Posts Tagged ‘MA DPU and smart meters’

Comment by 4/20 by Patricia Burke  re: Smart Meter Pilot Cost Overruns

April 20 is the deadline for comments to the Department of Public Utilities regarding surcharging ratepayers $15M for cost overruns for the $45M Worcester smart meter pilot.

National Grid’s pilot did not include health monitoring, but featured safety testimony from a tobacco scientist.  In Arizona’s current utility rate case, Dr. Sam Milham M.D. M.P.H. stated,  “It is my professional opinion that smart meters are a public health hazard.”

 

Expert testimony indicates that electrical noise due to the switch mode power and radio frequency transmissions being conducted along house wiring and re-radiated into the home are causing biological harm.  Sleep deprivation (recognized by the UN as torture) is a primary health complaint associated with smart meters.

 

As reported by Lynne Weycherly in the Ecologist, “they emit as many as 14,000 short bursts of intense microwave radiation a day, disrupting cellular electrochemistry and causing health symptoms from migraine to tinnitus, insomnia, dizziness, anxiety, chest pain, palpitations and memory loss.”

 

Michigan’s Senator Colbeck testified that smart meters are at risk from EMPs (electromagnetic pulses), fires, and hacking due to: no surge protection, no conducted emissions filters, no circuit breaker between the meter and power source, and the cyber security “back door.” He endorses analogues.

 

Ratepayers should not be on the hook for excessive costs. Instead, the pilot should be investigated for violating prohibitions on human experimentation without informed consent, misrepresentation, and as a case study in misguided decision-based evidence-making that manipulated community consent. Be heard. Please comment.

http://170.63.40.34/DPU/FileRoomAPI/api/Attachments/Get/?path=17-53%2fOrder_of_Notice.pdf

Watch the part about smart meters and why its bad to sign the opt out contract for not wanting the utility company to install a smart meter.
Published on Aug 8, 2016

The “Opt-Out” contract IS A SCAM! This video presents detailed info how to more effectively refuse and challenge harmful and illegal programs which attempt to force you to accept dangerous policies such as vaccinations and spying/transmitting utility meters. This video goes into detail to present your legal options and explain the powerful free documents at FreedomTaker.com which are designed to put the authority back in your hands.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZIELtYIsbD4

Eversource Energy, National Grid and Unitil have filed proposals in response to a requirement that they file grid modernization plans to reduce the effects of power outages, optimize demand — including reducing system and customer costs — integrate distributed resources and improve workforce and asset management.

National Grid presented the DPU with four five-year options that range from $225.3 million to $830.5 million, and up to $1.3 billion over ten years. The more expensive options include providing the company’s 1.3 million customers with smart meters.

So how do they recoup the 1.3 billion….. guess who gets higher electric bills even when they claim this saves energy…. so your meter reading goes down but the base rate skyrockets so what benefit it is to us, the customer?

The claim that smart meters were necessary to integrate renewables into the grid went off the rails when Arizona utilities began to alter the compensation formula for solar producers. Arizona saw a decrease in applications for rooftop solar when utilities started charging producers up to $50 per month in some areas for the privilege of selling electricity back to the grid. States, including Massachusetts, are engaged in net metering battles with caps on rooftop solar installation and compensation formulas that reward utilities, enabled by smart meter time of use billing capabilities. Regulators, politicians, and industries in many states have favored large utility-scale solar farms, rather than the efficiency of decentralized rooftop installations with on-site storage.

National Grid, Worcester, the state Legislature, and then-Gov. Deval Patrick’s administration came to the rescue for smart grid green-washing charges by planning a “sustainability” smart meter pilot that would conclude that a well-educated community with leading academic partners, a solar-powered car wash, and a wind turbine would welcome the opportunity to alter electricity consumption behavior in response to data provided by wireless smart meters.

To ensure the pilot’s success, the state DPU also allowed the utility to replace each opt-out with another customer meter installation. This accommodation altered any possibility of research validity because the pool of participants is skewed toward those who support the program’s goals. The fact that National Grid has its own employees or others who will benefit from smart meter deployment in the pilot further erodes credibility. National Grid recently recommended other deployments seek “easy installs,” which includes employees and early adopters of new technology, but Massachusetts ratepayers probably did not need to pay $48 million for this conclusion.

The DPU covertly granted the Worcester pilot a sweetheart deal similar to Illinois, by allowing the utility to wait more than two years until January of 2015 to launch the pilot, with no accounting for cost overruns or recognition of citizen opposition. Meanwhile, the DPU mandated smart meters for statewide deployment.

Despite the mantra that customers “wanted more information about their electricity usage” so that they could make better decisions,” the need for “better decisions” by consumers is the direct result of punitive time-of-use rate structures planned for Massachusetts and elsewhere.

National Grid employed a career tobacco mercenary scientist to mislead the Worcester Zoning Board on the safety of the wireless network. Peter Valberg also testified for the DPU to negate health concerns and justify the mandate the same week he testified for Phillip Morris cigarettes.

Worcester’s Health Department followed suit with its own health report that mischaracterized the BioInitiative Report summary of research showing biological harm. The Worcester report quoted a local engineering professor who received funding for grid research and who has no health expertise. It was partially sourced from Wikipedia. Citizen concerns over property values were also negated by the city assessor’s report.

Had the Worcester pilot not been an exercise in decision-based evidence making, it might have already proven that smart meters are not a reasonable investment, that they are not safe, that they invade privacy, and that they are neither secure nor green.

The decision by the DPU to create a smart meter mandate without waiting for the results of the Worcester pilot, and on the basis of fraudulent health claims partly based on the testimony of a career tobacco scientist, leads to the question: “Is the Green Communities Act responsible stewardship or racketeering?”

Recognition is dawning that the environmental and health consequences of technologies being deployed ostensibly to address the health and environmental consequences of fossil fuels are driven by the market, with no true regard for the environment or health.

Three years ago, Worcester residents asked for a public hearing concerning the smart meter pilot where they could ask questions that National Grid would be required to answer. Four city councilors – Konnie Lukes, Gary Rosen, Michael Gaffney and Moe Bergman – attempted to advocate for constituents. The ruling by unsung hero Worcester Solicitor David Moore prevented National Grid from overriding zoning ordinances for tower installations.

Career tobacco scientists thrive in environments where there is an inadequate system of checks and balances. History will have a difficult time understanding how so many people could have been duped for so long by the masquerading of green. Now it’s time for a both a moratorium and an investigation of the pilot, the DPU as an agency, and the Green Communities Act.

Stretching the truth a little bit becomes habitual lying, which eventually defines the character of a city, commonwealth or country, unless enough individuals help to restore impeccable grace and justice. Worcester is the place, and the time is now.

 

From Worcester Magazine Today

This is being aired on public TV stations around Massachusetts. It depicts the debate at the Sheffield town meeting with clarification of points discussed by Patricia Burke who is spearheading the fight against smart meters in central MA throughHaltMASmartMeters.

The New England Governors (NESCOE) advanced costly proposals for smart utility meters, Northern Pass, and the Kinder Morgan gas pipeline behind closed doors, in violation of local democracy. Citizens speak out at a hearing for a smart meter moratorium in Sheffield MA, and in opposition to the gas pipeline in Ashfield MA. Public resources could be directed to less damaging alternatives, giving priority to localized and largely user-owned renewable generation

View the show: http://www.wccatv.com/video/about-smart-meters/ABOUTSMARTMETERS16

meter-fire_310_217Smart Meter Fire Hazard Update

Fire officials say that smart meter fires are particularly concerning because they start on the outside of the house, won’t be picked up by indoor smoke detectors, and can escape immediate notice. The Sparks, NV fire chief stated, “The occupants inside may not even be aware the house is on fire.” There are multiple issues, and one was that meter installers were not licensed electricians in some deployment areas. In some cases the meters were being switched out under live load. If water seeps into the device, it may malfunction. Lightning or a power surge or EMP (electromagnetic pulse) can damage the electronics, which was not the case with mechanical analog meters. Extremes in temperature have been an issue in some deployment areas.In many cases, a fire involving a smart meter is blamed on underlying electrical problems in the home, and the homeowners were not compensated for damages. The wiring the home should be checked before the meters are installed,

Opt Outs

Wireless smart meters enable two-way communication between the utility and the home. 111 municipalities in Quebec have called for a moratorium and/or free opt out. Germany has rejected smart meter deployment. In the UK, the Committee of Public Accounts issued a report Sept. 9 casting doubt over the validity of the smart meter rollout, raising concerns over the cost-benefit to consumers and the ability of the energy market to keep costs down. Nations including Italy, the site of the Vatican leukemia lawsuit, opted for safer, faster; more secure hard-wired technology. Italy is not collecting private usage data from customers. Lakeland, Florida; Saskatchewan, Canada; Pennsylvania, and Oregon have removed thousands of smart meters due to fire hazards.

Opt Out Fee Reversed:

>PG&E Customers Getting Fees Reversed as CPUC Endlessly Delays Smart Meter “Opt Out” Decision
“A decision was rendered at the end of the Evidentiary Hearing by the ALJ Anthony Colbert, in Mr. Rainey’s favor. It was so ordered that PGE is to immediately remove (AND CREDIT) and cease from charging the $75 surcharge AND each monthly $10 fee for meter reading. PG&E reluctantly had no other option but to agree to this. 8/8/14 11:00 a.m. ALJ Colbert ECP – C.14-04-002 (EH) – Thomas Rainey, Complainant, vs. Pacific Gas and Electric Company, (U39E), Defendant, California Public Utilities Commission Courtroom, San Francisco Note that no formal written decision was issued in this case. The ALJ agreed to dismiss the complaint against PG&E and PG&E agreed to drop the fees. Here is another case where PG&E was forced to reverse “smart” meter opt out charges: http://hasbrouck.org/blog/archives/002101.html

MA DPU Statement:

>The Berkshire-Litchfield Environmental Council, which provided testimony in opposition to smart meters for MA DPU docket 12-76 stated, “The smart grid is increasingly understood as an over engineered, ill-advised, financial boondoggle at taxpayer expense, capable of endangering the security of the entire national grid, violating constitutional privacy protections and endangering public health. In addition, the smart grid/metering has not been found to save energy when all the new variables in the system are factored in. Plus, time-of-use pricing is largely punitive to those who can least afford it. Time-of-use pricing is fundamentally a Wall Street model designed to maintain shareholder profits as we transition to more energy efficient models that will reduce demand.”

Before the Worcester smart meter pilot program has gotten off the ground, and while smart-metered Maine has been without power,  Governor Patrick has mistaken Massachusetts for a fiefdom, and ordered smart metering.  
Governor Patrick just ordered that MA utilities move forward with smart meters, ignoring all of the unresolved issues, but especially the civil rights of the electromagnetically hypersensitive, who will have no place to live. 
 
To express your thoughts about the technology, you may contact the Governor about this… template you can print and just sign.. http://www.takebackyourpower.net/news/2013/12/31/letter-template-stop-smart-spygrid/
 
 
The $48M Worcester smart meter pilot program, which was supposed to prove the efficacy of smart meters, has not even started yet, but millions in ratepayer funds have already been spent. The state of Maine is conducting an audit due to cost overruns for its smart meter pilot, and that the utilities requested an 8% rate hike, rather than delivering promised savings.  The Maine Supreme Court ruled that the Maine Public Utilities Commission did not adequately address health concerns. Now, despite the presence of smart meters which are supposed to enhance storm response, many Maine residents were without power for days due to an ice storm. There are enormous unresolved safety, cost, and greenwashing issues, in addition to privacy. 
 
“Boston – Monday, December 23, 2013 – The Patrick Administration’s Department of Public Utilities (DPU) today issued an order that will result in the modernization of the Commonwealth’s electricity grid. Massachusetts’ electric utilities will be required to develop a Grid Modernization Plan that includes investing in infrastructure for advanced metering functionality.  Advanced metering enables two-way communication between the utility and the customer, helping to achieve cost and energy savings and allow for efficient grid operations. The necessary infrastructure includes smart meters, communications networks and new data management systems to give customers greater choice about their energy use and real-time information to enable the utilities to respond better to storms.” 
http://www.smartgridnews.com/artman/publish/Business_Policy_Regulation/Massachusetts-to-utilities-Thou-SHALT-modernize-We-ll-reward-you-for-it-6249.html/?fpt#.UsLt3c3fISE