2019-09-23 Telus ending copperlines on Denman

1) Someone in Nanaimo, who had power cut by BC Hydro because she wouldn’t accept a smeter, would like to know of anyone else on Vancouver Island to whom this has happened. Please email me at:  citizensforsafertech@shaw.ca with “power cut” on the subject line if you know of anyone to whom this happened, even if the power has been reconnected.

2)    Under the Saskatchewan solar power program, initiated in 2011, people have been given rebates for equipment but also were allowed to sell surplus solar power into the grid (net metering).  Suddenly last week, due to its popularity, the crown corporation stopped the net metering. This is just an extension of what BC Hydro has done, which is to cap the net metering, limiting the amount a household can “sell” back to the grid. The amount that BC Hydro pays is less than it is paid when it sells it to customers. Why is this happening at the same time BC Hydro claims Site C is needed to meet shortfalls?  In Saskatchewan, SaskPower buys electricity from other provinces and the US, no doubt paying more than it would for the surplus power its customers produce. It has to be to benefit corporations and to be all about money.

SaskPower shuts off net metering program due to overwhelming demand 

“SaskPower is switching off a program that reduces the cost to homeowners who install solar panels on their roofs.

The Crown corporation has closed the application to join the net metering program, which has reached its 16-megawatt cap.”

https://globalnews.ca/news/5926492/saskpower-shuts-off-net-metering-program-due-to-overwhelming-demand/

Solar industry rallies in Regina against SaskPower announcement

“Dozens of stakeholders, politicians, users and prospective users rallied behind the Saskatchewan solar power industry on Saturday afternoon.

The protest outside SkyFire Energy’s new Regina office came just days after SaskPower announced the closure of its solar energy net metering program with very little notice to industry.” 

https://globalnews.ca/news/5934204/solar-industry-rallies-in-regina-against-saskpower-announcement/

3)  Telus is planning on ending use of copperline and replacing with fiber optic cables on Denman — and, unsaid but true, this is in preparation for 5G microcells.  People on Denman need to be informed that 5G depends on fiber optic cable and this is happening without notice all over the province.  Watch the landline phones — if Telus replaces copperlines with digital, there will be no service, no way to call for help in the event of a power outage more than a couple of hours.

Telus on Denman

https://theislandsgrapevine.com/  (see page 2)

4)  A petition encouraging local Islands Trust Committees to create protective Antenna Siting Policies (and to not adopt the proposed Trust-wide antenna siting model being proposed) has been placed as an ad in The Sounder on Gabriola, the Gulf Islands Driftwood on Salt Spring, and The Islands GrapeVine and the Flagstone on Denman and Hornby.   Islanders are encouraged to cut the petition out, circulate it, and submit it to their local Trust Committees.  This petition could easily be amended to apply to each community and municipal council.  I hope that many of you will use this, get neighbours and friends to sign and pass around, and present to your local council.

The petition can be found  at:

http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/07/Antenna-Siting-Policy-Petition-to-Islands-Trust-page-1.pdf

5)  Finally, an MLA has written to BC Hydro on behalf of a constituent regarding the threats to disconnect power and asking for consideration for her constituent.   Please see letters to and from Sonia Furstenau. BC Hydro responded with info that is not accurate about the 88,000 smeters that were replaced in January 2016.  As reported in The Province  https://theprovince.com/news/b-c-hydro-must-remove-more-than-88000-smart-meters , the cost for replacement was $20 miliion and BC Hydro says 48,000 were due to Measurement Canada requiring periodic testing for accuracy. The smeters had not been in long enough to require re-certification. New analog meters were tested after 12 years and I can’t imagine that smeters would be tested sooner than that.

We have asked for statistics on meters failing and having to be replaced and why these weren’t covered by ITRON’s warranty but have received no response. So BC Hydro is consistent and provides incorrect/false information to the government as well as they do to us.

Letters:

Comment from Sharon:  I’ve advised Lavonne of one error.  Analog meters were not CSA certified and didn’t need to be because they were electro-mechanical devices, not electrical as are the smeters. 

From: Lavonne Garnett  (name given with permission)
To: “sonia furstenau mla” <Sonia.Furstenau.MLA@leg.bc.ca>
Cc: “tricia datene” <tricia.datene@leg.bc.ca>, “citizensforsafertech” <citizensforsafertech@shaw.ca>
Sent: September 22, 2019
Subject: Re: Smart meters

Sonia & Tricia,

Thank you very much for all your efforts, your time and care, as well as your letter below to BC Hydro. I will certainly share with Citizens for Safe Technology and others. It is remarkable that a petition of 70 signatures recently has been gathered in your constituency.

BC Hydro has written much the same to you as they do to all of us. They do not respond to concerns you cited about emr, our rights under the Canadian Constitution, and the facts about fires associated with Smart Meters, perhaps because those were not explicit questions.

I wonder how it is that Minister Coleman’s promise that we could keep our analogue meters could be undone, and that we, the public, were not informed of that.

For your information, one of the major concerns is that Smart Meters don’t have any mark of safety on them, no BC Hydro professional engineer has signed off on them for safety, and the BCUC’s mandate to oversee safety was taken away by the Liberal’s Clean Energy Act. How can it be that these untested or uncertified “smeters” can be forced on us? Analogues were CSA certified and Measurement Canada calibrated, as well as are non-combustible, made of metal and glass. What about our Constitutional Rights to life, liberty and security? Would you please explain how the Green Party/NDP Government can ensure that this is investigated and our rights are guaranteed?

As you suggested, I am composing a letter to the Ombudsperson and will Cc to you when done. However, I don’t know if the Ombudsperson will address our Constitutional Rights, so I see this as an opportunity for your party to ensure our human rights are upheld.

I sincerely appreciate your support and recognition of this issue. You have written on a Sunday, going beyond, and I hope you have managed to find time to rest!

Lavonne Garnett

******************************

From: “Furstenau.MLA, Sonia” <Sonia.Furstenau.MLA@leg.bc.ca>
To: “LAVONE GARNET”
Sent: 22 September, 2019
Subject: Smart meters

Hello Lavonne,

If you like, you can share this email exchange between my constituency assistant and BC Hydro with your list.

Email from MLA’s Office:

From: Furstenau.MLA, Sonia [mailto:Sonia.Furstenau.MLA@leg.bc.ca]
Sent: 2019, September 10
To: Customer, Relations
Cc: Minister, EMPR EMPR:EX
Subject: Furstenau, S [External] Disconnections re Smart Meters

Hello,
We in this Constituency Office have been getting a lot of requests for help in dealing with BC Hydro’s threats of disconnection for refusal of smart meter installation.  There is a local group formed to fight this and they have a petition with about 70 names on it opposing this technology. They quoted Section 7 of the Canadian Constitution (right to life, liberty and security of the person) and stated their reasons for feeling threatened by this technology. They brought in some articles about the dangers of radiation from this type of equipment, and a copy of the petition.

•        In B.C. Hydro needs to remove more than 88,000 smart meters that are either faulty or may not meet Measurement Canada standards, public records show.
On top of that, the Crown corporation wants to replace 8,200 old analog meters and introduce nearly 5,000 new meters that work in rural areas that have poor wireless connections.
The total bill will be at least $20 million.

•        In 2011, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer classified radio frequency electromagnetic fields as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”
Source: Bob Mackin, The Province, January 19, 2016 B

Some of the concerns of citizens include:

–          Higher Bills

–          Cost of program

–          Fires

–          Health problems

–          Privacy

–          Safety

–          Security

In July 2013, following significant opposition by customers, the provincial government directed BC Hydro to provide an opt-out program (with associated charges).  Smart meters have not been popular in BC. In November 2011, the Union of British Columbia Municipalities voted in favour of a moratorium to suspend smart meter installations. Smart Meters have also been linked to real physical fires all over the country. In August 2014 the Ontario Fire Marshal said smart meters have been linked to 13 fires and 23 incident reports from 2011 to 2013.

My Questions Are:

1.       Is there any way that a consumer can opt out of the smart meter program?

2.       Why is it that in 2016, you needed to remove more than 88,000 smart meters which were either faulty or did not meet standards and now you are expecting the public to support the new program?

3.       Why has this opt-out program changed and why are all BC Hydro customers required to change to smart meters or face disconnection.

Yours,

Tricia Datené / Constituency Assistant
Constituency Office of Sonia Furstenau, MLA
164 Station St, Duncan, BC V9L 1M7
Phone: 250-715-2793 | Fax: (778) 698-8934
Website | Facebook | Twitter

*****************

Response from BC Hydro:

From: Customer, Relations <customer.relations@bchydro.com>
Sent: September 16, 2019
To: Furstenau.MLA, Sonia
Cc: Customer, Relations
Subject: FW: Furstenau, S Disconnections re Smart Meters

Dear Ms. Datene,

We are in receipt of your emails dated September 10 and September 12, 2019 regarding the Smart Meter Installation (SMI) program. We will be responding to the questions you presented in your September 10 correspondence in this response.

Installation of smart meters was mandated by the BC Clean Energy Act. This program has not changed since it was added by the Provincial Government through Direction No. 4 to BCUC on Meter Choices Policy back in September, 2013.

In summary, on July 18, 2013, the Minister of Energy and Mines announced the Meter Choices Program to offer new meter options for customers who had delayed their smart meter installation to that point.

The Meter Choices Program offers eligible residential customers a choice of:

a)      installation of a standard smart meter at no cost,

b)      installation of a “radio-off” meter (which still captures hourly consumption information) for a one-time set-up fee of $22.60, a monthly operating fee of $20.00 and a one-time exit fee of $55.00 when moving or changing to a smart meter, or

c)       retention of an existing legacy meter (electro-mechanical or digital) for a monthly operating fee of $32.40 – for as long as we still have stock available.

At the time BC Hydro applied to the BCUC for approval of the Meter Choice Program fees it was clear that once BC Hydro no longer had stock of legacy meters, customers must choose either a radio-off meter or a standard smart meter. Section 4.2.3.3 of BC Hydro’s Electric Tariff states:
In any case where the seal of a Legacy Meter expires, or the meter ceases to function properly, and BC Hydro does not have a suitable Legacy Meter in its meter inventory available for installation, BC Hydro will install either a Smart Meter or a Radio-off Meter at the Customer’s Premises, at the Customer’s election.

These fees help recover the additional cost of maintaining a separate metering solution, including additional resources such as:

·         staff: people to manually read the non-communicating meters,

·         equipment: additional meter reading devices and check meters,

·         assets: such as additional telecommunications infrastructure to overcome the gaps created in our meter communications network, and

·         systems: modification to the meter data and billing systems to accommodate for customers with non-communicating meters.
For more information regarding Direction No. 4 please visit:  https://www.bcuc.com/Documents/SpecialDirections/2013/OIC-391-SD4-BCHSMI-Options.pdf

With respect to the 88,000 meters that were exchanged, the exchanges fell into two categories. First, Meters, like any electronic equipment are replaced due to normal course of business: broken screens, software upgrades, exterior damage etc.  BC Hydro anticipated replacing 10,000 smart meters per year from 2012 – 2016.  The other 48,000 meters were part of Measurement Canada’s routine meter testing process to verify they are measuring accurately. For BC Hydro’s full response to this matter please visit:
https://www.bchydro.com/news/press_centre/news_releases/2016/why-we-may-need-to-exchange-some-meters.html

I trust we have addressed your questions raised.  If there is anything further we can assist with please let me know.

Sincerely,

Gordon Doyle
Sr. Manager, Customer Service Ops

*****************

Sonia Furstenau, MLA
Cowichan Valley
Website: www.soniafurstenaumla.ca
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sonia4cowichan
Twitter: @soniafurstenau

 

Sharon Noble, Director, Coalition to Stop Smart Meters

 “The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.”    ~  Edmund Burke or John Stuart Mill…

www.stopsmartmetersbc.com