Category Archives: FIRES

BC Politicians Ignoring Smart Meter Issue. Sharon Noble – May 4, 2017 – The Goddard Report with Jim Goddard

(audio 20:22) BC Politicians Ignoring Smart Meter Issue. Sharon NobleMay 4, 2017 – The Goddard Report with Jim Goddard by talkdigitalnetwork – YouTube – May 04, 2017:
(No proof smart meters reduce costs or energy use
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

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
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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.

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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.

Smart Meter – Design Flaws

http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.com/fires/smart-meter-design-flaws/

Remote Disconnect can Cause Fires

An excellent summary of a major design flaw in every $$meter that can lead to fires – the remote disconnect switch. This also contains info from a Forensic Engineer who works with an Insurance Inspector. The fire reported occurred in Nevada last summer and was included in testimony given before the New Mexico Public Utility Commission by Norm Lambe.

If we only had an Insurance Adjuster who would step forward about fires in British Columbia …. Several Firemen, Fire Chiefs, Engineers and BC Hydro workers have spoken to me anonymously confirming what I’ve told BCUC about the fire issue, but no one is able to speak out for fear of losing his job. This sort of intimidation is putting our lives and property at risk. Please note that the Engineer said that this sort of fire could not happen with an analog. In fact, I have been told, again anonymously, that analogs have never caused fires. Experts have told me that fires have occurred if the analog were damaged during installation, or if corrosion had occurred, but the analog itself has not caused a fire.

The previous ‘not smart’ meters cannot and do not cause these types of fires because they are not equipped with the switching contacts that allow the utility companies to turn power ‘on’ and ‘off’ to their customers at will without the nuisance of having to actually go to the site.  The switching contacts are not required to make a meter ‘smart’…the smart designation comes from the ability of the meters to track power usage continuously and transmit the data back to the utility company.  The switching contacts are a feature provided purely and solely for the convenience of the utility companies.”

https://web.archive.org/web/20160826090250/https://smartgridawareness.org/2016/08/25/how-the-smart-meter-remote-disconnect-can-cause-fires/

Sharon Noble
Director, Coalition to Stop Smart Meters

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?

Newsletter 2016-05-18 Special report on fires

COVERING LETTER FOR “RESPONSES TO BCUC FIRE REPORT DRAFT”:

As you all know, last June and July I submitted an official complaint to BCUC charging that it was BCUC’s responsibility under the BC Utilities Commission Act to protect the public from unsafe practices. BCUC was failing to do its job by ignoring the information that I had provided showing that the smart meters that BC Hydro is installing have failed, melted and burned.  BCUC has consistently said it was prevented by The Clean Energy Act and Direction 4 from interfering in any aspect of the program. I argued this did not apply to safety, and that the BC Utilities Commission Act took precedent over the actions taken by this government to preclude BCUC’s involvement.

After several months, I was told that staff report regarding my allegations and evidence would be ready by the end of 2015. In the middle of February, 2016, I was told the draft report was ready and BCUC asked if I would like to read it and make comments. Of course I said yes. They gave me 2 weeks to do so, with comments submitted on March 3.

In mid-April when I asked when the report would be published, I was told the staff was working on revisions, and I should be given a date within 2 weeks. At the end of April, I was told no date could be given. A week later I asked again because the public deserves to know what was in the draft — which I believe to be damning. Again I was told no date could be given. Last week I advised the BCUC that unless they disapproved of my releasing my comments without its report, I would do so today.  They did not respond.  I have taken that absence of disapproval as acquiescence.

I have gathered comments for your information with paraphrases of statements from the draft. The draft contained confirmation that no one — not the Provincial Fire Commissioner, not the BC Safety Authority, not BC Hydro — is tracking smart meter incidents. It seems that I have more information about what is happening than any of these agencies who are mandated to know, do know. And what is worse, no one seems to be concerned.

I have provided the full details of my comments in the attachment:

Responses to BCUC Fire Report Draft by Sharon Noble:

http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/BCUC-fire-report-responses-1.pdf

which is long and detailed. Each of my charges and statements can be fully substantiated with documentation.  Below is a summary with which I concluded my response to the draft.

This should provide more than enough evidence to support our demand that these meters be declared defective and removed from our homes. Our lives and property are being put at risk.

Summary:

I would like to present you with a scenario to make abundantly clear the problems that now exist with the smart meter investigative process. The premise upon which this scenario is built is a hypothetical, so no admissions are required of you.  It is, after all, just a hypothetical.

1 – A home catches fire.  The inciting cause of the fire is the smart meter.

2 – That’s the hypothetical.  What follows is not hypothetical.  It’s reality.

3 – While the fire is being fought, BC Hydro removes the smart meter.

4 – BC Hydro immediately sends the meter to ITRON without doing any investigation.

5 – When the fire department’s inspector inspects the scene all the evidence points to the area of the meter as being where the fire started, but with the smart meter gone, he is forced to say that the ignition source is “undetermined”.

6 – The BC Safety Authority is not called so this agency with the electrical experts have no opportunity to view the fire scene.

7 – The fire report is not completed for 15 months and therefore is not put on the system in time for the fire to be included in the annual report, but even if it had been, there is no accounting for fires with “undetermined” igniters.

8 – The result is that no one knows the smart meter caused the fire and BC Hydro is able to say it is not aware of any situation where a smart meter was determined responsible for causing a fire.

9 –  BC Hydro commissions and pays Mr. Len Garis to write a report about smart meter safety. Mr. Garis uses only the incomplete, inaccurate Fire Commissioner’s annual report, concluding that there have been no smart meter fires.

It is obvious that no one agency is in charge of this program with regard to safety and oversight. All of the attention has been given to getting smart meters on homes at all costs without regard to the health, safety or desires of BC Hydro customers.

I would ask that BCUC fulfill its role of protecting the public according to the BC Utilities Commission Act by doing the following, at the minimum:

  • Require that an immediate and complete investigation by independent qualified forensic experts of the safety of ITRON smart meters currently on homes in BC be undertaken;
  • Establish one agency that has the responsibility for coordination of the various reporting agencies to ensure regulations are followed and that tracking/reporting of all fires is done as per those regulations;
  • Establish meaningful penalties (e.g. firing) for those who disregard or allow others to disregard regulations, e.g. removing smart meters from fire scenes before official inspection has been done, or neglecting to inform the BCSA of an electrical incident before the scene has been corrupted;
  • Amend the BC Electrical Safety Regulation which currently exempts utilities from any and all safety regulations, ensuring that any utility equipment that is put on private residences and businesses is certified by a qualified agency (CSA) or a professional electrical engineer licensed in BC.

Given the lack of oversight and due diligence by any of the agencies, it must be considered that other fire hazards might exist that are not being reported or addressed. The problems are systemic and likely not specific to the smart meter program. If it were not for members of the public who devoted much time and effort to investigating and documenting the problems, it is likely that they never would have come to attention. This failure must be investigated by an independent body with the authority to enforce recommended changes.

 The smart meter program is unique in that devices that have been known to have caused problems elsewhere, e.g. in California, and for years before the program began in BC, are mandated to be on every home and business. Lives and property are being put at risk by the very government and agencies who are sworn to protect them. It should not be left to the members of the public to fight the government and BC Hydro to protect themselves and their homes.

Click here to see BCUC responses to “Fire report”

 

Sharon Noble
Director, Coalition to Stop Smart Meters
“It is dangerous to be right when the government is wrong”
~ Voltaire

Smart meter safety risk – Letter to BC Minister of Energy and Mines Bennett

June 26. 2015 – For Immediate Release

 A COURT TOLD ITRON SMART METERS ARE A FIRE HAZARD.

 What did ITRON know and when did they know it? They knew these smart meters were dangerous and they knew from the very beginning.

 We, the taxpayers who fund BC Hydro, demand a refund from ITRON for selling a defective, dangerous device.

 ITRON’s smart meters have design flaws that make them fire hazards. These were sold to many places before they were sold to BC Hydro, so ITRON had to have been aware of problems long before the contract was signed.

Failures and fires have occurred in BC.   How many no one knows because no one is tracking.

BCUC was told through the Clean Energy Act and Direction 4 it had no authority to interfere in the smart meter program in any way.   BC Safety Authority has been told to butt out of the smart meter program. And the Provincial Fire Commissioner doesn’t track specific causes of fires. So no one knows, except, perhaps BC Hydro and they’re not talking.

But now, through sworn testimony in a legal action in Texas obtained by Sharon Noble, Director of the Coalition to Stop Smart Meters, we learn that there have been many incidents of ITRON Openway smart meters — the same model used by BC Hydro and Fortis BC — failing and burning, palettes of them, according to one testimonial.

Now is the time, before more homes are damaged, and more lives put at risk, to say this program is a fiasco. WE WANT THIS PROGRAM ENDED, AND WE WANT OUR MONEY BACK.

Noble says, “Whenever we purchase something that doesn’t work the way it is supposed to, we can return it and expect our money back. These smart meters were purported to be safe, just as safe as the old analogs. But they aren’t and now we have proof from a completely independent source – a Texas court.   Bill Bennett needs to stop this program, recall the smart meters, demand that analogs be put back in place, and send ITRON the bill.”’

Certainly ITRON knew long ago that these meters were cheaply made with flaws that could cause the meters to fail catastrophically. They should have warned us – it should not be up to us to have to fight to protect our homes. WE WANT OUR MONEY BACK.

———————————————–

Letter to BC Minister of Energy and Mines Bennett

 

From: Dennis and Sharon Noble [mailto:dsnoble@shaw.ca]
Sent: June 25, 2015 2:25 PM
To: Bill Bennett (mem.minister@gov.bc.ca); ‘bill.bennett.mla@leg.bc.ca
Cc: John Horgan. Leader NDP;
adrian.dix.mla@leg.bc.ca;
Christy Clark (premier@gov.bc.ca);
elizabeth.may@parl.gc.ca‘;
Atamanenko, Alex – Riding 1A; Atamanenko.A@parl.gc.ca; ‘andrew.weaver.mla@leg.bc.ca‘;
info@greenparty.bc.ca

Subject: Smart meter safety risk

VIA REGISTERED MAIL
June 25, 2015
Hon. Bill Bennett
Minister of Energy and Mines
Room 301
Parliament Buildings
Victoria, BC V8V 1X4

Dear Mr. Bennett:

In 2012 Armen Kassabian, Ontario Fire Marshal, wrote a report that expressed serious concerns about the safety of smart meters, regardless of the brand.  They fail.  They melt.  They burn.

http://www.stopsmartmeters.org/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/FireMarshallReportSmartMeterFires-Canada.pdf

Mr. Bennett, for the last 2 years I have been tracking smart meter failures in British Columbia, and have provided you with evidence showing that there is justification for major concern. Just like the Sensus smart meters in Saskatchewan, the Itron meters in BC have overheated, melted and burned. More failures have occurred in BC than in Saskatchewan, yet you and BC Hydro have taken no steps to ensure the public’s safety. In fact, you and BC Hydro have denied that these meters have failed or put lives at risk.

There is now evidence that you cannot – must not – ignore.

With this letter I have provided a printed copy of a recent lawsuit in Texas that contains testimony given under oath by journeyman linesmen who have worked for utilities for many years. They state that ITRON Openway meters used by Centerpoint Energy in Houston, the very same model being used by BC Hydro and Fortis BC, have failed in large numbers. This document also is available at

http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Reed_Answering_Brief-1.pdf

Of particular note:

1)            Those testifying had confirmed fires and failures with other linesmen and trouble-shooters prior to making the statements. Pg. 25

2)            The linesmen reported that the utility had “two pallets of burned up (Itron) meters”.  Pg. 8

3)            The linesmen reported problems with “meters’ communication with the remote site control and many issues with meters melting and burning up.”  Pg. 8

4)            Linesmen determined 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” (emphasis added)     Pg. 8 This gap could cause arcing leading to fires.

5)            Concerns were raised about the ITRON smart meters “creating arc flashes, which could burn the customers’ wiring and create ‘hazardous conditions.’ …These hazardous conditions include potentially causing arc flashes, which could result in anything from minor to third degree burns to technicians who remove the meters.”  Pg. 8

6)            An experienced trouble-shooter for a utility reported that he had “responded to more fire calls once the smart meters were deployed and these often involved heating problems at the meter base.”  Pg. 13

7)            “ Reed’s testimony concerned products used by Respondent. Landis + Gyr is the manufacturer of the AMS meter used by Respondent and Itron is the manufacturer of the meters used by CenterPoint Energy in Houston.”  Pg. 25

The model used in Houston is the ITRON C2SOD, Openway Centron II the same model used by BC Hydro and Fortis BC.

http://investors.centerpointenergy.com/releasedetail.cfm?releaseid=553906

8)            At Oncor and Centerpoint there was a consistent corporate message that utility employees are to tell customers that any problem, whether it’s damaged appliances or a fire, was due to the meter base which is owned by the client, not the smart meter.  Pg. 10. This is the same message that, according to Hydro insiders, BC Hydro has given to its employees.

———-

Mr. Bennett, I could provide you with many statistics and data that I have gathered over the last 2 years that would help explain why the meters are a fire hazard, but I believe that is unnecessary. I have provided you with most of them already.   Instead, I will summarize what I have found in addition to the details provided above:

1)            Electronic digital and smart meters — which are combustible and vulnerable to heat — should have reliable means for immediately disconnecting them from the grid in the entirely foreseeable event of circuit failure (lithium-metal batteries, diodes, electrolytic capacitors, transistors, etc.). Such reliable means are apparently not provided. With an effectively unlimited current supply from the grid this lack of protection creates a significant fire risk when the meter is combustible as is the ITRON smart meter.

2)            I’ve been told by knowledgeable people that the remote disconnect switch apparently is unreliable and poorly designed, having been implicated in fires across North American. To function it relies on other components of the meter that, in all likelihood, would be compromised in the event of overheating or other failures. Arcing, arc flash, and heating from the disconnect switch are also serious hazards that derive from the unprotected grid connection.

3)            The meter installation process was questionable, given the lack of qualifications of the personnel recruited to carry out the installations. Use of inadequately qualified installation personnel significantly increases the risk of: (a) failure to observe existing meter base/wiring problems; and (b)  damaging the base during exchange; both of these can lead to “hot sockets” with the attendant risk of fire.

4)            The meter bases into which these meters are being placed were designed, tested, and CSA approved to hold an electro-mechanical analog meter which is not combustible. . Our multiple requests for proof of certification of the meter base in conjunction with a combustible electronic meter, either digital or smart meter, have been ignored. It is a highly questionable practice, probably illegal, to install electronic meters on a base designed and  CSA tested/approved only  for electro- mechanical analogue meters.

5)            In BC the BC Safety Standards Act exempts BC Hydro and Fortis BC from having their equipment certified by CSA and smart meters have been determined to be utility equipment.  The exemption is conditional under section 21-4 which states that utility equipment must be certified safe by a professional electrical engineer licensed in BC.  BC Hydro stated it does not have this certification.

6)            According to the Fire Commissioner’s Office, BC Hydro is allowed to remove and has removed smart meters from scenes of fires before the fire inspection has been completed “since it is their meter.” This runs counter to the BC Fire Safety Act.

7)            BC Hydro has reported that no smart meter has been inspected in its laboratory, Power Tech, after it has failed. Instead all failed meters are returned immediately to Itron for replacement. I have been told in response to a Freedom of Information request that BC Hydro is doing no investigation to determine the reason for the failure.

8)            There appears to be no agency that is tracking incidents involving smart meters.

The BC Utility Commission, according to the BC Utilities Commission Act, has responsibility to ensure BC Hydro’s products and practices will not endanger the public. With regard to the smart meter program, the BCUC informs me this responsibility has been overruled by the Clean Energy Act and Direction 4 because it has been told it cannot interfere in the smart meter program in any way, even with regard to public safety.

The BC Safety Authority, which normally ensures that electrical devices are safe and that any unsafe devices are reported, advised me that they have been told that they have no authority regarding the smart meter program.

9)            Fire reports have indicated the cause of some fires to be due to failed electrical distribution equipment. Len Garis, in the report commissioned by BC Hydro, stated that reference to electrical distribution equipment usually refers to meters.

10)          Budgets to fire departments have been reduced to the point where departments do not have the resources to determine causes of all fires. Many fires are not reported even after 2 years. In addition, one fire chief told me that they were told to rule out arson, and not bother going further. As a result in many cases, the fire’s cause is given as “undetermined.”  Of the fires for which I’ve requested reports from the Fire Commissioner, 50% have no determined cause!

11)          Because of the lack of resources, investigations are carried out by people with limited electrical fire forensics ability, and, therefore, it is possible that many fires that might be associated with smart meters are going undetected. As a result, it is possible that many problems are going undetected and unremedied, jeopardizing the property and lives of British Columbians.

12)          Regulations in Quebec require that Hydro-Quebec ensures that smart meters are not within 3 meters of a propane tank. If the tank or meter cannot be removed, then the remote disconnect switch, which has been found to have been involved in fires in Saskatchewan, must be disabled. It seems prudent that similar precautionary measures should be taken regarding proximity of smart meters to any flammable materials. I wrote to you, Mr. Bennett, and BC Hydro authorities on June 4 asking what precautionary steps BC Hydro would be taking, and to date I received no response.

Our Charter of Rights and Freedoms, Section 7, grants Canadian citizens the right to refuse actions by the government that the citizens believe to be harmful.

Further, “the Federal Court of Appeal has opened the door to lawsuits against government regulators for negligent administration of their regulatory schemes and created the possibility of suing a regulator for damages under public law if the regulator violates a clear duty to act or exercises its public power in an “irrational” or “clearly wrong” manner.”

http://www.jdsupra.com/legalnews/beekeepers-abuzz-after-court-allows-clas-01297 /

Based upon the information I’ve provided to you, I believe it is safe to say that this smart meter program has major problems that cannot be ignored any longer. You, Mr. Bennett, as Minister of Energy, are responsible for allowing this program to continue.  With receipt of this package of material, which I am sending via registered mail, you cannot say you didn’t know that these smart meters are fire hazards.

I am sure that your concern for the safety and welfare of your constituents is paramount. Based upon the information I’ve presented, this concern is best addressed by halting the program and removing the smart meters, pending an investigation.

Should you wish further information about anything that I’ve said, please ask.

 

Sincerely,
Sharon Noble

 

This will be sent to  All MLAs

Wi-Fi, Radio frequency Radiation and your Health

Jerry Flynn has made many presentations that show that Radio Frequency Radiation is extremely harmful to YOUR HEALTH.

Here is a short version of his major presentations.

This slide show presentation requires a program on your computer that will display a slide show using file type PPTX.

Jerry Flynn is a retired Canadian Military Captain who spent 22 of 26 years in Canada’s military in Electronic Warfare and Signals Intelligence. His experience included two years in National Defense Headquarters, Ottawa, in the Directorate of Electronic Warfare (EW), during which he worked closely with army EW units of  Canada’s U.S. and NATO allies.
Previously he was the Executive Officer (2-i/c) and Operations Officer at one of Canada’s largest and most sensitive  Intelligence-gathering stations. Earlier still Jerry conducted naval radio warfare operations at sea with U.S., Australian naval forces, having served aboard two Canadian warships.
He currently is a guest on talk shows throughout North America and in the UK and as well has toured throughout BC presenting to audiences on this subject.