Posts Tagged ‘worcester ma’

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.

$7,000 is too much for an electric meter
National Grid’s run-amok Worcester area
‘smart’ meter pilot is $29M (65%) over-budget at $7,000 per meter, & does not represent Massachusetts demographics.
The many

egregious ahhem, 
misrepresentations in National Grid’s FEB 2016 ‘Interim Report‘ need to come to light before we all end up with $7,000 ‘smart’ electric meters.
The Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office will listen to ratepayer concerns on 
June 13th in Worcester (see details below)

CLAIM: 98% retention & 72% satisfied but the 4,000 – 6,000 

subjects who quit were conveniently not counted

CLAIM: In a ‘portion of Worcester’  

NOT: Groton, Auburn, etc.

CLAIM: ‘smart’ meters installed April ’14 

NOT: Installed in ’12 & ’13

CLAIM: Worcester Library usage 

Overstated Worcester’s Main Branch usage by 71%

 CLAIM: Not enough lower income subjects available
though half of Worcester meets National Grid’s threshold
CLAIM: 0.2% electricity “saved” on average
CLAIM: $1,250,0000 “saved” –  total (see chart below)


– 0.2% of the average annual MA home’s bill is less than $3

– Less than 11,000 subjects remain in the pilot

– $3 x 11,000 = $33,000



 $29,000,000 (65%) over budget (and counting)

 Sustainability Hub: $700k / 1,400% over budget 

 Cost:  $7,000 per meter and rising

 Vegetation decimated for ‘smart’ networks

 National Grid bought ratepayer private financial

& lifestyle data without their permission


National Grid and MA Department of Public Utilities rely on 
career tobacco testifier and outdated health data.
v Adverse symptoms ignored or scorned: headaches, sleep 
issues, ear ringing, neurological, etc.



Page 11 of Interim Report

Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office Public Listening Session
Monday, June 13, 2016: 6 – 8 pm
Energy & Environment Listening Session
devoted to hearing directly from YOU about issues
important to Greater Worcester & the Commonwealth.

Broad Meadow Brook Center & Sanctuary
414 Massasoit Road, Worcester
Open to the public: RSVP
Questions for the AG: 



About Smart Meters. An investigation of smart meter tobacco scientist health expert Peter Valberg, who testified before the Worcester Zoning Board of Appeals concerning the safety of an antenna in the National Grid smart meter pilot program. Valberg also testified for the MA Dept. of Public Utilities to override citizen health complaints. This video has been submitted to the MA Attorney General, calling for an investigation of the Worcester pilot and the DPU mandate.

The Video talks about Valberg in MA around minute 11.

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

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..
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.”
The grid, without the  implementation of  what the Government/ utilities envision as the Smart Grid Program ie., reading every appliance in your home 24/7, is already causing people to suffer  the ill effect, with what is in place on the infrastructure! So added increase of non-thermal radiation transmitted by  RF pulsed microwave signals and dirty electricity caused by the wireless devices on the communication layer of the smart grid and continue to do this knowing the harm it is doing to innocent people, children, animals, wildlife around the world makes Hitler look like a boy scout for the “MAss Murder”, is without discrimination; it is a blatant crime, toward all of Humanity.
Why are we even arguing the idea of putting this technology into our environments when the utilities will not address the millions of victims who are already suffering with what is already in place on the grid?  Citizens have been put in the position of losing their jobs, homes and health as a result of pollution in the home, workplace and schools caused by the dirty electricity and deadly bio active Radio waves being used for the Smart Grid Network.  They are buying time and making billions on our suffering and even needless deaths and know that misinformation will buy them more time until the overwhelming negative health impact cannot be ignored any longer.  Who is the face of this evil who gets away lack of transparency ?  Why would anyone believe a faceless salesman selling faulty goods over friends and family who obviously are sick from this technology?  This is a pivotal time in History and our children will be reading about this in their history books; we can control the end of this story so that they can live to be proud that we fought for them.  We have to shift the paradigm now and change the course of history or this story will not be a happy ending, but one filled with corporate domination and control, sickness and suffering to levels we have never seen before. If you are hearing the constant illegal pure tone noise in your homes and elsewhere please go to to learn more.
The State of MA, has evidence in their possession which proves this noise is in our environment 24 hours a day non stop.  It is proven that it is an illegal pure tone as per regulations set forth by the Mass DEP.  They will not enforce their own laws!!! They are allowing air pollution such as this noise, knowing it is a public health hazard.  This is enforceable law and a precedent established.  This would be characterized as obstruction of justice.  This issue is an American issue and it crosses all boundaries philosophically and politically.   We need everyone to stand up and fight.
See full video – link in blogroll.

Worcester Is Front Line In Battle Over Utilities ‘Smart Meters’

Dean Starkman, GoLocalWorcester News Editor

Maybe Southeast New England is deciding that “smart meters” aren’t such a smart idea after all.

For several years, a cadre of determined activists in Massachusetts and Rhode Island have been waging what once seemed to be a quixotic campaign against a program to replace relatively simple and inexpensive residential electric meters with a high-tech version that critics say is a boondoggle for utilities and meter companies that takes yet another bite from ratepayers and, some say, raises health concerns.

On the face of it, the fight is a mismatch par excellence. On one side is a scattered group of homeowners and activists. On the other is a consortium of corporations, led by National Grid, a multinational power giant headquartered in the United Kingdom, and that includes Verizon, Google, Cisco, and government backers from the Obama administration on down.

And ground zero is Worcester, where, with the help of friendly regulators at the Department of Public Utilities and the support of Governor Deval Patrick, National Grid is already halfway through installing 15,000 of the meters in homes in the city.

Rhode Island, meanwhile, has a little-known pilot program of its own—a far more modest one on Aquidneck Island and one approved under a different economic rationale. There are no current plans to expand the meters in Rhode Island, and at least one member of the Public Utilities Commission is determined that the situation stays that way until much more evidence is brought to bear that these meters are worth it and have the support of consumers.

A prominent skeptic

In an interview with GoLocalWorcester, Commissioner Paul J. Roberti says smart meters don’t come close to justifying their costs and represent a misguided attempt to modify the behavior of consumers in ways that don’t conform the real world.


How smart is the choice to go for smart meters? Maybe not so smart.

“You know what? The markets, the structure of pricing is not there,” he says. “These people (meter proponents) want to push all this stuff–I call them behavior-modification specialists––forcing things on consumers that don’t come naturally. You can’t get consumers to fully embrace this unless you give them economic pain, which I won’t do.”


Utilities have already installed about 18 million smart meters across U.S., while $3.4 billion in economic-stimulus money is supporting the installation of 40 million more smart meters in 40 states, according to an in-depth look at the technology by Consumer Reports. By 2015, an estimated 65 million smart meters will have been installed.

Promise of savings

A central promise of smart meters is that the massive amount of information they generate could be used to get consumers to lower their power during peak periods–either through coercion via higher rates at peak hours or through rebates. The hope is that the new technology would lower overall usage and costs.

Trouble is, it hasn’t worked out that way as pilot programs around the country have failed to show that the meters actually live up to their main promise: actually reducing overall energy consumption. In a stinging letter to the state Department of Public Utilities Commission, for instance, a lawyer from Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office pointed to large-scale tests in Illinois and elsewhere in which the meters failed to justify their costs.

“Despite these clear trends, [National Grid] proposes to launch a massive pilot at great ratepayer expense to test already tested hypotheses,” Coakley’s office wrote.

The industry-friendly DPU last year brushed aside such concerns, and, in a 103-page order, approved Worcester’s program.

Jillian Fennimore, spokeswoman for Coakley’s office, says, “We are currently monitoring the smart grid pilot program” and will review the results of the final report that results.

DPU referred questions about the Worcester program to National Grid.

“Best interest of customers”

In an email, National Grid didn’t respond to Coakely’s specific assertions, but said: “We followed a defined process with the DPU that the AG was part of. The DPU ruled and now we are executing the pilot that we believe to be in the best interest of customers and will help in defining the future grid that will serve customers for generations to come.”

The spokeswoman said the meters are “designed to provide participating customers a new level of choice and control over their energy use through advanced technology, with the goals of empowering customers to save energy, increasing electric service reliability and improving response to power outages.”

Worcester, the “lab rat”

The Worcester pilot is being closely watched as–yet another–test of whether the economic benefits of the meters come anywhere near offsetting the costs: $45 million just for the pilot. The stakes are high: it would cost an estimated $7 billion if the entire state were to switch to smart meters–the amount coming at the expense of ratepayers who will see the cost added to their monthly bills. Nationally, the grand total is pegged at more than a quarter trillion dollars. The rate increases come on top of federal taxpayer subsidies from stimulus.

“Worcester is the lab rat,” Patricia Burke, a leader of smart meter opponents, said recently on a local cable show. “They’re looking to see how low-income, middle income and upper-income groups respond to different price points and technology.”

“But we’re not monitoring health,” she says. “This is the big issue.”

The city is also being watched to see whether community opposition can have any effect — at all — in slowing a program that once seemed destined quietly to sweep the country. The immediate venue is a September 9 hearing before the city Zoning Board of Appeals on a controversial 80-foot cellphone tower in the city needed to support the wireless signals from meters installed in or outside residences to National Grid data centers. The hearing has been postponed several times but zoning laws general favor the towers. The longer-term, and perhaps more promising, fight is for public opinion: trying to convince ratepayers to “opt-out” of the program.

Many concerns

John Dick, a 59-year-old carpenter in Worcester, says the issue has generated high interested among neighbors who have come together to oppose the meters for a variety of reasons. Some are concerned about privacy (the meters will generate a substantial amount of information about customers’ power usage); some are worried about possible health effects of radio emissions; some about cost; and a vocal contingent raises NIMBY-esque aesthetic objections to the towers.

“For a lot of people, it’s about the towers,” Dick says. “For me, it’s the whole thing. The people in the neighborhood are very much up in arms, from all sides of the political spectrum. It’s not a ‘right’ issue. It’s not a ‘left’ issue. It’s not crazies. It’s very moderate, very conservative people.”

Activists see more residents gravitating to their point of view.

“We feel the tide turning, and it’s a beautiful thing,“ says Clare Donegan, a 52-year-old mother of three grown children who lives in Quincy and who has helped organize opposition in Worcester and across the state.

Indeed, some political figures have opposed the meters or tried to moderate the terms of their installation. Connecticut’s attorney general, George Jepsen, came out strongly against a plan by that state’s utilities two years ago to roll out smart meters statewide, saying an earlier pilot “showed no beneficial impact on total energy usage.” Partly as a result, the state’s energy regulators shelved the plan. Meanwhile, Maine and Vermont joined six other states around the country to pass laws making it easier for consumers to opt out of smart meter programs and keep old meters. A similar bill, proposed by Rep. Thomas Conroy, D-Wayland, is pending in Massachusetts.

But while opponents may be gaining some traction, given the corporate power arrayed in meters’ favor, it will be difficult, if not impossible, to stop smart meters in the long run. Consumer Reports, for one, says that given the corporate forces arrayed in favor of the program, national smart-meter implementation is “all but a given.”

Health worries

Rhode Island, meanwhile, watches warily.

Mary Adkins, 52, an activist in Wakefield, has been primary concerned about what she describes as the health hazards posed by radio emissions of smart meters, which she believes in some respects are worse than similar emissions from such devices as cell phones and Wi-Fi.

“This is all about profit,” she says. “This is all about the economy. This about wireless companies making billions, hundreds of billions, while our health is jeopardized. And that’s not acceptable.”

Roberti says such health concerns among consumers should be taken into account in deciding whether to adopt a program of such scope. And in any case, he says, states should tread warily if even simple cost/benefit issues haven’t been resolved in the meters’ favor.

“If these things are going to happen, they should happen on their own,” he says. “We shouldn’t go around and frontload all these costs. There’s just not enough of a natural market mechanism to do this. I don’t like when regulators are trying to force things.”

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