German govt. expert: Smart Meters are access points to electricity grid, hacking the grid from private homes possible

“Introducing smart meters means you install access points to the electricity grid in private homes,” said Reinhard Gruenwald, an energy expert at the Office of Technology Assessment at the German Bundestag, a scientific institution advising German lawmakers. “You can’t physically protect those. If criminals are smart enough, they may be able to manipulate them.”

Attacks on grids could cause major catastrophes globally, according to Nicholas Hanlon, project manager for critical infrastructure security at the Center for Security Policy.

“Clean water, hospitals, transportation, communications, and food storage, all depend on the electrical grid,” he said. “If the grid is down for a few days it’s no big deal. But imagine social order after two weeks.”

Imagine one or more nuclear power plant catastrophes if back-up generators don’t immediately operate at full power following a grid shutdown.

Analog electromechanical meters are not access points to the electricity grid . Why are political leaders endangering our entire society?

From Bloomberg, April 1, 2015

Turkey’s 10-Hour Blackout Shows Threat to World Power Grids

by , , and

A massive power failure that crippled life in Turkey for almost 10 hours on Tuesday highlights the threats facing electricity grids worldwide.

Turkey’s most extensive power failure in 15 years, which left people stranded in elevators and traffic snarled, wasn’t the result of a lack of electricity. The prime minister said all possible causes — including a cyber-attack — were being investigated.

While the source of the problem is still unknown, recent revelations that a 2008 oil pipeline explosion in Turkey was orchestrated via computer and the high-profile hacking last year on Sony Pictures Entertainment demonstrate the increasing ability to penetrate systems. For power grids, technology being added to make them more reliable and productive is also giving attackers an entry point into vital infrastructure.

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1971 Powell memo to U.S. Chamber of Commerce urged broad action through societal structures to “attack the (Ralph) Naders”

When attempting to stop Smart Meters and other wireless deployments in local communities and educate local officials, members of the public often find the Chamber of Commerce promoting these technologies and supporting the utility and wireless companies.

The Powell memo, written in 1971 by Lewis Powell, an influential member of the corporate legal community, said the work of consumer and environmental advocates ,such as Ralph Nader, is an attack on the “American Free Enterprise System.  He called on the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to take a more active and aggressive role in the country in promoting their interests. In his memo, he detailed the many avenues of influence the Chamber  could utilize to assert their influence.

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

The Powell Memo (also known as the Powell Manifesto)

Introduction

In 1971, Lewis Powell, then a corporate lawyer and member of the boards of 11 corporations, wrote a memo to his friend Eugene Sydnor, Jr., the Director of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. The memorandum was dated August 23, 1971, two months prior to Powell’s nomination by President Nixon to the U.S. Supreme Court.

The Powell Memo did not become available to the public until long after his confirmation to the Court. It was leaked to Jack Anderson, a liberal syndicated columnist, who stirred interest in the document when he cited it as reason to doubt Powell’s legal objectivity. Anderson cautioned that Powell “might use his position on the Supreme Court to put his ideas into practice…in behalf of business interests.”

Though Powell’s memo was not the sole influence, the Chamber and corporate activists took his advice to heart and began building a powerful array of institutions designed to shift public attitudes and beliefs over the course of years and decades. The memo influenced or inspired the creation of the Heritage Foundation, the Manhattan Institute, the Cato Institute, Citizens for a Sound Economy, Accuracy in Academe, and other powerful organizations. Their long-term focus began paying off handsomely in the 1980s, in coordination with the Reagan Administration’s “hands-off business” philosophy.

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Utilities’ profit recipe: spend more / Wall Street Journal

So long as electricity consumption is growing, utilities can spread hefty costs across their customers without increasing rates. But since 2008, power sales haven’t been growing fast enough to absorb the impact of all the added spending.

To expand regulator-imposed earnings caps, electricity producers splurge on new equipment, boosting customers’ bills

By Rebecca Smith
April 20, 2015

Families in New York are paying 40% more for electricity than they were a decade ago. Meanwhile, the cost of the main fuel used to generate electricity in the state—natural gas—has plunged 39%.

Why haven’t consumers felt the benefit of falling natural-gas prices, especially since fuel accounts for at least a quarter of a typical electric bill?

One big reason: utilities’ heavy capital spending. New York power companies poured $17 billion into new equipment—from power plants to pollution-control devices—in the past decade, a spending surge that customers have paid for.

New York utilities’ spending plans could push electricity prices up an additional 63% in the next decade, said Richard Kauffman, the former chairman of Levi Strauss & Co. who became New York’s energy czar in It’s “not a sustainable path for New York,” he said.

New York is no outlier. Capital spending has climbed at utilities nationwide—and so have their customers’ bills.

The average price of a kilowatt-hour of electricity rose 3.1% last year to12.5 cents a kilowatt-hour, far above the rate of inflation. Since 2004, U.S. residential electricity prices have jumped 39%, according to federal statistics.

Over that same period, annual capital expenditures by investor owned utility companies more than doubled—jumping to $103 billion in 2014 from $41 billion in 2004, according to the Edison Electric Institute, a trade association. The group expects total capital spending from 2003 through 2016 to top $1 trillion.

“This is the biggest splurge in capital spending we’ve seen in at least 30 years—it’s the reason rates have been going up,” said Bob Burns, an independent consultant and former energy researcher at Ohio State University.

The biggest chunk of that spending— 38% in 2013 —went into new power lines and other delivery systems, the Edison Electric Institute said. Almost as much went to generation, often for new gas-fired plants to replace coal-fired ones that don’t meet new environmental rules.

Experts say there are several reasons for soaring spending, including environmental mandates, and the need to harden the grid to protect it from storms, physical attacks and cyber hacking.

But utilities have another incentive for heavy spending: It actually boosts their bottom lines—the result of a regulatory system that turns corporate accounting on its head.

In most industries, companies generate revenue, deduct their costs, and are left with profits, which can be expressed as a percentage of revenues—the profit margin. Regulated utilities work differently.

State regulators usually set an acceptable profit margin for utilities, and then set electric rates at levels that generate enough revenue to cover their expenses and allow them to make a profit.

At the moment, it is common for utilities’ allowable profit to be capped at 10% or so of the shareholders’ equity that they have tied up in transmission lines, power plants and other assets. So the more they spend, the more profits they earn.

Critics say this can prompt utilities to spend on projects that may not be necessary, like electric-car charging stations, or to choose high cost alternatives over lower-cost ones.

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Hydro-Québec warning about propane tanks and Smart Meters

Originally posted June 2015:

FROM HYDRO-QUÉBEC:
Survey of electricity meters near propane tanks
 

Dear Customer:

Hydro-Québec has agreed with the Régie du bâtiment du Québec [Québec Building Board] to survey all of our customers’ outdoor electricity meters to ensure compliance with standards governing the minimum distance between a stationary propane tank and an electricity meter. The standards require a clearance of three metres for a Hydro-Québec next-generation meter with remote service interruption enabled. The standards apply only to permanent propane tanks connected to buildings, not mobile barbecue tanks.

Although no incidents involving propane tanks have been brought to our attention, we have decided to proceed this way because you don’t have to inform us when you install a stationary propane tank. We are conducting this survey to obtain the most up-to-date information possible. If you don’t have a next-generation meter, this check will be done when one is installed.

Along with this survey, we are conducting precise scientific tests, as agreed with the Régie du bâtiment du Québec, regarding the necessary clearance between a stationary propane tank and a meter.

Until your installation has been checked and found to be up to code, the remote service interruption feature will be deactivated. This is a feature that can be used to turn the power on or off at a customer’s request or to cut off power to a customer in collections.

All the meter’s other functions, such as remote meter reading, will remain active. The meters will continue to transmit actual electricity use data. There is no impact or risk to our customers.

Only outdoor meters will be inspected, so you will not be disturbed.

If you have a stationary propane tank and think it might be less than three metres away from your electricity meter, please call us at 1 877 234-6548,  Monday to Friday, between 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.

You can also visit our Web site: http://www.hydroquebec.com/residential.

— Hydro-Québec

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EPA appoints PG&E attorney to lead West Coast office

From AP News
February 12, 2020

The Environmental Protection Agency has named a former attorney for the nation’s largest utility to head its West Coast office, replacing the regional director ousted from the post last week.

John Busterud, who worked for Pacific Gas and Electric for three decades, will manage more than 600 staff employees and oversee environmental protection efforts across EPA’s Region 9, which includes 50 million people living in California, Nevada, Arizona, Hawaii, the Pacific Islands and tribal lands, KQED reported Tuesday.

Mike Stoker, the EPA’s regional director since 2018, said he got a call last week from senior agency officials in Washington, D.C., telling him to resign.

The change in leadership comes amid conflict between California and the federal government over environmental policy.

Among the disagreements are the Trump administration’s policies aimed at expanding domestic oil and gas production, and its rollback of environmental regulations. California, a state with robust environmental enforcement, is seeking to transition away from fossil fuels.

Busterud’s experience includes serving as a board member for the California Council for Environmental and Economic Balance, a group that represents the natural gas industry, among other types of business.

At PG&E, Busterud directed the department of the environment and real estate. He worked on issues related to air and water quality, endangered species, toxic waste and environmental policy, according to an EPA press release.

Busterud retired from the company’s law department in 2016 after serving 30 years with the utility.

Busterud said in a statement that it is an “honor and privilege” to take the position with the EPA, and that he looks forward to working with EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler. “We are committed to building on the agency’s legacy of success by providing clean and safe air, water and land for all Americans,” Busterud said.

https://apnews.com/a02bad5cf750b3551e79e538fbe4f836

Posted under Fair Use Rules.

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Be the voice for babies, kids, pets, wildlife — wireless radiation is air pollution

Used by permission
Image by Barb Payne/Information Time
catalyst4sense at gmail.com

from:

The Voice Lesson

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Electromagnetic Sensitivity page updated with Fair Housing Act information

Important information has been added to the Electromagnetic Sensitivity page about the U.S. Fair Housing Act. The section excerpted discusses the prohibition of discrimination on the basis of disability.

Notice that the rules don’t just pertain to the sale or rental of housing. It includes “other prohibited practices”, “otherwise make unavailable or deny a dwelling”, “in the provision of services or facilities in connection with such a dwelling”. It also  doesn’t just apply to those  who reside or intend to reside in a dwelling. It also  applies to “any person associated with that buyer or renter”, “any person associated with that person”.

https://www.justice.gov/crt/fair-housing-act-1

Sec. 804. [42 U.S.C. 3604] Discrimination in sale or rental of housing and other prohibited practices As made applicable by section 803 of this title and except as exempted by sections 803(b) and 807 of this title, it shall be unlawful–
(f)

(1) To discriminate in the sale or rental, or to otherwise make unavailable or deny, a dwelling to any buyer or renter because of a handicap of–

(A) that buyer or renter,
(B) a person residing in or intending to reside in that dwelling after it is so sold, rented, or made available; or
(C) any person associated with that buyer or renter.

(2) To discriminate against any person in the terms, conditions, or privileges of sale or rental of a dwelling, or in the provision of services or facilities in connection with such dwelling, because of a handicap of–

(A) that person; or
(B) a person residing in or intending to reside in that dwelling after it is so sold, rented, or made available; or
(C) any person associated with that person.

(3) For purposes of this subsection, discrimination includes–

(B) a refusal to make reasonable accommodations in rules, policies, practices, or services, when such accommodations may be necessary to afford such person equal opportunity to use and enjoy a dwelling;

Added to Essential Resources — United States

Fair Housing Act
https://www.justice.gov/crt/fair-housing-act-1

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