Smart Meter FIRES – FOI – 201-20-2015-112

From: Dennis and Sharon Noble [mailto:dsnoble@shaw.ca]
Sent: April 17, 2015 1:49 PM
To: Information and Privacy Commission (info@oipc.bc.ca)
Subject: Complaint re. BC Hydro’s misuse of the Freedom of Information Act 201-20-2015-112
Importance: High

Dear Commissioner Denham,

I wish to lodge an official complaint to your office, charging that BC Hydro is deliberately using the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act to deny me information to which I have a right.

Attached and below are communication documents in which I am asking for information about BC Hydro equipment which has been reported, by the BC Fire Commissioner, BC Safety Authority, or the Attorney General’s office, as having been involved in fires and incidents at homes in British Columbia. I have stated clearly and repeatedly that I am not asking for personal information about the victim or any other individual, yet BC Hydro refuses to provide information:

“Under section 22 of the Act, BC Hydro must not disclose to the requester the personal information of a third party if the disclosure of that information would be an unreasonable invasion of a third party’s personal privacy.”

I ask that you instruct BC Hydro to provide this information regarding its equipment failure. The public has a right to know if equipment being installed on our homes is unsafe.

Included in this email is all of the information that I have, both sent and received, pertaining to this information request. Should you have any questions please let me know.

Regards,

Sharon Noble
818 Bexhill Place
Victoria, BC V9C 3V5
250-478-7892

___________________________________________________________________________

From: “Dennis and Sharon Noble” <dsnoble@shaw.ca>
To: “Scott’ ‘Macdonald” <Scott.MacDonald@bchydro.com>
Cc: “Julie’ ‘Betsayda” <Julie.Betsayda@bchydro.com>
Sent: Wednesday, April 15, 2015 7:50:02 PM
Subject: Freedom of Information Request 201.20.2015-112

Mr. MacDonald,

As you requested in your letter, I was contacting you if I had any questions.  I will pursue this with the OIPC because I sincerely believe the FOI Act is being misused.

Regards,

Sharon Noble

___________________________________________________________________________

From: Macdonald, Scott [mailto:Scott.MacDonald@bchydro.com]
Sent: April 15, 2015 3:05 PM
To: Dennis and Sharon Noble
Cc: Betsayda, Julie
Subject: Freedom of Information Request 201.20.2015-112

Ms. Noble, BC Hydro considered its response carefully prior to sending it.  As our letter noted, you are at liberty to ask the OIPC to review our response.

Thank you.

___________________________________________________________________________

From: “Dennis and Sharon Noble” <dsnoble@shaw.ca>
To: “FOI Officer Scott MacDonald” <scott.macdonald@bchydro.com>
Sent: Wednesday, April 15, 2015 11:38:03 AM
Subject: Freedom of Information Request 201.20.2015-112

Dear Mr. MacDonald,

I received your response dated April 8, in which you refuse to provide any information regarding 3 of the incidents, citing section 22 of the Act protection of a 3rd party’s personal information.

Mr. MacDonald, I do not wish to have any personal information about the accountholder. Rather I am asking for records pertaining to the incident, any “trouble” report, and any electrician’s report. All of this is information that is available to the public, and I am asking for you to revisit your decision for this information which I initially requested in December, 2014.

Please advise whether this information will be provided.

Yours truly,

Sharon Noble

___________________________________________________________________________

Request Number: 201.20.2015-112

08 April 2015

….Your request consisted of four questions.  Each of your elements of your request is addressed, below, in the order it appeared in your request:

1)   Pg. 1, number 15, date __ July 2012, Location Coquitlam, Post Install, “Smart meter installed on __ July 2012. Preliminary investigation indicates excessive consumption load overheated socket and created fire. Investigation ongoing.”

Under section 22 of the Act….In view of section 22, we have withheld one page responsive to this portion of your request.

2)   Pg. 2, number 23, date __ Nov. 2012, Location Ladysmith, Post install, “ Trouble order on __ November 2012 reports a house fire. Fire Department called the fire in. Crew comments are that house and meter destroyed by the time the PLT arrived. (Like disconnected at pole here due to severity of the fire.) Crew comments do not specify a cause of the fire. Meter installed __ Jan. 2012.”

Under section 22 of the Act….In view of section 22, we have withheld two pages responsive to this portion of your request.

3)   Pg. 2, number 24, date __ Dec. 2012, Location Abbotsford, Sustainment, “ Abbotsford Fire Department reported an incident where a homeowner claimed his newly installed smart meter was smoking and proceeded to get his camera to take a picture of it. Supposedly, while taking the picture, the smart meter shot off the wall – this has not been verified, there is no photo, and there is no further information. Smart meter installed March __ 2012.”

Under section 22 of the Act….In view of section 22, we have withheld four pages responsive to this portion of your request.

4)   Pg. 2, Number 25, date __ Jan. 2013, Location Vernon, Sustainment, “Small fire in kitchen of Restaurant during in which a 3-phase meter socket was destroyed. Smart meter installed Oct. __ 2012.”

[Jan.13/13 – Rosalinda’s Filipino Restaurant – Todd & Rosalinda Smelser – 2810 – 33rd Street]

Please see the attached records….

Yours truly,

Scott Macdonald

attachments

___________________________________________________________________________

Chow, Bradley
_____________

From: Bishop, Brad
Sent: 2013, January 15 10:08 AM
To: Taylor, Fiona; Deyagher, David
Cc: Sarroca, Aida Marie; Saroop, Sajeeta; Lau, Wilson (Wilson.Lau@bchydro.com); Mounsey, Darrell
Subject: FW: Media call re. smart meter fire Vernon
Attachments: SP124786.xlsx

This address has 2 meters one single phase and one 3 phase. Both meters have low load (please see below). From the picture in the article I can see that the socket for the single phase meter has no damage other than scorch marks on the right side that I believe are from the 3 phase socket and meter but cannot confirm as the 3 phase socket and meter have either been removed or in another location.

Please see attached pictures of the two meter sockets during the meter exchanges.  As you can see the single phase socket is good but the 3 phase socket has some pitting along with the 5th jaw (in the 9 o’clock position is not lined up.

I have the line manager and the Vernon meter technician following up.  I have asked them to locate the meters as this will give us an indication as to whether the failure was within the meter socket.  From the trouble call I believe that there was a phase to phase short on the 3 phase service as the PLT found two of the three cut-outs opened at the transformer bank.

(photo) An electrical fire Sunday has closed Rosalinda’s Filipino Kitchen
[from newspaper article – http://www.vernonmorningstar.com/news/186834522.html]

Please see below for kWh and Vh load profiles for Mtr 5739090 and Mtr 5154741 at SLID 1247846
– kWh and Vh interval values within norms for configuration type
– No events around Jan 13
– Last read 2013/01/13 08:46 / 08:47, not pingable
– Mtr 5739090 Installed 2012/08/16 [5 months prior to incident]
– Mtr 5154741 Installed 2012/10/17 [3 months prior to incident]

SP 1247846 Mtr 5739090 Ch 163 Vh

___________________________________________________________________________

From: “Dennis and Sharon Noble” <dsnoble@shaw.ca>
To: “Scott’ ‘Macdonald” <Scott.MacDonald@bchydro.com>
Sent: Monday, March 2, 2015 1:44:28 PM
Subject: FOIPPA Section 22

Mr. MacDonald,

Thank you for this explanation, which helps very much.

I will amend my requests, then, because I do not want and have not been asking for personal information of any sort. I have the names and addresses, along with the dates of the incidents. What I am looking for is Hydro’s records pertaining to the equipment that was involved in the incidents. I do not believe that this could in any way be construed as being of a personal nature. If the records I am requesting include any opinion, it would be the opinion of a BC Hydro employee or some electrical inspector which would be relevant to the incident and the equipment.

I will submit my amended requests and would ask that the records pertaining to these incidents which is not of a personal nature, be provided.

Thank you.

Sharon Noble

___________________________________________________________________________

From: Macdonald, Scott [mailto:Scott.MacDonald@bchydro.com]
Sent: March 2, 2015 11:42 AM
To: Dennis and Sharon Noble
Subject: FOIPPA Section 22

Ms. Noble, section 22 may be applied in several different ways depending upon the particular nature of the records or circumstances involved.  You may have gathered that from the way the section is laid out – flowing from the general prohibition in subsection 1 to the more specific, but still relatively-general, considerations imposed by subsection 2 and on to the more detailed presumptions and exclusions in subsections 3 and 4.   It’s important to note that the circumstances and scenarios covered in the section are not, and are not meant to be, an exhaustive list.  This means that records, information, or circumstances, not explicitly referred to in the section may still be legitimately protected by the section.

BC Hydro has always, even prior to the advent of FOIPPA, considered information related to residential customers’ accounts to be confidential (i.e. ‘personal’ since the advent of FOIPPA).  We believe our stance on this matter was recognized and supported by the Commissioner’s report into SMI, published in 2011.  Information of the type that you have been requesting pertains to and reflects on an array of personal information including, though not in every case, financial, security, household asset, and personal opinion information.

In short, FOIPPA needs to be applied generally.  Even if certain sections may be of particular application in any specific circumstance (e.g. (2)(e), (f), (g), and/or (h) and/or3(b), (f), or (j)), or not, there may be broader personal information issues to be considered.

I trust this will give you some insight into how BC Hydro applies section 22.  As I have written in previous correspondence, if you have a complaint about BC Hydro’s application of FOIPPA, your recourse is to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner.

Thank you.

SM

___________________________________________________________________________

From: Dennis and Sharon Noble [mailto:dsnoble@shaw.ca]
Sent: 2015, February 28 8:46 AM
To: Macdonald, Scott
Subject: FOIPPA Section 22

Dear Mr. MacDonald,

Thank you for the attached responses to my FOIs.

You reference the FOIPPA Section 22 as the basis for refusing to provide any information about these incidents. As you know, Section 22 is very large, giving many possible reasons for protecting an individual’s privacy. Could you please be more specific and tell me which item in Section 22 applies to my request?

I look forward to receiving your response at your earliest convenience,

Regards,

Sharon Noble

___________________________________________________________________________

BC Hydro Request Number: 201.20.2015-112

February 23, 2015

….As I advised you in my letter dated 21 January, 2015, we have given the third party the opportunity to make representations regarding the release of the records you requested.  After reviewing all ofthe relevant factors, BC Hydro has made a deciison aboutdisclosure of the records you requested and advised the third party of its decision.

The third party has 20 days to ask the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for BC…to review BC Hydro’s decision….

Scott Macdonald

___________________________________________________________________________

From: Macdonald, Scott [mailto:Scott.MacDonald@bchydro.com]
Sent: February 23, 2015 9:21 AM
To: Dennis and Sharon Noble
Cc: Betsayda, Julie
Subject: FOI request 200.20.2015-112

Ms. Noble, I’ve attempted to address your questions/points within the text of your note – see square brackets and italics.  However, our request-by-request actions are best understood in the context of sections 23 and 24 of the Act – a link to each of which was provided with my previous note.

SM

___________________________________________________________________________

From: Dennis and Sharon Noble [mailto:dsnoble@shaw.ca]
Sent: 2015, February 19 10:41 PM
To: Macdonald, Scott
Cc: Betsayda, Julie
Subject: FOI request 200.20.2015-112

Mr. MacDonald,

I appreciate that you must follow the privacy guidelines,and I apologize for my frustration but I don’t understand why the information regarding this request is any different that my requests for other reports about incidents. You were able to provide information regarding an incident at Supreme Convenience Store in Port Hardy, #2015-115. [SBM: Commercial accounts are seldom associated with ‘personal’ information.  Commercial accounts are more likely to attract application of section 21, while non-commercial accounts are more likely to attract the application of section 22.  Commercial accounts can vary significantly in terms of the information related to them and the same may be said of non-commercial accounts.  Consequently, they’re treatment under the Act is not necessarily uniform even within their own categories.] Other requests had information redacted that might be considered “personal” and I would expect for this to occur with regard to this request.  [SBM: Please keep in mind that we have not yet responded to this request (i.e. 2015-112).]

Could you please explain why this information is any different? And why can’t you give me an idea who the third parties are – customers? Itron? [SBM: Not Itron.]

Thank you,

Sharon Noble

____________________________________________________________________________

From: Macdonald, Scott [mailto:Scott.MacDonald@bchydro.com]
Sent: February 17, 2015 5:51 PM
To: Dennis and Sharon Noble
Cc: Betsayda, Julie
Subject: FOI request 200.20.2015-112

Ms. Noble, I have attached a link to sections 23 and 24 of the FOIPPA.  Please refer to those sections; they are the ones in accordance with which public bodies are expected to handle requests for records regarding third parties.

Making determinations about the personal, or impersonal, nature of information is not simply a matter of considering the information that appears on a particular, requested page.  One has to consider information that may be available from other sources, particularly public sources, which, if combined with information disclosed to a requester, may render the disclosed information ‘personal’ – thereby creating an unreasonable invasion of third party’s personal privacy.

All of this is standard procedure.  If you are dissatisfied with it, your recourse is to the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for BC, the address for which has been supplied on several occasions.

Thank you.

SM

http://www.bclaws.ca/civix/document/id/complete/statreg/96165_02

___________________________________________________________________________

From: “Dennis and Sharon Noble” <dsnoble@shaw.ca>
To: “FOI Officer Scott MacDonald” <scott.macdonald@bchydro.com>
Sent: Sunday, February 15, 2015 9:37:19 PM
Subject: FOI request 200.20.2015-112 [s/b 201.20.2015-112]

Mr. MacDonald,

No. it doesn’t. Why are you playing games with me?

You know the information for which I am asking is something to which the public has a right. I and the many thousands of members of the Coalition deserve to know if and why smart meters are overheating, burning or otherwise failing.

The information I am asking for involves no third party other than the customer who experienced the fire or incident. Simply redact the customer’s name.

BC Hydro has or should have easy and ready access to documentation of incidents that involved a device which is being put on everyone’s home. It’s been 2 months since my initial request. Please provide a full and complete response without further obfuscation.

Regards,

Sharon Noble

___________________________________________________________________________

 From: Macdonald, Scott [mailto:Scott.MacDonald@bchydro.com]
Sent: February 15, 2015 4:19 PM
To: Dennis and Sharon Noble
Subject: FOI request 200.20.2015-112

Ms. Noble, the letter you attached to your note provides the answers to your questions.

Thank you.

___________________________________________________________________________

From: Dennis and Sharon Noble [mailto:dsnoble@shaw.ca]
Sent: February 14, 2015 9:21 AM
To: FOI Officer Scott MacDonald (scott.macdonald@bchydro.com)
Subject: FOI request 200.20.2015-112

Dear Mr. MacDonald.

On Jan. 20, 2015 you sent me the attached acknowledgement which pertains to the FOI below. In the response you said third parties have to be consulted.

Could you please tell me who these third parties might be?  Also, could you please tell me when I might expect to receive these records?

Thank you.

Regards,

Sharon Noble

___________________________________________________________________________

From: Dennis and Sharon Noble [mailto:dsnoble@shaw.ca]
Sent: January 8, 2015 8:22 AM
To: FOI Officer Scott MacDonald (scott.macdonald@bchydro.com)
Subject: FOI request

Dear Mr. MacDonald,

I have yet to receive confirmation that you have received this request. Would you please provide it and the date by which I can expect to receive this information?

Thank you.

 Regards,

Sharon Noble

____________________________________________________________________________

From: Dennis and Sharon Noble [mailto:dsnoble@shaw.ca]
Sent: December 16, 2014 8:52 PM
To: FOI Officer Scott MacDonald (scott.macdonald@bchydro.com)
Subject: FOI request

Dear Mr. MacDonald,

On June 17, 2014 you kindly sent me a response to my FOI request  number 201.20.2015-004.

Under the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act I would like to request all records on the following incidents that were on this report:

1)   Pg. 1, number 15, date __ July 2012, Location Coquitlam, Post Install, “Smart meter installed on __ July 2012. Preliminary investigation indicates excessive consumption load overheated socket and created fire. Investigation ongoing.”

2)   Pg. 2, number 23, date __ Nov. 2012, Location Ladysmith, Post install, “ Trouble order on __ November 2012 reports a house fire. Fire Department called the fire in. Crew comments are that house and meter destroyed by the time the PLT arrived. (Like disconnected at pole here due to severity of the fire.) Crew comments do not specify a cause of the fire. Meter installed __ Jan. 2012.”

3)   Pg. 2, number 24, date __ Dec. 2012, Location Abbotsford, Sustainment, “ Abbotsford Fire Department reported an incident where a homeowner claimed his newly installed smart meter was smoking and proceeded to get his camera to take a picture of it. Supposedly, while taking the picture, the smart meter shot off the wall – this has not been verified, there is no photo, and there is no further information. Smart meter installed March __ 2012.”

4)   Pg. 2, Number 25, date __ Jan. 2013, Location Vernon, Sustainment, “Small fire in kitchen of Restaurant during in which a 3-phase meter socket was destroyed. Smart meter installed Oct. __ 2012.”

[Jan.13/13 – Rosalinda’s Filipino Restaurant – Todd & Rosalinda Smelser – 2810 – 33rd Street]

Thank you.

Regards,

Sharon Noble ___________________________________________________________________________

BCH2015-112ResponseLetterFeb23.jpeg

BCH2015-112ResponseLetterFeb23

___________________________________________________________________________

BCH2015-112AcknowLetter.jpeg

BCH2015-112AcknowLetter

___________________________________________________________________________

2 thoughts on “Smart Meter FIRES – FOI – 201-20-2015-112”

  1. It would seem to me, after reading all of the above correspondence, Scott MacDonald has obfuscation down to a science!

    He is more than half-way to a capable and worthy opponent in the House of Commons.

    Hang in there Sharon on behalf of all the frustrated members as well.

    With our Thanks.

    Ron & Fran Manary

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