2017-10-29 A letter from Minister Mungall that shows she needs educating re. smeters

[2B – 5G – 1996 Telecommunications Act – Analog – Antennas – Antibiotics – Bacteria – BCUC – Bill BennettBobby Reed Lawsuit v Oncor – Brendan Carr, FCC – Cancer – CCA Competitive Carriers Association – Cell Towers – Charter of Rights – Clean Energy Act – CSA – Data Security – DIGIT Act – Direction 4 – Distorted Industry-supported Science for Sale – DNA – Doctor Devra Davis – Extortion Opt-out Fees – Fires – First Energy – FortisBC – Health Canada Safety Code 6 – International EMF Scientist Appeal Letter to FCC re 5G – IoT – Itron – Jerry Brown – Landis+Gyr – Len Garis – Life Expectancy – Lloyd’s of London Insurance – Measurement Canada – Microcells / Small Cells Antennas Public Right-of-way Siting Legislation – Military Active Denial Weapons – MOBILE NOW Act – NTP – Rich Coleman – Safety – Sharon Noble Letter to Michelle Mungall & John Horgan re BC Hydro Smart Meters Inaccurate Information – Skin – SPEED Act (Roger Wicker & Catherine Cortez Masto) – Studies – Tariff – Tom Wheeler – UL – Utility Poles – WHO – William Bathgate – Wireless | BC – Canada – Finland – Israel – South Korea – Taiwan – California & Missouri & Ohio & Austin, Dallas, Texas, USA]

1)    Public health is littered with examples where economic interests trumped scientific advice” by Dr. Devra Davis

Dr Devra Davis Nobel co-laureate: “If the cellphone were a drug, it would be banned”

(click on photos to enlarge)

“Usurping local control over tower installation has been a cardinal principle of the telecom industry for over 20 years. Section 704 of the 1996 Telecommunications Act preempts state and local government regulation for the placement of wireless antennas on the basis of environmental and health effects. 5G standards are still in development by industry. Nobody knows exactly what frequencies will be used, or what powers will be required to make 5G’s Internet of Everything vision a reality.

The history of public health is littered with examples where economic interests trumped scientific advice. Warnings about the potential dangers of lead in gasoline, X-rays in pregnancy, and the dangers of tobacco were all swept aside by industry interests who gained millions from these unwise products and unhealthy practices. It was only after we had irrefutable evidence of sickness and death tolls that we got rid of these hazards. Could 5G be the next asbestos?…

…the National Toxicology program found wireless exposed rats developed cancer and DNA damage. Millimeter frequencies have been found to accelerate bacterial growth, and when combined with antibiotics, they have an even stronger effect. Israeli scientists found that 5G’s higher frequencies are preferentially absorbed in the sweat duct, acting like helical antennas that send and receive microwave signals.

These millimeter frequencies are used by the U.S. Department of Defense as a crowd control weapon, known as Active Denial Systems. 5G frequencies have the capacity to make skin feel that it is burning. Beam this frequency at a crowd, and people flee. Is this something you want on your lamppost?”

http://thehill.com/opinion/technology/357591-public-health-is-littered-with-examples-where-economic-interests-trumped

2)    Below is a letter from Minister of Energy Mungall written to a member who wrote expressing concerns about the smeters and the program. She responds with the same false, inaccurate info that Coleman and Bennett provided when they were in that office. I know she’s new and busy, but there are a whole lot of highly paid people who should be educating her on important issues.  With the permission of the member I responded.  I expect she won’t read my letter either, but it will be interesting to what response I do receive.

Letters:

Please read from the bottom up.  Sharon’s comments in blue.

From: Sharon Noble
Sent: October 29, 2017
To: EMPR.Minister@gov.bc.ca <EMPR.Minister@gov.bc.ca>
Cc: Premier John Horgan <premier@gov.bc.ca>

Subject: Attention Required: BC Hydro’s smart meters

Dear Hon. Minister Mungall,

Mr. X shared with me the response he received from you regarding his concerns about smart meters, and I hope that you and/or your assistants will consider my comments.

I understand and appreciate fully that you are new to your position and have other priorities with which you are dealing. Nevertheless I find it unacceptable that the information in your response is simply a parroting of that used by your immediate predecessors, which had been given to them by industry and BC Hydro.  The smart meter issue for which you are now responsible is significant, one that deals with many problems, some of which have the potential to cause harm to health, life and property and warrants serious investigation.  It is vital that you look beyond this “canned” information, so that you can, as you state, be informed in your role as Minister of Energy.

I am writing to you and commenting on statements in your email in an effort to offer information that I have learned through many years of research.

1)    “All electricity meters must pass federal and North American standards set by Measurement Canada, the American National Standards Institute, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the International Electrotechnical Commission.  All BC Hydro meters comply with the applicable standards.”

All these standards relate to accuracy and compatibility only.  There is nothing in these standards that applies to fire safety.

2)    “The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standard, to which you refer, applies to consumer products.  Requirement for CSA certification does not apply to smart meters, including analog and digital meters, as these are utility owned and operated equipment.  Itron, the meter vendor, requires that materials used in its meters (for example, plastics used in the meter bases and covers, insulation materials) from third-party suppliers conform to specific UL (Underwriters Laboratory) standards for flammability and other safety requirements.”

ITRON meters were not certified by UL prior to having been installed.  According to BC Hydro’s information that was given to me (please see my report “BCUC & SMART METERS: The Failure to Protect” for documentation) they accepted ITRON’s protocol for safety. No documentation has been provided by BC Hydro or ITRON after several requests.

A related point is that the bases on which these meters are mounted belong to the homeowner. They are certified by CSA but only for analog meters. Therefore consumer owned bases must not used with combustible, digital smart meters. 

Further, the UL protocol is not adequate in that it does not include testing of what professional engineers consider to be the most dangerous component of the smart meter – the remote disconnect switch. (Reference: William Bathgate, page 29 of my fire report).  Obviously you are unaware that smart meters that were certified by UL were found to have caused fires.  The very same Landis+Gyr smart meter that caused fires according to legal testimony (http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Reed_Answering_Brief-1.pdf ) was later certified by UL.  Obviously UL’s protocol 2735 is not adequate to ensure that these devices are safe.

No independent certification of ITRON’s  smart meters (including the remote disconnect switch)  has been done.  BC Hydro uses a loophole in the BC Safety Standards Act which says that “regulated” Hydro equipment must be certified by an electrical engineer licensed to work in BC. But BC Hydro considers smart meters “unregulated” and, therefore, they do not have to be certified by any independent professional engineer.

If a device owned by BC Hydro is put on homes, it should be required that every possible precautionary step be taken to ensure safety. To do otherwise is woefully and wilfully negligent. The current law with its loophole is putting lives at risk and must be changed.

3)    Regarding your concern that smart meters are a fire safety hazard in British Columbia, the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) responded in July 2016 to this concern as a result of customer complaint to the BCUC (see BCUC Document G-126-16 online at http://www.ordersdecisions.bcuc.com/bcuc/orders/en/item/168896/index.do).  Based on the data before the BCUC during the complaint process, the BCUC found “no evidence that smart meters materially increase the risk of fires in BC over analog and digital meters.”  However, the BCUC directed BC Hydro and FortisBC to report on a semi‑annual basis to the BCUC regarding “all incidents where a meter and/or meter base is reasonably assessed to be the possible or likely source of a high temperature or fire event that results in the meter and/or meter base requiring replacement.”

The complaint to which you refer was made by me.   BCUC found no evidence of increased risk of fire because they didn’t look. They told me it was up to me to find it. I did and it is in my report “BCUC & Smart Meters: The Failure to Protect”  (Appendix A) [http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.com/bcuc-smart-meter-fires-the-failure-to-protect/]. The basis for BCUC’s “decision” was faulty.  It was as a result of my complaint that BCUC instituted temporary measures requiring incidents involving a smart meter to be reported by BC Hydro and FortisBC.

On Sept 2, I mailed to your office a box with 2 binders (700 pages) with a report (38 pages) and evidence refuting BCUC’s assertion that smart meters are just as safe as analogs. To date I have not received a response from you or your office. The evidence upon which BCUC bases its conclusion is faulty, based on incomplete information. Nearly half of the fires that I investigated involved or were suspected to have involved a smart meter. BCUC depended solely on Len Garis’s assertion that there had been no smart meter fires. Yet, using Garis’s own criteria for identifying smart meter fires, I found 47. I found them by looking at raw data which was ignored by Garis and BCUC.  The assurance you’ve given above is word for word the same one that the Liberal Energy Ministers gave. Based upon the report that you have in your possession, it is unacceptable that this be repeated.

Independent professional electrical engineers, both from BC and from the US, have provided details about the smart meters that make them to be fire hazards. No one, not BC Hydro, not BCUC, and not the Energy Minister’s Office is taking this information seriously. Rather, lives and property are being put at risk. Many smart meter failures and fires have occurred and are being ignored. 

4)    “On December 21, 2016, BC Hydro filed with the BCUC, further to BC Hydro’s Fiscal 2017 to Fiscal 2019 Revenue Requirements Application (RRA), the “Smart Metering and Infrastructure Program Completion and Evaluation Report.”  This Report includes a review of health, safety and personal data security concerns, and updates the BCUC on responses to these matters, which you might find informative, as they relate to several of the concerns you identified in your email.  The Report can be found at http://www.bcuc.com/Documents/Proceedings/2016/DOC_48502_B-1-4_BCH-Appx-P-Update-SMI-Report.pdf  (see pages 19 to 23 of 74).”

The “review of health” in the Fiscal Report merely states that the level of microwave radiation is within the limits established by Health Canada. There are no limits established by Health Canada that apply to microwave radiation that is emitted by smart meters. The limits apply to thermal radiation only, the type that harms by heating.

There are thousands of studies showing that biological effects occur at levels far below those allowed by Safety Code 6. Obviously you do not know that microwave radiation like that emitted by smart meters has been classified by the World Health Organization as a 2b carcinogen.  This is the same classification as DDT and lead. We cannot use DDT on our lawns or lead in paint, so why should microwave radiation be considered safe when it is shooting into our homes 24/7/365?  Many people have sent you and your office scientific studies which refute the statement you’ve made above. These smart meters are capable of doing harm to health.  You need to know that all major insurers waive coverage for health claims from exposure to microwave radiation. They believe the risk is too great and they are not willing to cover it. http://stopsmartmeters.org.uk/lloyds-of-london-excludes-liability-coverage-for-harm-from-wireless-radiationrf-emf/

I predict that BC Hydro, this government, and, perhaps, even those individuals in charge who are willfully ignoring evidence will be held financially liable when lawsuits are filed for health problems caused by smart meters.

5)    “With respect to your concerns about meter exchanges required due to the expiry of the Measurement Canada seal, the legacy meter charge, service disconnection without notice, and reconnection charges, I note that BC Hydro must abide by the BC Hydro and Power Authority Electric Tariff.  The BCUC sets out the terms and conditions that apply with respect to these matters.  The Tariff is available online at https://www.bchydro.com/content/dam/BCHydro/customer-portal/documents/corporate/tariff-filings/electric-tariff/bchydro-electric-tariff.pdf.

The BCUC is responsible for overseeing BC Hydro and ensuring compliance with the Tariff.  If a customer has a complaint concerning BC Hydro’s compliance with the Tariff, the customer may seek assistance from BCUC’s Utility Customer Complaint Process by emailing the complaint directly to complaints@bcuc.com.”

Minister Mungall, as the person responsible for BC Hydro, I am surprised  that you are not aware that the BCUC has been put into a position where it cannot interfere with the smart meter program. Both the Clean Energy Act of 2010 and Direction 4 remove BCUC’s responsibility for oversight.  BC Hydro has offended people, bullied seniors, and misinformed customers without ramification.  The Liberal party eliminated any recourse for maltreatment or concerns that, according to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, have been infringed upon.  You and the NDP could change this if you have the will.

6)    “According to the terms and conditions of the Tariff, effective April 1, 2017, the standard monthly legacy meter charge is $32.40 (see page 11-3) and for “manual reconnections at the Point of Delivery because the Customer failed to provide access to the meter,” the minimum reconnection charge is $700 per meter (see page 11-2).

The BCUC assessed the appropriateness of these charges relative to incremental costs before setting these charges.  The extra costs that the utility is bearing to serve customers with an analog meter are being charged to customers that choose to retain an analog meter.  Similarly, the incremental costs associated with a manual service disconnection and reconnection are charged to the customer causing these costs.”

The opt out fees paid by those who have wanted to keep their analog meters as long as possible are the highest in North America, often 200-300% higher than in other jurisdictions [http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.com/metersgrid/smart-meter-opt-out-options-and-fees/]. Why? BC Hydro has never provided an annual financial accounting for these fees, showing how they are spent. Neither has BC Hydro explained why meter reading is being charged again when the rates already include this “service”.  And why people who elect to have a smart meter with the transmitter turned off are charged $20 a month vs. FortisBC’s charge of $9?  Is BC Hydro that much less efficient? As many as 50,000 homes have smart meters that are not functional and are being read manually. These homes are requiring the same service as a home with an analog, yet no additional charge is levied. If the smart meter that is non-functional is beside a home with an analog, there is no additional travel and minimal time required, yet no reduction is offered. Clearly the opt out fee is punitive which is against the BC Utilities Commission Act that says all customers must be treated fairly and consistently.  Some might call such “fees” extortion.

7)    “I understand that smart meters have a minimum life expectancy of 20 years.  Like any electronic equipment, some of those meters will need to be replaced over time.  BC Hydro anticipates having to replace 10,000 smart meters a year (out of a total of 1.93 million smart meters) for the next four years through normal course of business: broken screens, software upgrades, and exterior damage.  These replacements are covered under warranty with the meter vendor.”

You have been misinformed, as were the BCUC and the public. The expected life expectancy of a smart meter is 5-7 years. This is admitted in Congressional Testimony by a Senior Vice President of First Energy, a major US utility company.  https://smartgridawareness.org/2015/10/29/smart-meters-have-life-of-5-to-7-years/  It must be remembered that these “smart” meters are merely plastic computers.

Min. Mungall, you have in your possession sufficient information, studies and reports to help you “inform my work within the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resource.” You have, in my Fire Report, all the information you require to make an informed decision about the safety of these meters, including testimonials by independent professional electrical engineers.

It is imperative that you and your staff become educated on this topic and stop providing the canned responses provided by your predecessors.  The public is looking to the NDP for change in approach, attitude toward the public, and a sense of responsibility unseen in many years. Please, do not disappoint us.

Regards,
Sharon Noble

= = =

 

From: Minister, EMPR EMPR:EX [mailto:EMPR.Minister@gov.bc.ca]
Sent: October 18, 2017
Cc: OfficeofthePremier, Office PREM:EX <premier@gov.bc.ca>
Subject: BC Hydro’s Smart Meters

Ref:    101825

X

Dear X

Thank you for taking the time to write on August 27, 2017 and share your views regarding BC Hydro’s Smart Meter Initiative Program.

Modernization of the electricity grid is critical to provide an efficient, secure and reliable power system, including the replacement of obsolete mechanical meters with modern smart meters.  While some legacy meters remain in operation in British Columbia, they are no longer BC Hydro’s standard meter.

All electricity meters must pass federal and North American standards set by Measurement Canada, the American National Standards Institute, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and the International Electrotechnical Commission.  All BC Hydro meters comply with the applicable standards.

The Canadian Standards Association (CSA) standard, to which you refer, applies to consumer products.  Requirement for CSA certification does not apply to smart meters, including analog and digital meters, as these are utility owned and operated equipment.  Itron, the meter vendor, requires that materials used in its meters (for example, plastics used in the meter bases and covers, insulation materials) from third-party suppliers conform to specific UL (Underwriters Laboratory) standards for flammability and other safety requirements.

Regarding your concern about the accuracy of smart meters, Measurement Canada requires that all new meters in Canada, including smart meters, operate within a 1 percent accuracy tolerance.  BC Hydro has a much stricter requirement for its smart meters – 0.2 percent accuracy tolerance.  In other words, BC Hydro smart meters are accurate to 99.8 percent.  Out of the 1.9 million new meters installed to date, about one-tenth of 1 percent have problems of any kind (0.1 percent).  Industry experience has shown that, on average, about 0.5 percent of meters can have components that fail early in the unit’s life cycle.

Regarding your concern that smart meters are a fire safety hazard in British Columbia, the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) responded in July 2016 to this concern as a result of customer complaint to the BCUC (see BCUC Document G-126-16 online at http://www.ordersdecisions.bcuc.com/bcuc/orders/en/item/168896/index.do).  Based on the data before the BCUC during the complaint process, the BCUC found “no evidence that smart meters materially increase the risk of fires in BC over analog and digital meters.”  However, the BCUC directed BC Hydro and FortisBC to report on a semi‑annual basis to the BCUC regarding “all incidents where a meter and/or meter base is reasonably assessed to be the possible or likely source of a high temperature or fire event that results in the meter and/or meter base requiring replacement.”

On December 21, 2016, BC Hydro filed with the BCUC, further to BC Hydro’s Fiscal 2017 to Fiscal 2019 Revenue Requirements Application (RRA), the “Smart Metering and Infrastructure Program Completion and Evaluation Report.”  This Report includes a review of health, safety and personal data security concerns, and updates the BCUC on responses to these matters, which you might find informative, as they relate to several of the concerns you identified in your email.  The Report can be found at http://www.bcuc.com/Documents/Proceedings/2016/DOC_48502_B-1-4_BCH-Appx-P-Update-SMI-Report.pdf (see pages 19 to 23 of 74).

For example, in reviewing responses undertaken with respect to the concern regarding personal data security, the Report notes the various undertakings related to this concern, including testing by independent security services referred to as “ethical hacking,” that identifies security weaknesses so that BC Hydro can take the appropriate measures to address the weaknesses.

With respect to your concerns about meter exchanges required due to the expiry of the Measurement Canada seal, the legacy meter charge, service disconnection without notice, and reconnection charges, I note that BC Hydro must abide by the BC Hydro and Power Authority Electric Tariff.  The BCUC sets out the terms and conditions that apply with respect to these matters.  The Tariff is available online at https://www.bchydro.com/content/dam/BCHydro/customer-portal/documents/corporate/tariff-filings/electric-tariff/bchydro-electric-tariff.pdf.

The BCUC is responsible for overseeing BC Hydro and ensuring compliance with the Tariff.  If a customer has a complaint concerning BC Hydro’s compliance with the Tariff, the customer may seek assistance from BCUC’s Utility Customer Complaint Process by emailing the complaint directly to complaints@bcuc.com.

According to the terms and conditions of the Tariff, effective April 1, 2017, the standard monthly legacy meter charge is $32.40 (see page 11-3) and for “manual reconnections at the Point of Delivery because the Customer failed to provide access to the meter,” the minimum reconnection charge is $700 per meter (see page 11-2).

The BCUC assessed the appropriateness of these charges relative to incremental costs before setting these charges.  The extra costs that the utility is bearing to serve customers with an analog meter are being charged to customers that choose to retain an analog meter.  Similarly, the incremental costs associated with a manual service disconnection and reconnection are charged to the customer causing these costs.

Regarding your concern that customers refusing smart meters are facing service disconnections without notice, I understand that, in these cases where a planned meter exchange is refused or obstructed, BC Hydro attempts to resolve the issue with the customer and makes several attempts to communicate and, where necessary, notify the customer of the risk of potential service disconnection.  A service disconnection would proceed only as a last resort.

Before a planned meter exchange, BC Hydro first sends a letter explaining the purpose of the work and informs the customer of the need for access to the meter, which is BC Hydro equipment.  BC Hydro also invites the customer to call should they have any questions.

If BC Hydro is not successful in completing the work, BC Hydro sends another letter notifying the customer that there was an access issue, or an obstruction, preventing the meter exchange.  BC Hydro requests that the customer call back by a certain date to confirm access in order to exchange the meter and BC Hydro notifies that, if there is no contact in response to this request, service is subject to disconnection.  If no response is received, BC Hydro will attempt to contact the customer by phone after the date indicated in the letter.

If there is still no response from the customer or if the customer refuses to provide access, BC Hydro will send a Final Notice.  This letter explains the customer’s responsibility to provide access to BC Hydro’s equipment and, if access is denied, the next potential step is to disconnect service.  BC Hydro will ask the customer to respond by a certain date and similar to the previous letter, and BC Hydro will call the customer should there be no response.  At this time, BC Hydro also notifies the customer that, before reconnection, BC Hydro will need access arrangements to exchange the meter and the possible charge of $700 for reconnection.

If the customer continually refuses access or refuses to respond, BC Hydro will arrange to disconnect the service.  When the BC Hydro crew is onsite for service disconnection, they will inform the resident, should one be present, that they are there to replace the meter.  If access is still refused, the crew will disconnect the service.  If no one is available at the premises to speak to the crew, disconnection will proceed.

In such cases, disconnection and reconnection of service must be made from the secondary line at the pole (for example, as opposed to disconnecting service at the customer’s meter).  The charge to the customer, therefore, includes the costs associated with disconnection and reconnection performed by a two-man Power Line Technician crew.

With respect to smart meters not performing as expected, though the vast majority of the meters communicate as required, a small number fail due to various factors related to location.  BC Hydro is optimizing the network, so more of these meters will be communicating over time.  Until then, non-communicating meters are required to be read in person by BC Hydro staff.

I understand that smart meters have a minimum life expectancy of 20 years.  Like any electronic equipment, some of those meters will need to be replaced over time.  BC Hydro anticipates having to replace 10,000 smart meters a year (out of a total of 1.93 million smart meters) for the next four years through normal course of business: broken screens, software upgrades, and exterior damage.  These replacements are covered under warranty with the meter vendor.

Once again, thank you for writing.  I appreciate the opportunity to hear from you about these important issues.  It helps inform my work within the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources, and your engagement is crucial to our democracy.

Sincerely,

Michelle Mungall
Minister of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources

 

Sharon Noble
Director, Coalition to Stop Smart Meters
 
“Unthinking respect for authority is the greatest enemy of truth.”
~Albert Einstein

 

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