Category Archives: BC Hydro

Are Cell Phones and Tablets Frying Your Kid’s Brains? Why is BC Charging so much for Smart Meters?

(audio 24:01) [Bills – Health] Are Cell Phones and Tablets Frying Your Kid’s Brains? Sharon NobleApril 14, 2017 – The Goddard Report with Jim Goddard by talkdigitalnetwork – YouTube – April 14, 2017:

(Why is BC Charging so much for Smart Meters?
Guest’s website: http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.com/)
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The Goddard Report Video Archives of Interviews with Sharon Noble, Director, Coalition to Stop Smart Meters

re Smart Meters and Health Issues from Wireless Technologies:

https://www.youtube.com/user/talkdigitalnetwork/search?query=sharon+noble

Sharon Noble’s Final Argument re. the Tariff changes being made by BC Hydro – October 08, 2016

bc-hydro    bcuc

As you will recall, Sept. 2015 BC Hydro submitted an application to the BCUC ostensibly concerning amended rate structures, and nothing else. I asked directly if there would be anything else that could possibly affect the Coalition members and was told no. I decided to intervene anyway just so I could receive updates. In December, 2015, just before Christmas, a document was sent which showed significant changes to the Electric Tariff that had nothing to do with the rate changes BCH was asking for. When I questioned this, I was told that Hydro can have the Tariff changed whenever they submit an application, and the changes are not limited to items pertaining to the application. This means that whenever there is an application for whatever reason, changes can be made without the public being told or having a chance to respond. I believe this is wrong. There are sections in the Tariff today which are bizarre and worrisome, that were written, sometimes many years ago, without the public knowing.

In Dec. when I tried to intervene with questions, BCUC said I was no longer an intervener. With your help, they kindly reinstated my intervener status. I was able to pose these questions over and over, and each time BC Hydro has responded with non-answers. I don’t know if you recall the presentation of my questions in August at the hearing (by a kind and generous lawyer from the BCPIAC on my behalf). Hydro brushed them off, saying I was asking, to a large degree, for changes in business practices. It is clear that BCH does not want the Tariff to be a “service agreement” or a “contract” but rather a meaningless document that will be interpreted by them to help them when they wish. It sure won’t help us.  Neither will they document their “business practices” either in the Tariff nor on their website. How, for example, are people to know that Hydro has agreed to attempt to notify you before they turn your power off? How are you to know that if you live in colder areas of the province, BCH has a pilot project to keep your power on over the winter? How are you to know that Hydro will operate in a manner that is according to the Tariff, e.g. not try to bill you for their mistakes?

Unfortunately, none of the other groups has raised these concerns. I frankly doubt that the BCUC will support my requests to strengthen the Tariff for BC Hydro’s customers. Once the Tariff is changed it will be hard to get it back – but we must call this process what it is – a charade. If we later complain about something that BCH is doing, they will point to the Tariff and say they have no option, the BCUC has told them it must be done this way, as if BCUC has written the Tariff. We may be forced to submit our own action to address the Tariff before the BCUC.

I submitted the following:

BRITISH COLUMBIA UTILITIES COMMISSION
BC HYDRO RATE APPLICATION
FINAL ARGUMENT, SHARON NOBLE
OCTOBER 8, 2016

Overview:

  1. This is my final argument on behalf of myself and on behalf of the public who depend upon the Tariff to inform and protect them.
  1. This is written in response to BC Hydro’s final argument, Sept. 26, 2016.
  1. This is written in response to BC Hydro’s Undertaking No. 29.
  1. As a private citizen and an individual intervener, since Dec. 2015 I have asked BC Hydro (BCH) questions about the Tariff and the changes being proposed. BCH has responded but has not answered them.
  1. The Electric Tariff is, according to BC Hydro, the service agreement between BC Hydro and its customers. There is just one problem: few customers ever see it, fewer yet read it, and none have the opportunity to negotiate its terms. This is a “take it or leave it” unilateral agreement.

BC Hydro writes the Tariff, determines the terms and conditions, and interprets how they are applied. Even though, technically, the customer can intervene when reviews are done, few know about the process and far fewer participate. And as I’ve experienced, the process is frustrating because not only is it cumbersome, there is no recourse when BC Hydro refuses to answer the questions asked.

  1. BC Hydro refuses to clarify or document in the Tariff or on its website some terms and conditions because they are “business practices.”  Many of these business practices directly impact on customers, who may not be aware that they even exist. As a customer of BC Hydro, it seems to be good business practice to have an informed customer, one who know his rights and his obligations, and who believes he is being treated fairly and transparently. How are customers supposed to know what to expect if practices are hidden – not in the Tariff (the service agreement) or on BC Hydro’s website? How can customers know that they are being treated in the same manner as other customers rather than arbitrarily?
  1. BC Utilities Commission is the arbiter, acting on behalf of BC Hydro’s customers. Therefore, I appeal to the Commission to consider the requests below for clarification, documentation, and consideration.

Relief sought:  Format

  • Initial question asked
  • BC Hydro’s response in its Final Argument:  Part V: Comments on other Issues that have arisen
  •  My response as the intervener’s argument.
  1.   256. Question 1

Would BC Hydro be willing to amend the definition of “radio off meter” to include a sentence that says it is a smart meter adjusted so that the meter’s components that transmit and receive data by radio are deactivated. And if not, why not?

So in other words, to include the word — not only the words “transmit” but also “receive data 311

  1. BCH Response
  1.  BC Hydro assumes that Mr. and Mrs. Noble seek assurance that Radio-Off Meters do not receive data through wireless means. With respect, the definition should reflect the allowed functionality of the Radio-off Meter and should not be an indirect means to limit their use. Regardless, and as a matter of fact, Radio-off Meters do not receive data wirelessly. 312  Finally, BC Hydro notes that under common dictionary definitions the word “transmit” has a broad meaning that encompasses both sending and receiving.

In an earlier response Noble IR 2.4.1, BCH said: “As part of the proposed revisions to the Terms and Conditions included in Exhibit B-1-1, BC Hydro proposed adding “and/or receive data” to the definition of Smart Meter. In Exhibit B-7, and in response to Ms. Noble’s email of January 6, 2016 attached to Exhibit A-9, BC Hydro noted that the proposed change to the definition of Smart Meter is of a minor nature and not necessary.”

Intervener’s  Argument:

I disagree that the proposed change to the definition is minor and unnecessary. Customers who are paying $20 a month for a radio-off meter have been told that the transmitter is entirely disabled and it will neither send nor receive data. I believe it is reasonable to amend the definition of the radio-off meter to stipulate this, and it is unreasonable not to do so.  By not including this definition in the Tariff  BCH has the flexibility to amend the usage without notification or permission from the customer.  Under a services agreement, as stated by BCH, terms are agreed to by both BCH and the customer.

BC Hydro assures that the “radio-off” meter does not receive or send data wirelessly yet says that by amending the definition in the Tariff to clarify this for customers would affect the allowed functionality of the radio-off meter, limiting its use. This is a contradiction. If the radio off meter does not send or receive data, there is no functionality to the meter’s transmitter with which to interfere.

BCH asserts that the Dictionary definition of “transmit” encompasses sending and receiving. The common definition under standard dictionaries and Roget’s Thesaurus include no references to receiving, only to sending.
E.g.  http://www.dictionary.com/browse/transmit

The customer is asking for a clarification of the functions of the radio off meter, and in my humble opinion the appropriate place for this is in the definitions. I ask that BC Hydro reconsider its stance regarding this simple request to clarify in the Tariff what the “radio off” meter actually is.

  1.   260. Question 3

The initial question in the IR 2.5 was:

Does the amended Electric Tariff that BC Hydro is proposing state clearly anywhere that BC Hydro must operate within the terms of the Electric Tariff?

BCH Response:

BC Hydro states in response to Noble IR 2.5.1 that the electric tariff is not technically in the nature of a contract between BC Hydro and its customers, but BC Hydro holds customers to the terms and conditions of service contained in the electric tariff as if the tariff is a contract. Ms. Noble also understands that in addition to the term “service agreement” the electric tariff also uses the term “contract” to describe BC Hydro’s relationship with its customers.

Question: How does the service agreement differ from the contract between BC Hydro and its customers?314

BCH Response:

261. The references to “service agreement”, “contract”  and similar expressions in the Electric Tariff and various tariff supplements have any no bearing on the nature of the legal relationship between BC Hydro and its customers. That relationship lacks some of the essential features of contractual relationships recognized at law including, for example, consensus ad idem, a mutual intention to enter into a legally binding relationship, and so on. Generally, the terms and conditions of service as set by the Commission are better thought of as an enactment or set of enactments more akin to regulations or other subordinate legislation issued by entities empowered by statute to do so.

Intervener’s Argument:

The initial question was never answered. It pertained to the removal of section 2.1 of the Tariff which states:

“BC Hydro serves Customers solely in accordance with the Electric Tariff, including Terms and Conditions and Rate Schedules…”

Specifically the question asked by Ms. Khan on my behalf reiterated my initial question, which has yet to be answered.

BC Hydro took this as an undertaking and responded as follows:

BCH’s RESPONSE in the Undertaking 29 – Revised

Yes, section 2.1 of Terms and Conditions, page 2-1, Appendix G-1A, Exhibit B-1-1 states:

“The Service Agreement between a Customer and BC Hydro will comprise, to the extent applicable, the application for Service, as accepted by BC Hydro, the provisions of the Terms and Conditions and Rate Schedules, and any additional terms and conditions of Service agreed by BC Hydro and the Customer in an Electric Tariff Supplement or otherwise.”

The definition of Service Agreement is also included in section 1 of the proposed Terms and Conditions:

“The agreement setting out the rights and responsibilities of BC Hydro and a Customer for Service, including the application for Service accepted by BC Hydro (if any), all applicable provisions of the Terms and Conditions and applicable Rate Schedule(s), and any additional terms and conditions of Service as agreed by BC Hydro and the Customer in an Electric Tariff Supplement or otherwise.”

Intervener’s Argument:

With all due respect, this revision is in no way comparable to the statement which limits BCH’s actions to those included in the Tariff. Instead, phrases such as “to the extent applicable”, means that BCH can do whatever it wishes to in any individual situation, with no accountability or explanation.

Another major concern with this revised statement is that it implies that the customer has an opportunity to participate in negotiating the service agreement, which is not accurate. It is clear to all that when a new customer applies for electrical service, they must pay their bills as presented, and accept whatever conditions BC Hydro applies. The customer has no recourse because there is no competition and no alternative other than going off grid.

FOLLOWUP QUESTION:  Why is the current statement which is clear and succinct being removed from the Tariff?  It reads:

“BC Hydro serves Customers solely in accordance with the Electric Tariff, including Terms and Conditions and Rate Schedules.”

The customer deserves to be assured that BC Hydro is acting and will act according to the terms agreed to by BCUC and installed in the Tariff. In the past it was necessary for customers to refer to the Tariff to ensure that they were treated as required. As examples: Over the last year or so, several people who still have analog meters have been told that they must take a smart meter because they had not paid the legacy fee of $32.40 a month. But when they referred to the Tariff, it says clearly that Hydro will bill customers for the legacy fee. In these instances BCH had erred in not billing this fee. These people had paid everything they were billed. When the smart meter department was referred to the Tariff, they agreed that the analog could be kept BUT that the people would have to pay the fee back to Dec. 2013. The Tariff clearly says that if BCH makes a billing error the customer is responsible for paying at most 6 months back payments. It was only when the billing and/or the smart meter departments were referred to the Tariff that the corrections were made.

Without the stipulation that BCH is held to the terms and conditions of the Tariff, the customer would be left with little to ensure that the Tariff is being followed. BC Hydro assertion that they do not put “business practices” in the Tariff means that their customers, in many regards, are left uninformed about their service, their obligations and their rights.

  1.  262. Question 4

“In Ms. Noble’s view, the exemption of liability acts to protect BC Hydro at the potential expense of the customer. Ms.Noble believes that the exemption disincentivizes BC Hydro and its employees and agents from acting in a safe, reliable and responsible manner, as is required by the tariff and encourages irresponsible, unsafe conduct on the part of BC Hydro’s employees and agents as there is an exemption from liability.

So to clarify, does the exemption from liability extend to wilful misconduct of BC Hydro employees and agents?

  1. As set out in the Electric Tariff and in BC Hydro’s response to Sharon Noble IR 2.8.1 316  BC Hydro “shall not be responsible or liable for any loss, injury, damage or expense… unless the loss, injury, damage or expense is directly resulting from the willful misconduct of [BC Hydro]… provided, however, that [BC Hydro is] … not responsible for … economic loss even if the loss is directly resulting from the willful misconduct of [BC Hydro].”
  1. Question 5

If BC Hydro’s employees are not subject to penalties or liability for negligence, how can customers be assured that BC Hydro will not cause harm to customers and the public while providing electricity service?317

  1. This question is fully answered by BC Hydro’s response to Sharon Noble IR 2.8.1. 318

Intervener’s Argument:

Response:

In section 2.8.1 BCH says that there is a policy to impose some liability risk … for the most egregious conduct.

The narrower exemption from liability for wilful misconduct in section 9.5 of BC Hydro’s Electric Tariff and section 8.1 of FortisBC Inc.’s tariff reflects a policy choice to impose some liability risk on electric utilities for the most egregious conduct, while still ensuring that a successful lawsuit or claim is unlikely to undermine the utility’s financial well-being and ability to provide service.

BCH should explain where this risk is accepted and explained.  There is nothing in the current wording that takes responsibility for any damage, or liability.

The term “economic loss” is not defined and this lack of clarity serves to confuse the statement.

This exemption from liability has allowed BCH to make decisions or to allow decisions to be made on their behalf which has resulted in property loss or damage for which they deny liability. One example pertains to the hiring of unqualified persons to install smart meters. Normally this job is done by a linesman or some other electrical expert with significant experience and training. BC Hydro contracted with Corix to hire people with no relevant training or experience. Corix gave these new hirees a few hours training and allowed them to exchange meters in a manner that is counter to all electrical safety standards. In many cases electrical equipment and appliances were damaged or ruined, and BC Hydro refused to compensate the victim. I believe that if BCH were held liable, only qualified personnel would have been allowed to install these devices and would have done so according to protocol set by the Canadian Standards Association, e.g. CSA C22.2 No. 115-141.5 which stipulates that the exchange not be made with the meter being live, and customers would not have suffered economic loss.

I understand that BCH has this ‘no risk statement’, as do other utilities, to limit losses and to prevent lawsuits. BCH is putting itself in a position that is highly advantageous compared to that of its customers. Not only can BCH cause damage and walk away from liability, but it has the financial resources to fight anyone attempting to obtain reimbursement for damage done. The only recourse for most people is to apply to their insurer to make repairs, which can be limited and results in higher premiums.

  1.   266. Question 6

So one of the justifications posed by BC Hydro for the exemption from liability is that the exemption has been in place since 1980. And I believe this is contained in one of the IR responses. How does length of time in the tariff make the exemption right or fair? 319

BCH Response:

  1. The observation in BC Hydro’s response to Sharon Noble’s IR 2.8.1 that the current limitation of liability provisions in the Electric Tariff have been in place since at least 1980 was made to indicate that the provision has been long accepted and not controversial despite being subject to complaint processes and/or the Commission’s authority for about 36 years.

Intervener’s Argument:

The response that this no liability statement has been in the Tariff since 1980 does not mean it is right or fair. The vast majority of BCH’s customers do not know there is a Tariff and few have ever read it. Those to whom I have shown this statement are outraged, as am I, that customers have few rights or protections, and no guarantee that BCH would be held accountable in any regard for defective equipment or poorly trained personnel which leads to loss of property or life. This is hard to justify and equally hard to understand.

BC Hydro has failed to explain why a customer should not be protected against errors, unsafe conduct or willful negligence by its employees, without using the claim that this is for the sake of the long-term financial well-being of the corporation and the stability of the rates.

  1.   268. Question 7

Is BC Hydro responsible for damage sustained by customers that result from power surges caused by BC Hydro? 320

BCH Response:

  1. As noted above BC Hydro is generally exempt from lability (sic) for losses arising from, among other things, “defect in the supply of Electricity”, except where caused by “wilful misconduct”, in which case BC Hydro is still exempt from liability for economic losses. Accordingly BC Hydro expects that in most if not all cases it would not be liable for losses caused by a power surge.

Intervener’s Argument:

Power surges can be caused by removal of meters from homes without shutting the power off. As stated above, this is counter to CSA standards. Due to the fact that electricity is dangerous, BCH must be held to a standard that ensures public safety. If there are no ramifications for non-compliance with laws and regulations, the public cannot be assured of the safe delivery of this essential service.

Further, if the Tariff is weakened so that BCH is not held to the terms of the Tariff, BCUC will have no grounds for oversight.

If BC Hydro operates outside the terms of the Tariff and safety standards/regulations, and damage is caused by BC Hydro and/or its employees, other than engaging a lawyer and, at great expense, suing BC Hydro, how can a customer be compensated?

Submitted with respect,
Sharon Noble

 

Rebuttal to BCUC Final Order & Final Response to Smart Meter Fire Safety Concerns Complaint

2016-08-28 BCUC is failing to protect the public

I have shared the response that BCUC sent me on July 28, 2016 in which they basically said that despite all of the many problems re. reporting, tracking, monitoring, etc., they choose to believe that there were no problems and said that there would be no formal report. It was up to me to provide more information to convince them that there is something wrong.

Below is my rebuttal, and the covering letter that has been sent to every MLA and every major media outlet. Please help by sharing this with friends, relatives, your MLA, media in your area, and with your responses to BCUC.

Sharon Noble
Director, Coalition to Stop Smart Meters

BCUC Final Order – Response to Smart Meter Fire Safety Concerns

______________________________________________________________________

To: Every MLA and media outlet
[http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/BC-Contact-List-2016-03-20.pdf
&
http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.com/contacts-media/]

After years of sending information about fires associated with smart meters, and evidence that many had failed, and having received in return responses from BCUC that their hands were tied by the Clean Energy Act, I lodged a formal complaint on July 13, 2015 in which I accused BCUC of failing to do its job as mandated by the BC Utilities Act. Under this Act one of BCUC’s prime duties is to ensure that service is provided to the public in a safe and efficient manner. I provided 6 examples (from the many that I have gathered over the years) to support my assertion that smart meters have caused fires, asking that an independent investigation be undertaken by experts in electrical engineering to determine if these devices were safe.

BCUC eventually agreed to review the information I’d provided, and in Feb, 2016 sent me a draft report, asking for my comments by early March. The draft, while incomplete, was damning. I identified shortfalls and provided data to substantiate my charges. The entire draft report with my responses can be found at

http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.com/bcucs-draft-staff-report-on-smart-meter-fire-safety-concerns/.

On Jul 28, 2016 BCUC wrote to tell me that no final report would be forthcoming because, and I quote:

“At this time your complaint is closed as the evidence reviewed does not demonstrate an increased fire safety risk related to smart meters. However the Commission has determined that there are gaps in reporting incidents where the meter and/or meter base is the possible source of a high temperature or fire event and is directing BC Hydro and FortisBC to file semi-annual incident reports.”

1.    Despite there being many infractions of laws and regulations

a)    BC Hydro and Fortis remove meters from the scenes of fires before the fire inspection has been completed;

b)    Office of the Fire Commission (OFC) does not receive fire reports in a timely manner and consistently;

c)    Fire departments do not call BC Safety Authority to inspect the fire scene whenever the cause of the fire is believed to have been electrical in nature.

2.    Despite there being no tracking of fires

a)     BC Hydro does not track smart meter incidents after installation;

b)    OFC does not have a code for smart meters and merely codes them as “electrical”.

c)     Fire departments, in many instances,  are not filing reports with the OFC or is doing so inconsistently or late. Annual reports are therefore incomplete and unreliable.

d)    BC Safety Authority (BCSA) does not track fires that have been inspected for the largest communities in BC:  Maple Ridge, Burnaby, No. Vancouver (City), No. Vancouver (District), Surrey, Vancouver, Victoria, West Vancouver.

3.    Despite there being evidence from electrical engineers and admissions by certification bodies that these meters have design flaws that could pose fire hazards

BCUC has decided that there is no reason for concern and that it is up to the complainant, me, to provide sufficient additional evidence to persuade BCUC to do their job. Their formal response to me can be found at  http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/BC-HydroFortisBC-Customer-Complaint-Smart-Meter-Fire-Safety-July-28-2016.pdf  and below is my rebuttal.

It is high time that someone with authority take this matter seriously. Lives are at risk for no reason.

Yours truly,
Sharon Noble

______________________________________________________________________

From: Sharon Noble
Sent: August 28, 2016
To: commission.secretary@bcuc.com
Subject: RESPONSE TO G-124-16_BCH-FBC-Smart Meter Safety Complaint (003) –2

Dear Ms. Ross,

Re: British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority and FortisBC Inc.
Customer Complaint – Smart Meter/Advanced Meter Fire Safety
July 13, 2015                                                                                                                       

I received your letter of July 28, 2016 along with the justification for your decision not to finalize the draft report on smart meter fire safety.  I must admit to being not only frustrated by your decision but also confused by it and the basis upon which it was made.  Rather than write a lengthy rebuttal of the summary you’ve provided, I will make my observations and comments. You are considering the file closed but I cannot because I have concerns which have yet to be addressed and are too important to be disregarded by the BCUC.

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[KEY:  Highlighted text is from Sharon Noble]

1)    “At this time your complaint is closed as the evidence reviewed does not demonstrate an increased fire safety risk related to smart meters. However the Commission has determined that there are gaps in reporting incidents where the meter and/or meter base is the possible source of a high temperature or fire event and is directing BC Hydro and FortisBC to file semi-annual incident reports.”  (Covering Letter)

The BCUC agrees that the reporting of incidents has “gaps”, yet believes that there is evidence to support the supposition that smart meters do not increase risk of fires. This is inconsistent and illogical.

2)    “The British Columbia Hydro and Power Authority and FortisBC Inc. are directed to report to the British Columbia Utilities Commission 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. All such incidents must be reported to the appropriate authority or authorities for investigation, as appropriate. If no such authority is appropriate, then the utility must conduct its own investigation as to the cause of the incident.”  (Pg. 2/2)

Given that evidence shows that BC Hydro and the various agencies have failed to comply with regulations already in place, I have serious concerns that the recommendations made by BCUC will be enforced or followed. The fox-henhouse analogy seems appropriate in this situation.

a)     Information regarding failed and burned meters, and their design flaws have been provided to many agencies, including the BCUC for years. Why has there been no independent investigation by a qualified forensic electrical expert to determine if the meters were safe or not? If these in fact are dangerous, lives and property are being put at risk.

b)    What oversight will occur to ensure that incidents are reported consistently and correctly? They are supposed to be reported to the BCSA now and are not. How will BCUC know when there are “gaps”? It was not until I made my complaint and provided evidence that gaps occurred and regulations were not being followed that BCUC was aware that this was occurring.

c)    BC Hydro and Fortis have not been ordered to follow all regulations, have not been ordered to require an inspection by BCSA for possible electrical fires, and have not been ordered to not remove meters from the scenes of fires before the BCSA and the fire/insurance inspectors have completed their investigations. What is changing from the current situation? Now that you have proof that laws are not being complied with, why is no one being reprimanded? What will be the penalties for future disregard of the laws?

d)    BC Hydro and Fortis have not been ordered to submit for inspection all failed meters that have overheated but where fires were prevented. Without independent expert review of the failed meters, all other reporting is meaningless.

3)    “While complainant states that “…[smart] meters are dangerous” and “should not be on homes in BC,” the Panel more precisely defines the issue as whether smart meters materially increase the risk of fires in BC over analog and digital meters already in use in British Columbia.”  (Pg. 2/15 item 4.1)

What data are you basing this on? You already acknowledge that there is no data available. This is a red herring.

Smart meters cause fires. Analogs do not cause fires. I have asked BC Hydro for evidence that analogs have and could cause fires and have received nothing. This is because no evidence exists. I have asked firemen, fire inspectors, and insurance inspectors for evidence that analogs have caused fires and have been told they do not. Analogs are non-combustible, being made of glass and metal, and have no digital circuitry. Smart meters are combustible, made largely of plastic and they come with electrolytic capacitors or lithium batteries that explode if they get too hot. There is no comparison, so defining the issue as BCUC has is misleading and disingenuous.  (see below for further examples)

Analogs withstand hot sockets better than smart meters.  https://smartgridawareness.org/2014/10/16/analog-meters-withstand-hot-sockets-better-than-smart-meters/

Analogs immune to surges  https://smartgridawareness.org/2015/06/29/utility-industry-aware-of-issues-with-digital-meters-for-years/   Note: smart meters are digital meters.

Digital Utility Meters Have “Voltage Transient Susceptibility” 

Although the EPRI document was ostensibly written about meter “accuracy,” it reveals a fundamental safety weakness with regard to all digital meters (as compared with analog meters) in a section entitled, “Voltage Transient Susceptibility.”  Quoting the document:

“The electronic circuits of solid state meters connect to the AC line to draw operating power and to perform voltage measurement. …  A range of electronic clamping and filtering com­ponents are used to protect the electronics from these voltage surges, but these components have limitations.  The ANSI C12.1 metering standard specifies the magnitude and number of surges that meters must tolerate. …  In any case, surges that exceed the tested limits, either in quantity or magnitude, could cause meter damage or failure.”

Electromechanical meters had no digital circuitry.  They utilized spark-gaps to control the location of arc-over and to dissipate the energy of typical voltage events.  As a result, they were generally immune to standard surge events.  This nature is evidenced in the section of ANSI C12.1 that specifies voltage surge testing, but al­lows that ‘This test may be omitted for electromechanical meters and registers’.”

https://smartgridawareness.org/2015/06/29/utility-industry-aware-of-issues-with-digital-meters-for-years/

4)    “On December 18, 2015, S.N. provided an email to the Commission with two hyperlinks. One hyperlink includes a discussion on a new Underwriters Laboratory (an American safety standard agency) voluntary safety standard for electric utility meters”  (Pg. 6/15)

This letter ignores the relevant and most significant portion of the statement provided in the hyperlink about the new UL standard that acknowledges that smart meters have design flaws that concern utilities and meter companies re. fires.  Is this because BCUC has no interest in finding out if these meters are fire hazards?  An objective observer might conclude that BCUC has no problem allowing devices on our homes that put property and lives at risk.

5)    “second provides an Answering Brief submitted to the United States of America National Labour Relations Board where statements from persons involved in the case regarding smart meters were cited including the following: “part of the problem was a loose connection between the meter and the meter base because the smart meters had thinner ‘blades’ than the previous analog meters” and “the loose connection caused heat, which, in turn, caused an electrical arc, which resulted in ‘two pallets of burned up meters’.”  (Pg. 6/15)

The report does not mention that linesmen with many years of experience were warning that the smart meters were faulty and were causing fires. Neither does this report acknowledge that the smart meters that did not fit the meter base correctly, as referred to in the Answering Brief, were the ITRON Centron II meters, the same model used in BC. Neither does it mention that the meter bases have not been certified by CSA to hold a combustible smart meter.

6)    “4.2.1 Fire reporting in BC Commission staff reviewed the fire reporting system in BC and found that data on reportable fires occurring in BC are collected by the OFC, under the authority of the Fire Services Act. Local fire departments must investigate and,report all fires to the OFC. In addition, if the cause of a fire is suspected to involve electrical equipment, the local fire department must notify the BC Safety Authority.6”  (Pg. 6/15)

The summary ignores my evidence that in many instances the fires are not being reported to the OFC and the BCSA is not being notified when the fire cause is believed to have been electrical in nature. Saying that this is a legal requirement is one thing, but without oversight and penalties, these laws are meaningless. No one seems to have known before I presented the evidence and no one has confirmed that in fact this is happening. Without accurate data and with those responsible denying there is any problem, no meaningful conclusions can be made. This alone is sufficient to call for an independent investigation into the numerous deficiencies within the system. BCUC has the responsibility and the authority to demand corrective action and is doing nothing.

7)     “SN has provided evidence of eight specific incidents. This evidence was used by the Commission to justify conducting this review of the complaint but it is not sufficiently comprehensive to be used directly to refute the OFC data which, as discussed above, is credible data for the whole province. The onus is on the complainant to present persuasive evidence or a persuasive case to support their complaint; in this case, S.N. has not done that.”  (Pg. 9/15)

A major reason for my complaint is that BCUC is not performing its duties according to the BC Utilities Commission Act and I have provided damning evidence to support this assertion.

I have provided strong evidence to warrant concern and action, yet BCUC is giving credence to OFC data which is incomplete and inaccurate over 8 specific incidents where smart meters have failed and burned. I limited the number I provided to 8 because that was sufficient for the government of Saskatchewan to take action.  May I ask how many incidents would be sufficient for you acknowledge there is a problem? 12? 20?   Please let me know and I will provide that information.

Even though I am not an expert and am not being paid, as are those reviewing and refuting this information, the onus is being put on me to provide evidence that the smart meters are fire hazards.  Rather it is the BCUC and BC Hydro who rightly have the responsibility to ensure that an electrical device that is being put on our homes is safe and I charge that to do otherwise is a failure of duty. This clearly is an indication that duty is not being done by the very agencies responsible for protecting the public.

Why hasn’t the BCUC consulted with forensic fire experts and independent electrical engineers? If you don’t look, you cannot find.  Likewise if you don’t want to find, you don’t look.

8)    “The Panel relies on the OFC data reported in the Garis Report because, in the view of the Panel, the fire reporting data from the OFC under the authority of the Fire Services Act is authoritative for BC. Despite the allegations made by S.N. that some fire reports are never submitted to the OFC and that some reports are submitted late the Panel considers that the reporting requirements of the Fire Services Act provide a legal requirement which supports the credibility ofthe data. As well, the Panel finds that the Garis Report is credible because it reports the OFC data and Mr. Garis, a Fire Chief and academic, is a credible author for such a report.”  (Pg. 12/15)

With all due respect, this statement makes no sense.  

The BCUC is ignoring the fact that the requirements of the Fire Services Act are not being followed, as I’ve proven. Reports are not being filed as required yet BCUC is pretending they are, just as Mr. Garis has. These are not my allegations, they are facts. I have proof. I sent you 2 examples. Do you want more? I have many.

Mr. Garis is a fire chief. I have found no evidence that he has credentials that would support the faith that BCUC places in his conclusions. Even though Garis was commissioned by and paid by Hydro for the report, he is considered unbiased.

Even though I am not paid by anyone and I have shown, and the BCUC has acknowledged, that the information the OFC used for annual reports is incomplete (with many fires missing or reported as being “undetermined” due to missing meters, for example), my evidence is ignored. The BCUC finds Mr. Garis’s conclusion credible even though it is based on this incomplete, inaccurate data. I submit that an academic has the responsibility to ensure that the data being used is correct, complete, or would make a note should there be some that is not. This is not an academic paper and to present it as such demonstrates a lack of integrity by all involved.

Again, with all due respect, garbage in, garbage out.

9)    “This evidence was used by the Commission to justify conducting this review of the complaint but it is not sufficiently comprehensive to be used directly to refute the OFC data which, as discussed above, is credible data for the whole province. The onus is on the complainant to present persuasive evidence or a persuasive case to support their complaint; in this case, S.N. has not done that.”  (Pg. 12/15)

The evidence I gave was as examples to refute the statement in the draft which said that all fires must be reported to the OFC (implying that they were). As I said in my comments, I have documentation that shows that a very high percentage of fire reports are not reported within the timeframe required by law, and many fires are not reported at all. In fact, many of the fires were reported only after I requested the report from the OFC, often many months, even years after the incident occurred. This data is the basis for the OFC annual report that Mr. Garis used for his report upon which the BCUC is depending. It appears that because this is such important information that the BCUC should be following up with the OFC. This is BCUC’s job – not mine. The onus is not mine.

10)  “In regards to S.N.’s further four requests, the Panel has authority over public utilities under the UCA. While the Panel acknowledges that overlapping jurisdictions among various public agencies can be problematic, the Commission does not have the legislative authority to address requests related to other agencies. S.N. may choose to address her concerns with the relevant agencies, including the OFC, discussed in these reasons.”  (Pg. 13/15)

The BCUC may not have legislative authority to address requests, but certainly it must have the obligation to advise the government when a major problem has been identified. The overlapping of jurisdictions is one thing, but major gaps in reporting that lead to inaccurate, incomplete knowledge or reporting of data about issues that pertain to public safety is another. To suggest that I deal with the OFC is indicative that no one is in charge. I repeat, BCUC is not doing its job.

11)  The statements from the electrical engineers were ignored, and attributed to me, a person who admits to having no expertise in the field of electrical engineering, just because the engineers didn’t use their names. Does the lack of names make the information invalid, unworthy of being confirmed with electrical experts? Why didn’t the BCUC demand that an independent forensic electrical engineer inspect the ITRON smart meter, its design, and the reported flaws to determine if in fact the design flaws could lead to fires?  This is major shortfall in BCUC’s decision. (Pg. 6/15, point 4.5)

Bottom line, BCUC admits that the reporting is poor, there are significant gaps in the data gathering, and that regulations are being broken. Despite all of this, BCUC has decided that there is no reason for concern about the safety of combustible devices that are on nearly 2 million homes and businesses in BC. Further BCUC, despite admissions of major problems with data and monitoring, sees no reason to finalize the draft report. I find it curious that much of the significant information that is in the draft report and the comments that were given as requested were omitted from this summary. Why was this valuable data excised?

It appears to me, and I believe it will appear to anyone who reads this, that the BCUC is abdicating its responsibility under the Utilities Commission Act sections 23 (2) (which was omitted from your description of your legislative authority, page 1/15) and 38, and instead is asking me to continue to monitor and report shortfalls in the system. (highlighting in Sections 23 and 38 below is mine)

General supervision of public utilities
23  (1) The commission has general supervision of all public utilities and may make orders about
(a) equipment,
(b) appliances,
(c) safety devices,
(d) extension of works or systems,
(e) filing of rate schedules,
(f) reporting, and
(g) other matters it considers necessary or advisable for
(i) the safety, convenience or service of the public, or
(ii) the proper carrying out of this Act or of a contract, charter or franchise involving use of public property or rights.
(2) Subject to this Act, the commission may make regulations requiring a public utility to conduct its operations in a way that does not unnecessarily interfere with, or cause unnecessary damage or inconvenience to, the public

Public utility must provide service
38  A public utility must
(a) provide, and
(b) maintain its property and equipment in a condition to enable it to provide, a service to the public that the commission considers is in all respects adequate, safe, efficient, just and reasonable.

= = =

The BC Utilities Commission is obligated under the BC Utilities Commission Act to protect the public. It is failing in this regard and the public deserves to know it. When the next home burns, and should lives be lost, you cannot say you didn’t know. You are on notice.

Sincerely,
Sharon Noble

This will be sent widely to every MLA, the media, and 20,000 Coalition members.

Class Action Lawsuit Update – July 20, 2016

Nomi Davis and Jessica Klein have initiated a Class Action Lawsuit against BC Hydro regarding the installation of wireless Smart Meters on their homes and businesses.

BC Smart Meter Lawsuit.CA

DECISION – JULY 12, 2016

http://citizensforsafetechnology.org/Judgment-of-Madam-Justice-Adair,84,4472

http://citizensforsafetechnology.org/CLASS-ACTION-Lawsuit-PACKAGE,2,3617

July 20, 2016: COMMENTS about Judge Adair’s DECISION not to certify the class action.  For now, please do not send in registrations or donations for legal costs.

Nobody has ever said that the challenge of bringing public accountability to BC Hydro would be easy, but significant and encouraging steps have been realized despite the court’s refusal of the application for class action certification of a civil lawsuit against BC Hydro.

Of greatest importance is that the foundational argument of the case survived the attack by BC Hydro, and the court found merit and plausibility in the success of a cause of action which embodied the Charter of Rights, Section 7 Liberty Interest. In short, the court recognized that the right to be free from government interference regarding choices of a fundamental and personal nature within one’s home was a valid argument. Now that’s a success that we would not have achieved without this class action application.

The court’s recognition of the Section 7 Liberty Interest as it relates to forced smart meter application and unacceptable microwave radiation emissions exposure therefrom is a major development and a big step up the stairway to success.

Where this court application for class action certification failed is in the identification of a common class. There are several main reasons which cause concern over smart meter installation – health damage, health concerns, fire risk, security & surveillance and billing concerns account for the majority of varied reasons which could give rise to a resident refusing a smart meter. Given that the court was analyzing the viability of the class action procedures, not the merits of the case, it is clear that the next action would be one where the class of persons would need to be narrowed so that there was a common issue within the group.

Since the court has affirmed the viability of a Section 7 Liberty Interest cause of action, now is the time to analyze how to use this valuable court decision as a relevant legal landmark upon which a refined case can be brought against BC Hydro.

It is also important to note that the decision did not assert that the microwave radiation emissions from smart meters is safe, and since the Notice of Civil Claim against BC Hydro was filed in 2013, recent credible science is reporting the possibility of devastating ill health effects from wireless exposure. Unfortunately, scientific articles which would have further supported health concerns were released after the court had closed submissions. Check out the US National Toxicology Program science article on brain and heart cancers from two years intermittent “cell phone” exposure. (http://biorxiv.org/content/early/2016/05/26/055699)

BC Hydro asserts that the Clean Energy Act allows them to act with impunity even though its actions and the roll out of the smart meter program violates our fundamental principles of a democratic society. We know that the Charter protection afforded to every individual in BC is activated when members of the public are being subjected to undemocratic and oppressive tactics of a governmental agency, and BC Hydro is not excluded from the responsibility to abide by the Charter of Rights. While we disagree with certain statements made in the court decision, we are thankful for the recognition of the validity of the Charter Section 7 Liberty Interest argument, and now continue to seek redress as we move ahead.

This decision has opened the way for individual civil claims against BC Hydro under the Charter Section 7 Liberty Interest. There can be as many individual claims as people feel their rights have been frustrated. Any customer of BC Hydro who is interested in pursuing civil action against BC Hydro is encouraged to take this Supreme Court Decision to a lawyer versed in constitutional law for an opinion on the merits of their individual situation. We would like to hear from anyone who receives legal advice affirming their case against BC Hydro under Section 7 of the Charter.

     CitizensForSafeTechnology

Una St. Clair                              Sharon Noble
Executive Director,             Director,
Citizens for                               Coalition to
Safe Technology                    Stop Smart Meters

                       CSSMBC

 

For complete information re Lawsuit:

http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.com/lawsuit/

CERTIFICATION BODY (UL) DECLARES SMART METERS TO BE FIRE HAZARDS

Press Release by Coalition to Stop Smart Meters
– December 15, 2015

CERTIFICATION BODY (UL) DECLARES SMART METERS TO BE FIRE HAZARDS.

meter-fire-300x169

Smart meters have failed, melted and caused fires in British Columbia. While BC Hydro continues to deny that these devices pose risk of fires, Underwriters Laboratory admits it in its introduction of a “voluntary” standard:

“… design flaws in smart meter units have been known to cause serious fire hazards and spotty performance. This has caused a lot of concern for utilities and manufacturers of smart meters.”
http://www.metlabs.com/blog/meters/new-ul-2735-electric-utility-meter-standard-ensures-safety-and-performance/

It is doubtful that the “voluntary” certification will address all of the fire-causing features of these devices which are mandated by the BC Liberals for every home and business. For example, legal testimony in Texas stated that the smart meters do not fit properly into the  meter base, a base that was certified to hold an analog and nothing else. The smart meters’ blades leave a gap which causes arcing and fires.

“Childers explained that part of the problem was a loose connection between the meter and the meter base because the smart meters had thinner “blades” than the previous analog meters. (JD slip op. at 12, LL 36-38; Tr. 265, LL. 3-6).  Childers told Reed that the loose connection caused heat, which, in turn, caused an electrical arc, which resulted in “two pallets of burned up meters” in CenterPoint’s meter shop. (Tr. 265, LL. 13-22).”
http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Reed_Answering_Brief-1.pdf  pg. 8  

The meters used by Houston’s CenterPoint Utility are the very same model, ITRON Openway,  used by BC Hydro and FortisBC.
https://www.itron.com/na/newsAndEvents/Pages/CenterPoint-Energy-Completes-Itron-Smart-Meter-Roll-Out.aspx

Months ago BC Utilities Commission (BCUC), BC Hydro, Energy Minister Bill Bennett,  and BC Hydro critic Adrian Dix were given this information and more,  yet these fire hazards remain on our homes.  

What more is needed to have these meters declared defective? Why are the BC Liberals, the BCUC, and the utility companies playing Russian roulette with our safety?

The most harmful corruption in Canada’s history – which no media will touch!

The most harmful corruption in Canada’s history – which no media will touch!

It is a tragedy and a national disgrace that no media will touch this issue.

Only Doctors and Nurses Can Stop Health Canada’s Worst-Ever Crime Against Humanity

 

Time is running out for Canada’s entire medical profession to wake up and realize that they too are constantly being exposed to hazardous levels of invisible and virtually undetectable man-made pulsed non-ionizing radiation – as are Canada’s Prime Minister, Health Minister, Minister of Public Safety and Environment Minister, every member of parliament and the entire population of Canada (See below).

This preposterous, blatant disregard for human health and well-being would not be possible were it not for a sinfully silent news media oligopoly!
Canadians are being lied to about the alleged ‘safety’ of “low-intensity, pulsed, non-thermal, non-ionizing radio frequency (RF) radiation, which is emitted by all of today’s consumer wireless products as well as ‘Smart’ meters and ‘Smart’ appliances.

See Attachment, Part One. http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/RF-EMF-Part-one-March-15-2016..pdf

Canadians are being lied to about the alleged ‘safety’ of today’s extremely low frequency (ELF) radiation, i.e., the harmful electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) which are always present in anything in which 60 Hz alternating current (A/C) electricity flows, such as in high voltage transmission and residential distribution lines, substations, power transformers, ‘Smart’ meters, ‘Smart’ appliances, household electricity, electrical appliances, etc.

See Attachment, Part Two. [1]  http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/10/RF-EMF-Part-two-March-15-2016..pdf

Canadians are being lied to about ‘Microwave Sickness,’ now called “Electro-Hypersensitivity” (EHS), first identified in 1932 and is now a growing, world-wide problem. [2] [3]

Since its inception in 1948, the World Health Organization (WHO) has experienced almost constant turmoil and challenges. No longer enjoying secure funding from governments, it now relies on voluntary contributions from governments and other sources.

Currently, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation is one of the biggest voluntary contributors to WHO! [4] Radiation regulatory agencies, electric power utilities, and the wireless/telecom industries have meticulously studied, learned from and improved upon the extremely successful, deceitful tactics employed by the tobacco industry for so many profitable decades.

These are unprecedented times in Canada’s history. Canada’s own Prime Minister and his entire government are shielded from the systemic corruption that is ongoing within the Minister of Health’s radiation protection bureau (see attachments). Tragically for all persons living in Canada, our provincial governments have shown themselves to be willfully silent to those of us who have made many attempts to alert them over the years. Despite the existence of an ever-growing mountain of compelling peer-reviewed evidence amassed from scientists around the world since the 1950s, Canada’s news media chooses to remain largely silent. For that reason, it behooves Canada’s doctors and nurses to use their national organizations to notify the Prime Minister and the Minister of Health, personally, of this outrageously evil crime against humanity!

Sincerely,

James G. (“Jerry”) Flynn, Captain (Ret’d)
References 

[1] Currents of Death, by Paul Brodeur, pp 312.

[2] http://electromagnetichealth.org/electromagnetic-health-blog/eileen-oconnor-eesc/ 

[3] www.bioinitiative.org

[4] https://www.chathamhouse.org/sites/files/chathamhouse/public/Research/Global%20Health/0213_who.pdf 

 

BC Hydro inflated claims of smart-meter benefits, NDP critic says

Original published by:
VANCOUVER — The Globe and Mail
Published Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016 8:50PM EST
Last updated Thursday, Jan. 14, 2016 8:52PM EST

 
 

BC Hydro provided the public with misleading financial information in order to justify spending more than $1-billion to install smart meters across the province, claims NDP energy critic Adrian Dix.

 

In a detailed letter to Jessica McDonald, the president and chief executive of BC Hydro, Mr. Dix accuses the Crown corporation of inflating a claim that the smart-meter program would lead to more than $500-million in net benefits, largely by reducing $732-million in electricity theft by marijuana grow-ops.

 

In a statement responding to the criticism, BC Hydro has defended the program, saying it is exceeding expectations in helping to reduce electricity theft. But Mr. Dix said that based on BC Hydro reports, three years into the program, the promised savings haven’t materialized.

 

BC Hydro installed 1.8 million smart meters in 2012 after presenting a business case that the program would more than pay for itself by more accurately tracking energy use, making the system more efficient and helping to combat the theft of electricity.

 

“The thing has been in place since the end of 2012. I don’t think there’s any evidence of a substantial change in grow-op operations or a reduction in electricity theft,” Mr. Dix said. “And now British Columbians have to pay the price. I mean, we didn’t need to spend a billion on this program.”

 

In his letter, sent to Ms. McDonald by e-mail on Thursday, Mr. Dix accuses BC Hydro of inflating the cost of electricity theft by grow-ops.    He says that in 2004, the utility claimed that total electricity theft from grow-ops was $12-million, but those estimates jumped dramatically – from $50-million in 2006 to $100-million in 2011 – to justify the smart-meter program.

 

“If you look at what they did, suddenly the amount of electricity theft started to go up,” Mr. Dix said. “In fairness to BC Hydro, they were ordered to [move to smart meters].” Then-premier Gordon Campbell “wanted to do it. Cabinet ordered them to do it. And so they had to come up with a new business case to somehow justify all this.”

 

Mr. Dix demanded an accounting of the smart-meter program from BC Hydro.
“They need a new business case. They need to be honest with people that smart meters are going to be a net cost to the province. They can still defend them if they want, they can say, ‘Well, we have to [replace] analog meters, etc.,’ but don’t continue to mislead people,” he said.

 

And Mr. Dix said that if BC Hydro can inflate the business-case numbers for “a massive and costly program” such as the switch to smart meters, it brings into doubt the corporation’s projections on other projects, such as the $9-billion Site C dam.

 

In an e-mail, Steve Vanagas, chief communications officer for BC Hydro, said the smart-meter and infrastructure program, known as SMI, is working as predicted.
“The SMI business case projected a reduction in theft to peak at 75 per cent by the end of [fiscal year] 2016. We are now expecting to reduce energy theft by 80 per cent or more. We expect that over 20 years, we will exceed our gigawatt-hour targets on energy-theft reduction,” he wrote.

 

“The original business case says the benefit from reduced electricity theft will be between $632 million and $832 million. While we are on track to exceed our theft-reduction targets, the exact value of these savings will fluctuate based on the cost of energy. We continue to expect the savings to be within that original range,” Mr. Vanagas stated.

 

He said BC Hydro had just received Mr. Dix’s letter and will respond to it in detail at a later
 

Brain Tumor Rates Are Rising in the US: The Role of Cell Phone & Cordless Phone Use

The likelihood of developing a non-malignant brain tumor has increased in recent years in the U.S.

According to newly-released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the overall age-adjusted incidence (per 100,000 persons) of non-malignant brain tumors significantly increased from 2004 through 2012.

The increase was observed among
children 0-19 years of age (1.7 in 2004; 2.3 in 2012)
adults 20 years and older (15.9 in 2004; 19.7 in 2012).

“After ten years of wireless phone use (i.e., cell phone plus cordless phone use), the risk of glioma doubles and after 25 years, the risk triples (Hardell et al, 2013).”

See the full report HERE from SaferEMR.COM

What this tells me is that if the RF Radiation from Smart Meters is similar to that of wireless phones then anyone living or sleeping close to a Smart Meter will also suffer an increased rate of glioma.   (Ted)