental, regulatory, and public affairs, and was the president of the Consumers Energy Foundation, which means for almost four years a current utility executive was a director of CEME. Mengebier is currently CEO of the philanthropic organization, the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation.

Mengebier told the Energy and Policy Institute, “I’m no longer a member of the organization so it wouldn’t be appropriate for me to comment.”

A September 2017 document filed with the Michigan Secretary of State’s office reveals that a new officer was recently added to the organization – former Consumers Energy Vice President of Strategy and Research Ronn Rasmussen. He was also the utility’s vice president of rates and regulation for a number of years. The same document lists Mengebier as the vice president.

The IRS 990s also list Rhoda Tinkham as the organization’s secretary and treasuer. Tinkham is a Consumers Energy retiree and it is unclear what position she held, but she is the current scholarship chair of Consumers Energy’s retirees organization, The Jacksonians. She did not respond to questions about the discrepancies between the 990s and MPSC annual reports.

Howard Edelson is listed as the organization’s president. Edelson managed the utility-funded campaign to oppose the 2012 renewable energy standard ballot initiative. Consumers Energy contributed over $12 million to the campaign that year. He is currently president of the Edelson Group. He also did not respond to Energy and Policy Institute’s inquiry.

Matt Kasper is the Research Director at the Energy & Policy Institute. He focuses on defending policies that further the development of clean energy sources. He also frequently focuses on the companies and their front groups that obstruct policy solutions to global warming. Before joining the Energy & Policy Institute, Matt was a research assistant at the Center for American Progress where he worked on various state and local policy issues, including renewable energy standards. His work has appeared in The Guardian, the New York Times, the Washington Post, and other outlets.

For the full report with documents and tax filings:
http://www.energyandpolicy.org/consumers-energy-contributed-43-million-dollars-to-citizens-for-energizing-michigans-economy/

Sources:

http://michiganradio.org/post/political-spending-consumers-energy-questioned

http://www.energyandpolicy.org/consumers-energy-contributed-43-million-dollars-to-citizens-for-energizing-michigans-economy/

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