2018-01-03 For FortisBC electrical customers — application for major rate changes

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1)    On December 22, 2017 FortisBC submitted an application to the BCUC to change the rate structure for its electricity customers from tiered to flat. This would result in an increase for those using smaller amounts of electricity and a reduction for those using very large amounts (e.g. companies).  Of particular note is that for FortisBC customers, those using smaller amounts of electricity already pay nearly double what BC Hydro customers pay. Why the disparity?  Someone has gone through the application (which has yet to be put on the BCUC website) and shared some observations in Letters below.  People who oppose this application should consider becoming involved, perhaps as intervenors.

(click on photos to enlarge)

2)    The push for 5G is on and in many states, laws have been passed to remove or prevent any restrictions for placement of microcells on public property like the right of way outside homes, emitting microwave radiation 24/7/365, connecting all “smart” appliances directly to the internet Cloud. At the end of the article is a sample letter to send to MPs and MLAs.  We need to educate them about what this is all about and the serious, dangerous ramifications.

 

“The vast majority of the legislative bills promoting 5G infrastructure (already passed or about to pass in eighteen U.S. states) will strip authority from local governments—and citizens—over public rights-of-way.19 In other words, municipalities and residents will be unable to say no when utilities mount 5G antennas on lampposts and utility poles in their yards, businesses and schools…

The unfurling of 5G technology is taking place in the context of the broader wireless takeover. For example, wireless networking (WiFi) went from a “niche technology” at the beginning of the new millennium23 to consumers’ preferred method of accessing the Internet, with WiFi in seven out of ten U.S. broadband households as of early 2017.24 According to market researchers, WiFi households are wireless junkies, averaging “more than 30 percent more computing devices than non-WiFi households.”…

5G technology will likely turn this serious health risk into a public health crisis. Ubiquitous deployment of small cell antennas will unleash unnatural and round-the-clock millimeter microwave radiation that is far more potent than anything previously experienced from the electromagnetic spectrum. In fact, the U.S. military uses millimeter waves—which travel only a short distance—as a non-lethal weapon for crowd control because the waves affect the surface of the body and cause a burning sensation of the skin at higher levels of power. The lower-powered but chronic exposure that most of us will experience outside of our homes, schools and businesses is expected to cause very serious health effects, including higher rates of skin cancer, cataracts, cardiac irregularities and fetal abnormalities.27 Moreover, millimeter wave radiation has effects on microbes and may prompt increased antibiotic resistance…

John P. Thomas of Health Impact News explains that 5G technology “is part of a long-term plan to integrate telecom activities with electrical service providers. …The 5G network will be the nerves and sense organs of a massive organism that has a central brain somewhere, which controls all forms of information exchange and electric utilization/production.”33 Referring to what is now called the Internet of Things (IoT), Thomas adds that with the help of 5G technology, “[smart] appliances and smart meters will constantly communicate with one another all day long and all night long—they will never stop transmitting microwave radiation.” Even worse (from the consumer’s standpoint), “the fusion of 5G with the electrical grid will require everyone to buy new appliances that are smart meter enabled or have our existing appliances retrofitted with microwave transmitters.” In short, 5G will enable “a whole new cellular architecture”10 and an “inescapable” technological blanket.9

https://www.westonaprice.org/health-topics/microwave-radiation-coming-lamppost-near/

3)    Another smeter explodes, this one in Missouri. Appears this is a Landis+Gyr meter.

Clay County woman warning others after new digital energy meter explodes, starts small house fire

http://fox4kc.com/2018/01/03/clay-county-woman-warning-others-after-new-digital-energy-meter-explodes-starts-small-house-fire/

4)    A cybersecurity expert’s vision of what could/probably will happen when a city is attacked by hackers. Note: this was written in June 2016 about December 2017.  A very interesting/scary read.

THE BIG HACK:  A scenario that could happen based on what already has.

At 12:30 p.m., the Times published a story reporting that “government officials” believed that the city was being hit with a wave of cyberattacks that appeared to be ongoing. A tipster claimed the hackers had caused at least a dozen car crashes and debilitated multiple hospitals and agencies — with more to come. If they could crash a car, could they crash a subway?”

http://nymag.com/daily/intelligencer/2016/06/the-hack-that-could-take-down-nyc.html

5)    From a member re. the ITRON bid document http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Jefferson-County-PUD-1-AMI-Proposal-by-Itron-April-19-2017.pdf

sent on 2018-01-02 (http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.com/2018-01-02-an-itron-bid-proposal-allows-us-to-see-what-bc-hydro-refuses-to-provide/):

“Near the bottom of Page 15 /131 the document notes use of “Telvent OASys at BC Hydro/Power Tech Labs”and that “The AMI system must interface with the PUD Survalent SCADA system, NISC customer information meter reading system that may include additional future customer information system modules”.

It is interesting to note that supposedly Chinese hackers successfully penetrated the Telvent OASys systems in 2012:

https://krebsonsecurity.com/2012/09/chinese-hackers-blamed-for-intrusion-at-energy-industry-giant-telvent/ 

Krebs noted at the time that “The incident is the latest reminder of problems that can occur when corporate computer systems at critical networks are connected to sensitive control systems that were never designed with security in mind. Security experts have long worried about vulnerabilities being introduced into the systems that regulate the electrical grid as power companies transferred control of generation and distribution equipment from internal networks to so-called “supervisory control and data acquisition,” or SCADA, systems that can be accessed through the Internet or by phone lines. The move to SCADA systems boosts efficiency at utilities because it allows workers to operate equipment remotely, but experts say it also exposes these once-closed systems to cyberattacks.” 

The use of wireless data transmission in the BC Hydro AMI network just makes it much easier for determined hackers to eventually penetrate and disrupt the grid.  It is just a matter of time, as most network security experts have already discovered following recent breaches of supposedly impenetrable systems.” 

If BC Hydro/Power Tech Lab used Telvent OASys in 2012, was our system hacked? What was stolen? Is it possible that there is malware in place that has or could steal our personal data? If our system was hacked, why weren’t we told?  Again, a good subject for an FOI.  I do hope that one of you will take this as a project.

Letters:


http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/Table-6-10-FortisBC-Residential-Rate-Proposal-2018-to-2023-Application-December-22-2017.pdf

Attached please find FortisBC’s residential rate design proposal as filed with the BC Utilities Commission on December 22nd, 2017, noting that this application has still not been posted to the BCUC website but can be found on the FortisBC website at:

https://www.fortisbc.com/About/RegulatoryAffairs/ElecUtility/ElectricBCUCsubmissions/RateDesignApplications/Pages/2017-Rate-Design.aspx

https://www.fortisbc.com/About/RegulatoryAffairs/GasUtility/NatGasBCUCSubmissions/Documents/171222_FBC_2017_RDA_FF.pdf

The table attached to this email is taken from the above document.

This rate application would give 80% of FortisBC residential customers who use 2,500 kWh or less of electricity in a billing period a rate increase of between 3.8% and 15.2% between now and 2023, before any annual rate adjustments are added in, such as the .17% adjustment FortisBC will be implementing in 2018. In contrast the 20% of residential customers who use more than 2,500 kWh per billing period will see their annual bills decline by anywhere from 4.9% to 19.8%.

Of highest vulnerability to this rate design proposal are those customers who live in apartments, smaller houses and use non-electric heat sources. FortisBC rates for the lowest residential segment of 0 to 5,000 kWh consumption per year are already 90% higher than those charged by BC Hydro to their residential customers and by 2023 this differential will be 121% higher if the BC Utilities Commission approves FBC’s application.

This is what the BCUC Commission Panel stated when issuing Order G-5-17 on January 20th, 2017 in response to BC Hydro’s 2015 rate design application:

BC Hydro chose to model a revenue neutral flat rate noting that this rate is more efficient economically…With respect to customer bill impacts, under a flat rate bills would go up for most customers (70 percent and 41 percent would experience bill impacts greater than 10 percent and 20 percent) with only 18 percent better off under this rate (3. Residential rates, p 7)”.

Moreover, 45 percent of customer – related costs are recovered through the basic charge, which is similar to other jurisdictions. (p 18)”.

“BC Hydro reply argument

A movement away from the RIB rate to a flat rate would see significant bill impacts to 70 percent of BC Hydro’s low income customers (p 21)”.

“Commission determination RIB rate

The Panel considers a move to a flat rate to be a step backward as it does not send the right price signal and the magnitude of projected bill increases makes it highly undesirable (p 21).”

“Rib Rate Principles

The Panel sees the issue as one of balance and does not consider there to be a compelling case for change as the basic charge is currently in a range similar to other Canadian utilities (p 22).”

In their proposal above, as found in table 6-10 attached, FortisBC is proposing to shift basic charge customer recovery costs upwards to 53%, an action both BC Hydro and the Commission Panel found against precisely because of it’s negative impacts on low income customers, as stated above.

Please feel free to circulate this to your friends and neighbours and get them to compare their bills with what other friends and neighbours are paying as BC Hydro residential customers.

X

 

Sharon Noble
Director, Coalition to Stop Smart Meters

Even if all the experts agree, they may well be mistaken.
~ Bertrand Russell

www.facebook.com/Coalitiontostopsmartmeters