Archive for April, 2014

Opt out fees being contested.

Posted: April 30, 2014 in Uncategorized

Many states that have heavy opt out fees for smart meter customers are seeing bills introduced into their legislatures to get those fees thrown out. In a letter to us Smitty Pignatelli said opting out could be facilitated by simply calling the power company. He never mentioned any fees.

Some current opt out fees in states with smart meters:

CA  $75 initial plus 10/mo
ME was $12… bill will reduce to zero
NV  $110 plus 15/mo
FL $95 plus 13/mo
GA  zero
MD $75 + 11/mo bill would reduce to zero
VT $10 bill would reduce to zero

Headline from utility website: How To Stop Smart Meter Opt-out Mandates.
Obviously the power companies see these opts outs as a cash cow for them.

MA Bill H.2926 to allow opt outs at no cost was introduced by Rep. Thomas Conroy on June 18, 2013 but died in committee.

Is this you? Most I know would rather cut back power usage on their own instead of paying more to the electric company. A recent study found that Americans are willing to pay more for electricity if it means that it comes from cleaner sources, according to a study in Nature Climate Change. The researchers found that the average household would pay $162 more annually, or 13 percent, to support 80 percent clean energy (not including natural gas and nuclear) by 2035.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities (DPU) has issued an order that will require the state’s major utilities to submit a 10-year grid modernization plan (GMP) by summer 2014 that includes smart metering with advanced functionality such as outage detection and restoration, smart appliance communication and control, and power quality support, and voltage reduction. [Note that National Grid’s pilot results will not meet this deadline as the pilot installation hasn’t yet been completed]

To speed up the smart meter program, in January of this year, Governor Patrick announced that the state will pour millions of dollars into “demand response systems” that will advance a mandate to install wireless so-called “smart meters” in Massachusetts.

The federal government has set goals for states and utilities to upgrade their electrical grids, and has awarded $4.5 billion in grants to encourage this.  However, the federal government does not mandate the installation of smart meters, or even wireless smart meters.

On February 1, 2011, press officer Thomas Welch of the U.S. Department of Energy press officer responded to questions about whether the federal government has made the installation of wireless smart meters mandatory.  He wrote:

No.  The Federal government, including DOE, does not have any role in regulating the installation of smart meters, nor does it have a policy about the mandatory adoption of smart meters.

THERE IS NO FEDERAL SECURITY MANDATE FOR SMART METERS, according to George W. Arnold the national coordinator for smart-grid interoperability at the National Institute of Standards and Technology. This agency of the U.S.  Department of Commerce is said not to be involved in regulations but is only tasked with promoting standards among industries.

While both the 2005 and 2007 energy bills were codified into public laws, NO part of them creates a federal law pertaining to individual consumers or dictating that the public must be forced to comply with provisions of SMART Grid.

Contrary to the bleating of manufacturers and utility talking heads,  who claim there is no “opt out”, the fact is you, the consumer must be offered the meter, or request a meter and “OPT IN”.  No one can be forced to comply with an unrevealed contract between private corporations, and to which you were never a party and had no knowledge of.

Massachusetts has approximately three and a half million electricity customers, the vast majority of which are served by an investor-owned utility. NStar, which serves most of the greater Boston area and National Grid (NGG) are the state’s largest utilities. NStar’s pilot results determined the utilities response that there is no rational basis for smart meter program going forward. National Grid hasn’t completed installation of its pilot so no data is available.

Northeast Utilities (NSTAR Electric, Western MA Electric) analysis of their Smart Grid pilot (3000 users) completed in 2013 – in brief:

• There is no cost justification that can support the implementation of smart meters

• Smart meters do not reduce the number of outages

• Smart metering systems are not necessary to integrate distributed resources (solar & wind)

• Smart meters introduce a brand new portal into (our) information systems, significantly increasing the cybersecurity risk.

• There are cheaper alternatives

• Smart meters do not reduce voltage use

• Smart grid price tag could go over 1 Billion all of which is to be borne by customers

• Limited customer support for time-varying rates

Read full report: NSTAR_R12-76-Comments-7986-POSTED01172014_HIGHLIGHTED

Ocean City MD new poles

Posted: April 28, 2014 in Uncategorized

Wonder if our power company will be using these types of replacement poles in our town….take a lot of space on the ground too. Much bigger than current telephone poles. Easy to put smart grid on them…  just wondering…

These were replacements for the current poles on the main drag in Ocean City MD…. residents are not happy and wondering if they are rust proof.

ocean city md poles

District 5 Councilor Gary Rosen, who requested the Worcester delay, said National Grid would do the city and its residents well by “slowing down” the program so the council and city officials could have time to further look into issues that have been raised.  “National Grid should slow down the program,” Mr. Rosen said.  “It’s like when you go back to the old mines, the canary in the mines.  If they [the miners] looked over and the canary was dead, they knew there was something wrong.  We’ve got some guinea pigs in this system already.  People are saying smart meters are causing health issues.  Do what’s right and look at all the concerns that people have.  Take a year off.  You are trying to ram this down our throats.”

This is the why we want the Sheffield moratorium…. to find answers to the outlying questions before implementation rather than after. We don’t want to be guinea pigs. Let’s get time so the concerns can be addressed properly.


CT Grid Hacked

Posted: April 24, 2014 in Uncategorized

Another reason for the utilities to raise our rates.  Electric, natural gas and major water companies and regional distribution systems in Connecticut have been penetrated by hackers and other cyber attackers, but defenses have prevented interruption, state utility regulators said Monday in their first report on cyber security. 

Security challenges are constantly evolving and “becoming more sophisticated and nefarious” and the ability of utilities to detect and stop penetration must constantly improve, the Public Utilities Regulatory Authority said in its report to Gov. Dannel P. Malloy. Regulators hinted at higher costs to beef up security. The possibility of cyber attacks raises the issue of “appropriateness of cost for cyber defense,” the report said. 

ed: And if the smart meter installation grows in MA new cyber defense systems will have to be created and guess who will pay that bill?


WORCESTER — A City Council subcommittee is calling for a one-year postponement in National Grid’s “smart grid” pilot program.

The three-member Public Service and Transportation Committee unanimously voted Wednesday night to ask National Grid, the state Department of Public Utilities and the city Zoning Board of Appeals to consider a one-year delay in the installation of any more smart meters and the construction of any communications towers associated with the program.

National Grid is scheduled to go before the Zoning Board of Appeals on May 5 for two petitions in which it is seeking zoning relief to erect a specialized communications tower at one of two sites in the Tatnuck Square area as part of the smart grid pilot program.

More than 35 people attended the committee hearing, with several voicing concerns about the smart grid program.

Their concerns focused on the impact to public health, privacy and security. People in the Tory Fort Lane area also objected to the siting of the proposed 80-foot-high communications towers, with a 10-foot-high antenna atop it, at the Cooks Pond substation.

Councilor-at-Large Morris A. Bergman said he fears the cost of the pilot program will lead to higher electricity costs for Worcester residents. That, in turn, will make Worcester a less attractive place for people to live.

“What bothers me is that we’re being subjected to (the smart grid program) in Worcester and that isn’t the case in other communities,” Mr. Bergman said. “We seem to be a guinea pig for a program that no one knows what the end result will be.”