Posts Tagged ‘MA smart meters’

10/26/17 Results from Patricia Burke and the statehouse hearing of the telecom committee on a group of 29 bills pertaining to gas pipelines

https://malegislature.gov/Events/Hearings/Detail/2797

Angels were with us. Among the gas bills are two DPU reform bills that would allow a group of 10 ratepayers to intervene in DPU gas and electricity dockets. The Senate had a full hearing at about the same time at 10:45 am and the house had an informal hearing starting at 11:00 amso it is likely that those who came to testify ended up talking to staff members and not many legislators. We saw Sen Pacheco’s staff chief at the elevator (Pacheco is the chair of the committee) and were told that he was at another meeting for the committee chairs already. We did not plan to testify at the hearing, but to give out info, and we did   : )

We brought 2 flyers….one about Peter Valberg DPU tobacco scientist and one about lack of protection for community rights and problems with the Worcester smart meter pilot and reporting and we gave one to each person n the hearing room, about 125.  We didn’t specifically try to convince people about smart meter issues, we talked about abuse of the process of community consent.

Many people stopped to speak with us, from Mom’s out front, 350.org, and other groups.  There were also about 5 groups there on the issue of the energy siting board  (power plants etc) …and that also pertains to Valberg. One group made neon signs that said “No more fossil fuels” on one side, and “reform the DPU” on the other side for people to hold up, and they were also happy to see our flyer. We also met a young and very upset father who was there to testify specifically about how Peter Valberg said that powerlines at his house in Winchester were safe.

Overall, it was a  success. We did not sign in to testify as we felt it was much more effective to give people info.

There are two versions of the omnibus energy bill and both include/focus EXCLUSIVELY ON smart meters- one is by Sen Pacheco…..I think that we would be very well served to plan to have a presence at that hearing when it gets scheduled….and to do something visible…and for this one, to make a flyer about smart meters specifically…It is clear to me that people do not know about smart meters….and that the omnibus energy bills is a smart meter bill.

Rep Jennifer Flangan’s Bill is based on smart meters vai these docket numbers;

https://malegislature.gov/Bills/190/H1725/

(b) The Department shall issue an order concluding the current Grid Modernization Proceedings (D.P.U. 15-120, 15-121 and 15-122) by December 31, 2017.

Sen Pacheco’s Bill also:

https://malegislature.gov/Bills/190/S1875

(b) The Department shall issue an order concluding the current Grid Modernization Proceedings (D.P.U. 15-120, 15-121 and 15-122) by December 31, 2017.

SECTION 6: Section 1B of Chapter 164 of the General Laws is amended by inserting after subsection (f), as appearing in the 2016 Official Edition, the following section:

(g) Beginning on January 1, 2018, each distribution company shall offer to default service customers an option to choose a time of use rate designed to reflect the cost of providing electricity at different times of the day. Each distribution company shall provide each default service customer, not less than once per year, a summary of available rate options with a calculation of expected bill impacts under each. Should a customer opt into a time of use rate, the distribution company shall install all necessary equipment within 60 days of request. Any residential customer choosing for the first time a time of use rate shall be provided with no less than one year of bill protection, during which the total amount paid by the customer for electric service shall not exceed the amount that would have been payable by the customer under that customer’s previous rate schedule. A customer may choose a different rate schedule after one year. If the Department approves default service rates that include time-varying pricing on a mandatory or opt-out basis, this offering structure may be discontinued, but each distribution company must offer a time-varying default service rate at all times.

 

 

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Mark Your Calendars

The legislature posts hearings one week in advance, but we’ve received tentative advance notice of these two bills:

 

S.107 An Act relative to disclosure of radiofrequency notifications requires manufacturer warnings be prominently displayed on product packaging of wireless radiation-emitting devices. Sponsored by Senator Julian Cyr. Tentative: Tues. Sept. 26.

 

H.3400 An Act clarifying authority and responsibilities of the department of public utilities will allow a group of ratepayers to intervene in dockets for electricity and gas before the D.P.U., as well as allow elected officials to participate. This bill came about in part due to the way that the DPU handled the gas pipeline dockets, but will assist all ratepayers. We feel that this is one of the most important bills in this legislative session. The bill may be up for its hearing in mid-October. https://malegislature.gov/Bills/190/H3400

 

We are extremely disheartened that the MA Attorney General has endorsed smart meters, suggesting that municipals and aggregators also be approached:

http://170.63.40.34/DPU/FileRoomAPI/api/Attachments/Get/?path=15-120%2fAGO_Initial_Brief.pdf

Please continue your advocacy efforts with the Governor and the Attorney General regarding the DPU’s reliance on tobacco science, human rights concerns, greenwashing, and cost overruns for the Worcester pilot program. We hope this will become an election concern. The Attorney General has been authorized to spend $150,000 for consultants to review the Worcester smart meter pilot program overruns:

http://170.63.40.34/DPU/FileRoomAPI/api/Attachments/Get/?path=17-53%2f1753_Order_9817.pdf

The public comment period has passed but please provide your input directly to  Alexander.Early@state.ma.us and Shannon.Beale@state.ma.us to assist the AG in her investigation.

 

H.2030 and S.2079  The hearing before the Joint Committee on Education for two MA bills pertaining to Wi-Fi in Schools was held on Sept. 5. It is still possible to send written testimony for all bills. For more information, see https://sites.google.com/site/understandingemfs/ma-emf-bills.

 

Videos of citizen testimony for the Wi-Fi bills here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLMAz9ZRXjYmoXSabQE54w0DhZ28y11mEO&disable_polymer=true

Not good news. Maybe she’s thinking this is a better alternative to WiFi on every single electric pole?

Attorney General Maura Healey recommending full deployment of smart meters.

Full Deployment of AMF Continues to Be the Best Path Forward for the
Commonwealth.
In its Grid Modernization Order (Modernization of the Electric Grid, D.P.U. 12-76-B
(2014)), the Department provided a plan for the Commonwealth to move towards modernizing the Commonwealth’s electric distribution grid to achieve a cleaner, more efficient, reliable and customer-responsive energy future for the Commonwealth. That plan recognized the importance
of making Advanced Metering Functionality (“AMF”) available to all Massachusetts electricity customers. The AGO strongly believes that the path envisioned by the Department’s Grid Modernization Order, including its prioritization of AMF, continues to be the right course to
ensure that the Commonwealth meets its clean energy goals and that all electricity customers in the Commonwealth enjoy the benefits of advances in customer-facing and grid-facing technology.

http://170.63.40.34/DPU/FileRoomAPI/api/Attachments/Get/?path=15-120%2fAGO_Reply_Brief.pdf

The House deadline for co-sponsors to sign on to this session’s smart meter opt out bill, SD344, is next Friday, February 3rd. Senators have more time to sign on, but all legislators are currently deep in the process of deciding which bills to co-sponsor, so now is the time to make contact. As of Thursday, January 26, Representative Diana DiZoglio and Representative David Linsky had officially signed on as co-sponsors. (For those of you who may be reading about the bill for the first time, the new bill, if passed, will assure the right to choose what type of utility meter will be installed and operated on one’s home or place of business, and to do so without incurring any fees. The text of the bill can be found here: https://malegislature.gov/Bills/190/SD344 .)

If you have already contacted your Representative and your Senator, now is the time when a follow up email, or a phone call together with a follow-up email, can make a difference. We have been told that legislative aides print out all email requests for co-sponsorship and gather them into a great pile for their Representative or Senator to review. (My own Representative reportedly has around 6000 bills to review!) An email can be fairly brief. (e.g., Dear Senator/ Representative, I hope you will sign on as a co-sponsor of SD344, the smart meter opt out bill. Wireless utility meters raise concerns about security, privacy, and health which are not being properly addressed. All Massachusetts ratepayers should have the right to choose what type of utility meters they will have and to do so without paying any fees.) If you have more time, you are welcome to send a one-page introduction to the subject, complete with references. But please consider sending something to be printed out and physically placed in front of the legislator. Legislators can send requests to be co-sponsors of the new bill, SD344, through the online system LAWS.

 

Here is the update on the Attorney General’s response, essentially recommending that the program be extended only until April 2017 (4 months) at $700,000 with a cost cap to minimize confusion over multiple rates changes.  ($700,000 still seems like a lot of money to me)

http://web1.env.state.ma.us/DPU/FileRoomAPI/api/Attachments/Get/?path=16-149%2fAGO_Opposition_102716.pdf

PAGE 1; On September 27, 2016, the Department issued a Notice of Filing and Public Hearing and Procedural Conference. On October 20, 2016, the Department held a public hearing and procedural conference. A final procedural schedule has not yet been established for this proceeding. Since the Company’s filing of its Petition, the Attorney General’s Office (“AGO”), has issued one set of discovery questions. Additionally, the Department has received 17 sets of comments from interested parties, all of which oppose the extension of the Pilot due to concerns regarding cost overruns during the initial Pilot term and the health effects of the Pilot.
PAGE 2 According to the Company, if the Pilot and Smart Pricing rates end on December 31, 2016, customers will have to be switched back to standard Basic Service rates, and if the Smart Pricing rates are thereafter extended, customers will be placed back on Smart Pricing. Motion, p. 1. The Company states that multiple rate switches within a short timeframe are likely to cause customer dissatisfaction and confusion. Motion, pp. 1-2. The Department should deny the Motion, as proposed, because the Company has already far exceeded its Pilot budget as approved in D.P.U. 11-129. 
The AGO does not object to extending the Company’s Smart Pricing rates on an interim basis to help minimize customer confusion. 2 However, given that there has been no opportunity to fully review the Company’s proposed Pilot extension, certain safeguards must be put in place to contain Company spending. Specifically, the Department should establish a set end date for the interim extension and a set a cost cap on the additional program costs incurred during the interim extension period. Moreover, to the extent the Department decides to allow interim approval, it should do so only for the Company’s Basic Service Tariff, M.D.P.U. No. 1296.
PAGE 4 In the Company’s latest Pilot cost recovery docket, D.P.U. 16-28, the Company recognized this budget and stated that its current forecast, including operation and maintenance (“O&M”), capital and cost of removal is $60,393,000. Massachusetts Electric Company and Nantucket Electric Company, each d/b/a National Grid, D.P.U. 16-28, Exh. AG-1-13. This amount is $14,593,000, or 31.9% above the Department-approved budget amount. Department approval of an interim extension of the Pilot as proposed, with no cost control measures incorporated, may result in additional cost overruns to be borne by the Company’s ratepayers. The Company has not provided any information, either in its Motion for interim approval or in its Pilot extension proposal generally, regarding its ability to control costs. In light of the fact that the Company has already far exceeded the original Pilot budget, the Company should only be allowed to continue the Pilot on an interim basis if the Department imposes some cost control measures. 
PAGE 5 In order to limit the costs associated with an interim extension of the Pilot, while still allowing sufficient time for a full adjudicatory proceeding in this matter, the AGO proposes that a set end date be established for the Company’s interim extension. The Company is requesting approval of a revised Tariff for Basic Service, M.D.P.U. No. 1296 (replacing M.D.P.U. No. 1250), in this docket in order to continue its Smart Pricing as set forth in Section 8 of its current Tariff for Basic Service.4 Given that the Company’s next Basic Service rates will go into effect on May 1, 2017, April 30, 2017 is a logical end date.5 A four-month extension is more than sufficient ameliorate customer confusion concerns while the issues in D.P.U. 16-149 are fully reviewed and the Department issues its final order.

 

PAGE 6 In order to further control additional cost overruns associated with the Pilot, the AGO strongly urges the Department to place a cost cap on the costs that may be incurred during any interim extension period. The Company’s estimated budget for its two-year Pilot extension, representing the estimated O&M post Pilot expenses, is $2,035,000 per year. Exh. WFJ-2. As stated above, the AGO does not oppose a limited, four-month interim extension of the Pilot, which would represent roughly one third of a year. Given this timeframe for an interim extension, a reasonable cost cap could be calculated by taking the Company’s proposed $2,035,000 annual budget for the Pilot and multiplying that by one third. This would result in an approximate rounded four-month budget of $700,000. As noted above, the Company has already greatly exceeded its Department-approved budget for the original Pilot. In order to prevent further overruns of the Company’s original Pilot budget, the AGO proposes a cost cap on costs incurred during any approved interim Pilot extension of $700,000.
Apparently, National Grid has decided not to pursue demand response in the UK.
(As you know, National Grid is a UK corporation).
Given that the MA roll-out of smart meters is being justified to support demand response as a form of energy efficiency,
it seems that this is a crucial development that warrants investigation before MA ratepayers are saddled with the costs and other additional risks.
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