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.

Signed printed copies are available for a $75. donation each (within the U.S.; add $20. for shipping outside the U.S.).

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Washington UTC: Utilities must offer an opt-out to residential customers

It is the commission’s responsibility to ensure regulated companies provide safe and reliable service to customers at reasonable rates”

On April 10, 2018, the Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission issued a formal policy statement that residential customers must be offered an opt-out option. However, the UTC is not  allowing commercial customers to opt-out.

Discussed in the statement was an “opt-in” policy versus and “opt-out” policy, but the UTC stated that it gave weight to utility companies and the “benefits” of AMI in its decision to go with an opt-out. The statement hints that the opt-out may be a temporary measure.

The UTC views the customer wishing to opt-out as the cost causer, in line with utility company views, though it does offer a less harsh approach to assessing fees than some other states. However, it does not offer any alternative to those who are disabled by electromagnetic sensitivities or to those who want to retain their analog meters due to the health hazards of Smart Meters. There is only one blanket policy, and there is no “choice” for the disabled or for those wanting to protect their health, safety, or privacy.

Utilities have to come back to the UTC with their individual AMI project proposals and the tariff for an opt-out program. However, the UTC does allow utilities to seek exemption from any requirement in their policy statement including, presumably, the opt-out itself.

Note: The UTC promotes remote service disconnection by calling it “instant service reconnection“. There is quite a bit of “spin” language in the statement.

Proceeding U-180117

Policy and Interpretive Statement on Customer Choice for Advanced Meter Installation

Press release:
UTC: Utilities must offer customers an opt-out from advanced meter installation
4/10/18

Media Contact: (360) 664-1116 or media@utc.wa.gov
Docket Number: U-180117

UTC: Utilities must offer customers an opt-out from advanced meter installation
Advanced meter technologies are part of grid modernization efforts

OLYMPIA, Wash. – State regulators today issued a formal policy statement guiding Washington’s investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities in the rollout of advanced metering technologies, or “smart meters,” for residential customers.

The Washington Utilities and Transportation Commission determined companies will need to offer residential customers the ability to opt out of advanced meter installation to address customer concerns over the implementation of advanced meter technology.

The commission also stated its preference that companies allow opt-out customers to retain their existing meters, rather than requiring an immediate switch from analog to digital, non-communicative meters.

As the implementation of advanced meter technologies progresses in Washington, the commission will develop explicit requirements for protecting consumer information as well as necessary rule changes for company operations in upcoming workshops and rulemakings. This process will continue through 2018.

Recent federal legislation has supported the development of a modernized smart grid and has encouraged states and utilities to prepare for future energy demands. Advanced meters gather customer usage data through two-way communication between the meter and a utility and are critical to smart grid investment.

Advanced meters may provide automated customer outage detection, energy consumption alerts, and instant service reconnection, but advanced meter technology has sparked public concern over safety, privacy, cyber security, and customer billing.

In its policy statement the commission expresses its preference that companies minimize opt-out charges to remove any disincentive for customers to select their preferred meter option. 

The UTC policy statement also encourages utilities to develop billing practices that take into account low-income customer impacts among other customer concerns.

All opt-out programs must be approved by the commission prior to a utility installing any advanced meters in its Washington service territory.

In the policy statement, the commission also encourages utilities to communicate to customers the benefits of various opt-out meter options, such as replacing an analog meter with a non-communicating digital meter, to allow customers to choose the best option for their needs.

The policy statement is the result of several months of investigation by the UTC. The process began in February, when commission staff began accepting comments regarding customer choice for meter installation. Over the course of the investigation, the commission conducted a public workshop on customer choice policies for deployment of advanced meter technologies and took comments from the utilities and other stakeholders.

The UTC regulates the private, investor-owned electric utilities in Washington. It is the commission’s responsibility to ensure regulated companies provide safe and reliable service to customers at reasonable rates, while allowing them the opportunity to earn a fair profit.

###

UTC press release:
https://www.utc.wa.gov/aboutUs/Lists/News/DispForm.aspx?ID=518

UTC statement:
https://www.utc.wa.gov/_layouts/15/CasesPublicWebsite/GetDocument.ashx?docID=149&year=2018&docketNumber=180117

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Breaking: New Mexico rejects PNM Smart Meter proposal — “it does not promote the public interest”

April 11, 2018

“The  plan presented in the Application does not provide a net public benefit and it does not promote the public interest.”
— New Mexico Public Regulation Commission,
April 11, 2018

Recommended Decision 3-19-18
Final Decision, 4-11-18

Case No. 15-00312-UT

Today, the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission denied Public Service Company of New Mexico’s  (PNM) application in install Smart Meters. In doing so, it adopted the Hearing Examiner’s Recommended Decision in its entirety.

From Hearing Examiner recommendations – Summary, p. 71-74

“The primary purpose of PNM’s project is cost savings. PNM’s proposal focuses on the elimination of 125 meter reading jobs, faster disconnections of late- and non-paying customers, and increased revenues by preventing tampering and diversion of service.

PNM designed its project without public input and without examining alternatives. Not surprisingly, all of the eight non-PNM parties oppose PNM’s requests.

PNM also emphasizes that the project is discretionary. PNM states that the project is not needed to provide adequate service or to comply with any Commission rules or other regulatory requirements. As a result, PNM will proceed with the project only if the Commission approves it on PNM’s terms in their entirety and without modification.

PNM cites no statute as direct authority for the approvals it requests and cites no direct authority for the standards the Commission should apply to its requests. PNM argues that the approval should be issued on the basis of its claim that the project’s benefits will exceed its costs over the 20 year estimated life of the meters.

The non-PNM parties in this case include advocates of residential, industrial, municipal, environmental, health and public interests. They include the AG, the City of Albuquerque, CCAE, CFRE, NMIEC, NMUS, WRA and Staff. All question the legal authority for PNM’s requests for approval of the project outside a CCN proceeding and for approval of advance ratemaking treatment. Most support the benefits that can potentially be achieved with smart meters, but they complain about the narrow focus of PNM’s plan, its cost, its unfair balancing of investor and ratepayer interests, and its inflexibility in addressing the concerns of PNM’s customers. They ask that PNN come back with a better plan, after obtaining input from the public.

The primary justification PNM offers for the project is the net savings it says the project would produce for ratepayers. PNM acknowledges that the immediate impact would be rate increases. But it says that, over the 20 year expected life of the AMI meters, it would eventually produce savings.

The non-PNM parties disagree with PNM’s savings estimates. They agree that the immediate impact would be rate increases, but they say the lifetime savings would not occur.

They recommend rejection, because they do not see any benefits sufficient to compensate for the rate increases. The non-PNM parties show that the immediate result of PNM’s $121.5 million plan would be rate increases (at least $5.9 million per year after the meters have been installed), that PNM’s projections of long-term savings are uncertain and that PNM ratepayers would likely pay more over 20 years with AMI meters than the existing non-AMI meters.

The terms of PNM’s plan include full cost recovery of the $95 .1 million cost of the new AMI meters, $24.9 million for PNM’s existing non-AMI meters that will be replaced and will no longer be serving customers, and $1.5 million in PNM’s customer education costs. In addition, while ratepayers would be paying more, PNM’s shareholders would earn a $42.8 million pre-tax return on the new AMI meters, a $11.0 million pre-tax return on the non-AMI meters that will be replaced, and a $183,000 pre-tax return on PNM’s customer education costs.

The Hearing Examiner agrees with the non-PNM parties that the plan does not fairly  balance the interests of investors and ratepayers. Ratepayers should not bear 100% of the risk that PNM’s savings predictions will occur, while shareholders earn an additional return on the new investment and continue to earn a return on the replaced investment. In addition, the prudence of the $95 .1 million capital cost of the project is questionable, given the $6.2 million cost increase resulting from PNM’s re-bidding of the installation portion of the project. PNM re bid the installation work because the contractor it initially selected violated New Mexico’s contractor license requirements.

Further, PNM’s proposed $42.72 per month opt-out fee is too high. Several of the non PNM parties have raised concerns about the health impacts, safety, and security of the AMI meters. While PNM contests the validity of the concerns and PNM’s plan allows customers who have such concerns to choose not to receive an AMI meter, the magnitude of the monthly opt-out fee is too high to provide customers with a meaningful choice.

As a discretionary project, the timing is also not good. PNM hopes to achieve its predicted savings largely by laying off 125 employees who perform meter reading and related functions. In addition, PNM ratepayers have experienced a recent series of rate increases — an increase in October 2017 and an increase effective in February of this year. Further rate increases also appear to be on the horizon as PNM seeks unrecovered costs of coal plants that it plans to retire and new generating resources to replace them.

To be clear, the Hearing Examiner is not recommending that PNM be prohibited from adopting an AMI project. The recommendation is that PNM’s AMI project not be approved at this time in its current form. PNM should engage in the planning process it told the Commission in 2012 was necessary for a project of such a scope. The planning process should examine reasonable alternatives and solicit public input to develop a plan that fairly addresses the needs of its customers and its service territory.”

Reasons for recommendations include:

  • No net public benefit, no evaluation of alternatives and the public interest
  • PNM’s unlicensed contractor and PNM’s repeated inability to accurately specify the qualifications required for a contractor
  • The uncertainty of savings for ratepayers: imminent rate increases, the risk that lifetime costs will exceed savings
  • Disproportionate benefits for investors: elimination of financial risks for investors, immediate increase in investor earnings, PNM’s requests that the Commission find the AMI capital costs and expenses are reasonable and prudent, full recovery of undepreciated costs and customer education costs as regulatory assets
  • Discretionary project — insufficient demonstration of need and no plans to use AMI for energy efficiency
  • Opt-out fees do not provide meaningful opportunity to opt-out: unreasonableness of fees , health concerns, safety concerns
  • Job losses
  • Recent and future rate increases

Excerpts:

p. 81 PNM’s 2012 report on advanced metering recognized the need for public input and a detailed implementation plan before coming to the Commission for approval of a project. PNM has not adopted that approach here.

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California: Alameda resident arrested for blocking installation of Smart Meters

See also Press release.

From the  Alameda Sun

Smart Meter Activist Arrested for Blockage

April 3, 2018
by  Ekene Ikeme

Alameda police officers arrested an Alameda resident after he allegedly tried blocking the installation of Alameda Municipal Power’s (AMP) new smart meters at an apartment building Thursday, March 29.

Alameda resident Christopher Rabe was arrested at 10:30 a.m., according to Alameda Police Department (APD) reports. The incident took place at the apartment building on the 2200 block of Pacific Avenue where Rabe, 39, is a tenant. 

[Editor: According to the press release from Stop Smart Meters, there is a bank of 13 electric meters on his children’s bedroom wall. AMP was attempting to install Smart Meters there. During his detention, AMP installed 5 Smart Meters on their wall.]

Workers from Professional Meters, Inc., which AMP hired to conduct the smart electric meter installations, were attempting to install AMP’s new meters at the apartment building. At the residence the workers noticed Rabe was blocking the grid where the meters would be installed. He had also wrapped a chain around his meter. 

Even though Rabe opted out of the program, restricting access to the electric meter is against the law. Per the terms of AMP’s Rules & Regulations, customers may not obstruct access to metering equipment and the utility has the right to remove any obstructions. Rabe was taken to an Oakland jail and released after posting bond.

[Editor: Mr. Rabe was held for 10 hours.]

The workers were to install five meters at the building, four to residences and one for a commercial meter for the common areas in the building. Some of the other residents chose to opt out of the new smart meter program and continue with their old meters. 

Rabe has been in an ongoing battle with AMP over its new smart meters (“New Smart Meters Raise Radiation Concerns,” Nov. 23, 2017). He believes the radio-frequency (RF) levels of the new meters are higher than AMP suggests. He expressed his concerns to AMP in a letter he sent them last year. He also posted a video to Youtube where he used his own RF meter to monitor RF wave transmissions from several smart meters around Alameda last year. In the videos, Rabe stands in front of a smart meter and analyzes how many times his RF meter picks up pulsed microbursts of RF radiation. In the video Rabe believes one smart meter transmits more than 9,000 times per day. 

However, according to AMP’s website, the smart meters, which are manufactured by Landis & Gyr, a worldwide smart meter and smart grid manufacturing company, emit about 83 seconds of RF frequency waves per day. This comes from 270 maintenance and 1,440 sync transmissions per day.

[Editor: PG&E uses Landis & Gyr Smart Meters. In a statement filed with the California Public Utilities Commission, PG&E stated these meters transmit pulses  over 14,000 (mean average) to 190,000 times every day — p. 3-5 and footnote #4.] 

Calls to the Alameda County District Attorney’s office to determine what charges Rabe will face were not returned as of Tuesday.

https://alamedasun.com/news/smart-meter-activist-arrested-blockage

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

Press release:

https://chrisrabe.wordpress.com/2018/04/03/alameda-p-d-arrest-man-for-refusing-microwave-pulsing-meters-on-his-kids-bedroom-wall/ 

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Democracy Now interview on Nation investigation 4/5/18, Part 2: How Big Wireless war-gamed the science on risks, while making customers addicted to their phones (VIDEO)

“…they were told 20 years ago that this could cause cancer in kids, and they kept doing it. Think about that. Think about that.”
— Mark Hertsgaard

From Democracy Now

April 5, 2018
Video at above link.

Guests:  Mark Hertsgaard, Environment correspondent and investigative editor for The Nation
Article: “How Big Wireless Made Us Think That Cell Phones Are Safe”

We continue our conversation with Mark Hertsgaard, The Nation’s environment correspondent and investigative editor, who co-authored a major new exposé, “How Big Wireless Made Us Think That Cell Phones Are Safe.” He discusses how wireless companies “war-gamed the science” by funding friendly studies and attacking critical ones; the potential dangers of the pending expansion of 5G with the “internet of things”; the role of the telecommunications industry officials turned federal regulators; and how companies deliberately addicted customers to this technology through the addition of social media.


Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!The War and Peace Report, with this web exclusive. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: We turn now to Part 2 of our look at a new investigation by The Nation headlined “How Big Wireless Made Us Think That Cell Phones Are Safe.” It reveals how cellphones were first marketed to U.S. consumers in the 1980s without any government safety testing. Then, a decade later, one of the industry’s own hand-picked researchers, George Carlo, reportedly told top company officials, including leaders of Apple, AT&T and Motorola, that some industry-commissioned studies raised serious questions about cellphone safety. On October 7th, 1999, Carlo sent letters to industry CEOs urging them to give consumers, quote, “the information they need to make an informed judgment about how much of this unknown risk they wish to assume.” Instead, the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association reportedly tried to discredit Carlo’s findings, and had him physically removed from its premises during its annual conference in February 2000.

AMY GOODMAN: The Nation investigation notes Carlo’s story “evokes eerie parallels with two of the most notorious cases of corporate deception on record: the campaigns by the tobacco and fossil-fuel industries to obscure the dangers of smoking and climate change, respectively.”

For more, we continue with our interview with one of the authors of the new investigation, Mark Hertsgaard, The Nation’s environment correspondent and investigative editor.

So, Mark Hertsgaard, if you could reiterate, at this point, in 2018, as you evaluate the science or talk to the scientists who are evaluating it, what do you think is of most concern about cellphones? And then talk about ways to mitigate your—the effects of cellphones.

MARK HERTSGAARD: Sure. I want to emphasize I’m not a scientist. I’m a journalist and an author. But we talked to a lot of scientists. And our story does not say whether cellphones are safe or not. We looked at the industry disinformation and propaganda campaign that for the past 25 years has been convincing the public that these cellphones are safe.

And the way they’ve done that is to war-game the science, as they put it in an internal memo from Motorola. They’ve funded their friendly scientists. They’ve attacked critical science, independent science. They’ve put their own people onto advisory boards. All that said, that’s resulted in, I think, the message coming across from the mainstream media, frankly, that cellphones are safe enough, shall we say?

However, that point of view took a major hit just last week, the night before we released our story. There was a peer review by independent scientists of the biggest study that the United States government has had to date on cellphone radiation. This was a study by the U.S. National Toxicology Program, that’s part of the National Institutes of Health. The study was commissioned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. And it released some preliminary findings in February, and then those findings were peer-reviewed by independent scientists last week. And those independent scientists finally concluded that there was, quote, “clear evidence,” unquote, “clear evidence” that cellphone radiation can cause cancers.

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Democracy Now interview on Nation investigation 4/5/18: Part 1 — How the Wireless Industry convinced the public that cellphones are safe & cherry-picked research on risks (VIDEO)

From Democracy Now

April 5, 2018

Video at link above.

Guests:  Mark Hertsgaard, Environment correspondent and investigative editor for The Nation
Article: “How Big Wireless Made Us Think That Cell Phones Are Safe”

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman, with Nermeen Shaikh.

NERMEEN SHAIKH: Ninety-five out of every 100 American adults owns a cellphone today. And worldwide, three out of four adults now have cellphone access. The wireless industry is one of the fastest-growing on Earth, raking in annual sales of $440 billion in 2016.

But are cellphones safe? Well, a new investigation by The Nation suggests that’s a question that cellphone giants prefer you don’t ask. The article, by journalists Mark Hertsgaard and Mark Dowie, is headlined “How Big Wireless Made Us Think That Cell Phones Are Safe.”

The article notes that cellphones were first marketed to U.S. consumers in the 1980s without any government safety testing. Then, a decade later, one of the industry’s own hand-picked researchers, George Carlo, reportedly told top company officials, including leaders of Apple, AT&T and Motorola, that some industry-commissioned studies raised serious questions about cellphone safety. On October 7th, 1999, Carlo sent letters to industry CEOs urging them to give consumers, quote, “the information they need to make an informed judgment about how much of this unknown risk they wish to assume.” Instead, the Cellular Telecommunications and Internet Association reportedly tried to discredit Carlo’s findings, and had him physically removed from its premises during its annual conference in February 2000.

AMY GOODMAN: The Nation magazine investigation notes Carlo’s story “evokes eerie parallels with two of the most notorious cases of corporate deception on record: the campaigns by the tobacco and fossil-fuel industries to obscure the dangers of smoking and climate change, respectively.”

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Nation: How Big Wireless made us think that cell phones are safe: a special investigation

Front page article in April 23, 2018 issue Nation magazine. Includes information on Internet of Things (IoT).

https://www.thenation.com/article/how-big-wireless-made-us-think-that-cell-phones-are-safe-a-special-investigation/

How Big Wireless Made Us Think That Cell Phones Are Safe: A Special Investigation

The disinformation campaign – and massive radiation increase – behind the 5G rollout

by Mark Hertsgaard and Mark Dowie

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Arizona: APS and police threaten to arrest physician for refusing Smart Meters on office building

She had already been granted a medical exemption for her office.

From Dr. Deborah Dykema, The Wellness Center 

A TRUE STORY

YOUR DOCTOR’S PRACTICE
DISRUPTED BY APS WHO THREATENED TO PLACE ME IN JAIL
FOR REFUSAL OF “SMART METERS”

Dear Patients

On Thursday, March 1, 2018, at approximately 10:00 am Arizona Public Service (APS) came to my office without warning while I was seeing patients and threatened to have me placed in jail if I did not allow them to immediately install a cluster of 3 “smart meters” in very close proximity to where I work and see patients 14 hours daily 5-6 days per week. APS called the police when I refused installation and 2 police officers including a sergeant arrived and threatened to arrest me under statute 40-431.

I repeatedly asked the APS supervisor that this matter be discussed at a time that would not keep my sick patients waiting, and they refused, which stopped my ability to see patients with scheduled appointments for nearly 90 minutes. I had several patients that waited 90 minutes and several patients who left the office unable to be seen due to their disruption. 

I explained to APS that I personally have experienced serious health problems with a smart meter at my home that had to be removed. For this reason, I was granted a medical exemption for my office when I purchased the building 6 years ago. At that time they placed non-transmitting digital meters, which are currently working fine and they have access to. I explained that my business is taking care of many patients with extreme chemical and electrical sensitivities and the room where I care for these patients is literally 3 feet away from where they would place these 3 “smart meters”. They still refused. This standoff continued outside my building in full view of many of my patients. The police who had threatened me with arrest were on the phone and received approval from their legal department to arrest me under AS 40-431, even though I know now that this statute only applies to blocking the reading of the meters, which I was not, and does not apply to exchanging meters. 

The police stated now that they had legal approval to arrest me. I was certain I was going to have to go to jail to protect my health and the health of my patients and asked my receptionist to contact the media to film this tragedy. Shortly after that, APS finally backed down and stated they would send their installation crew away.

I am still in shock. That a law-abiding citizen and business owner just trying to take care of patients would have their business stopped by a powerful power monopoly without warning, that the police would threaten to arrest me at the monopoly’s insistence citing a statute that does not apply, that I do not have the right in my own building to protect my health and the health of my patients and employees. Has it really gone this far? Do we actually live in a police state where the health rights of individuals do not matter?

I am still in the process of letting the reality of this incident sink in.
I am certain APS will be back.

For those who have any suggestions on handling this particular situation, please contact me as I am new to being an outlaw.

Dr Deborah L Dykema 
Board Certified Physician
Business Owner
Delivering Healthy Healing in the Valley
For over 37 years

Smart Meters have been linked to multiple health issues including sleep problems, headaches, anxiety, heart palpitations, tinnitus, memory, immune and hormonal disruptions. For those who would like more information on electrical sensitivity, electro-smog and the health and other hazards of “smart meters” …

Smart Meters Effect on the Brain and Health 11m

Dr Laura Pressley, Ph.D. on Smart Meters 13m

Watch Take Back your Power 1h41m
or get the 
DVD

Warren Woodward, Sedona Smart Meter Awareness 16m

Electomagnetic Health Issues

Smart Meter Information

Stop Smart Meters Org

The information presented on this Blog and any related links is provided for educational, informational, and entertainment purposes only. You must never consider any of the information presented here as a substitute for consulting with a physician or health care provider for any medical conditions or concerns. Any information presented here is general information, is not medical advice, nor is it intended as advice for your personal situation. Please consult with Dr Dykema if you have concerns about your health or suspect that you might have a problem.

https://www.drdykema.com/smart_meter.php

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