2014-06-04 Does the method used by $meters to measure usage constitute an illegal rate increase??

1)   Correction time of Kelowna Rally, June 14:  2:00 -5:00 pm.  (Not noon)   SMART METERS = DEMOCRACY DENIED

Kelowna Unitarian Fellowship 1310 Bertram Street

2)   Two very important letters from members are below. If you read nothing else from this update, please read those.  MAJOR BILLING QUESTIONS.

3)   A letter was sent out from Hydro, dated May 30th, unsigned, giving the fees that were authorized by BCUC. There isn’t much in the letter except the fees but I find fault with the first sentence: “You are receiving this letter because you are enrolled in BC Hydro’s Meter Choices Program.” I never enrolled in their program, and I am not happy being told I did.

On the backside under “BCUC follow-up request”,  it speaks to the BCUC directive for Hydro to reflect in their billings when  estimated billing has been done for an extended period. Under the Tariff Hydro is to read each of our meters bi-monthly. On an exceptional basis an estimated bill can be sent for one billing period but any adjustment must be made the following billing period. (e.g. the meter must be read). There is no allowance for meters not to be read for 8, 10, 12, even 16 months as is happening. We can expect a pittance of a reduction – Hydro will somehow say it costs nothing for a meter to be read – quite the opposite of what they were saying last year at this time.

I had been suggesting that we should all read our meters and call the reading in to avoid estimated bills. I think we should reconsider this. Why should we do Hydro’s job? If we call the reading Hydro could very well use it and say the actual consumption figures were used – making it seem as if they had read the meter. We should read our meters and record it so that if an estimated bill shows a significant discrepancy, an adjusted bill can be requested.

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Letters:

Sent: June 2, 2014 1:43 PM
To: Patrick.Wruck@bcuc.com; Commission.Secretary@bcuc.com; michael.abraham@ic.gc.ca; MC.E&G.Western@ic.gc.ca
Subject: Electricity metering – Complaint against BC Hydro

Sirs/Madam,

I am writing to the British Columbia Utilities Commission and to Measurement Canada as a deeply concerned BC homeowner who believes that BC Hydro, through its smart meter program, has implemented a significant, unapproved, and therefore illegal, rate increase.

The existing residential electrical analogue meters measure root-mean-square (RMS) values of electrical current and voltage, and the resultant kWh consumed is calculated from these RMS values.

There continue to be numerous complaints in British Columbia about the higher billing after the installation of smart meters.

What we now know from the documented statements (see below and the attachments) by the meter Manufacturer Itron, is that the smart meter measures higher values of the power consumed than does the analogue meter. The same issue may apply to the digital, non-smart meter.

Exhibit 1: Itron’s smart meter specification sheet documentation for the C1S meter: “Captures energy that was not monitored in the past by electromechanical meters”,[Itron Specification Sheet C1S Centron Meter, 100188SP-06 C1S CENTRON.pdf]

Exhibit 2: >From another Itron Publication: “After one month, the CENTRON meters proved their ability to measure energy usage not measured by the electromechanical meters. This accuracy showed … kilowatt hours more than the electromechanical meters. That does not sound like much of a difference, but when it is multiplied by 10,000 end points, it adds up,” said Hastings. “City gains efficiency and additional revenues”, [Itron Publication 100374CS-02.pdf]

I am not disputing the requirement to improve the efficiency of the power grid by extracting additional data from the users’ meter.

What I am deeply offended by is the secretive method of introducing different measurement techniques, without advising the homeowners who have a contractual relationship with BC Hydro. The Utility has stated the following to me in writing on 15th January 2014: “BC Hydro has been collecting electricity consumption information for 50 years through a safe, secure and regulated process. The Smart Metering Program does not change this.” This would suggest that BC hydro is assuring me that smart meter measures the same as the analogue meter.

If the meters do in fact capture the instantaneous values of Current and Voltage using high sampling rates, then the power used in Watts would be (1.414 times Volts times 1.414 times Amperes) to equal a maximum value of 1.999 times Volts times Amperes, which is twice  the RMS watts value recorded by Analogue meters. (the relationship between Peak value is root 2 times the RMS value).

Homeowners have a contractual relationship with BC Hydro for the Utility to not only measure and to invoice for energy consumed, but to do so at the BCUC approved and announced rates and using established methods. Any fundamental change must be approved by the BCUC, Measurement Canada and the parties named in the contract must advised prior to implementation.

Since we now have documented proof from the meter Manufacturer that the meters measure and calculate higher values of the power consumed, as compared with the analogue meter, I need an immediate answer from BCUC and from Measurement Canada to each of these questions:

  1. What values of current and voltage are being measured by these smart meters?
  2. What is the sampling rate for each cycle of the 60 Hz sine wave in the meter circuitry? (see below).
  3. What is the accuracy of the analogue-to-digital current and voltage converters in the meters?
  4. How does the smart meter measure voltage and current waveforms that include transients and harmonics?
  5. What is the resultant power quantity amount calculated by the smart meter when compared to the same current, voltage, power factor and resultant power measured by an analogue meter?
  6. Why was this obvious difference in the measuring technique not investigated prior to BCUC approval and the implementation of this different technology?
  7. What is the Canadian Standard which governs the method of measuring varying, sinusoidal quantities in an electrically noisy environment?
  8. Please confirm that the BCUC is willing to conduct immediately independent tests of smart meters versus analogue meters, supervised by a Professional Engineer with appropriate qualifications and agreed to by user groups, to ensure that the BCUC mandate of “safe and economic delivery..” is assured.
  9. How will the BCUC advise the B.C. Public of this unadvertised add-on to their invoices since the start of the smart meter implementation?

No doubt Itron, BC Hydro and Measurement Canada can claim adequate meter accuracy, but what specific characteristics of the variables are the meters measuring?

If the meter measures the instantaneous values of current, power factor and voltage using high sampling rates, then these meters are using very different measuring techniques, and in addition to measuring peak values, will also be capturing harmonics, transients, fridge motors starting inrush etc. that were never captured by the analogue meter.

This new measuring technique violates the contract between the Utility and the homeowner, and if, as suspected, was done without advising the homeowner, then it would certainly appear to constitute a deception, if not an actual fraud, and results in a huge financial gain for the Utility.

By changing the method for measuring energy used, to a more “accurate” one they say, without adjusting the rates to reflect that, is fraud and theft. It amounts to an unapproved rate increase.

Please advise me as soon as possible of your response and your proposed action.

Attachments:

  1. [Itron Specification Sheet C1S Centron Meter, 100188SP-06 C1S CENTRON.pdf]  https://s3.amazonaws.com/ecodirect_docs/ITRON/C1S-CENTRON.pdf
  2. [Camden_Pairs_Itron_Meters,_Automated_Meter_Reading_for_Impressive_Results__-_City_gains_efficiency_and_additional_revenues] (Itron Publication 100374CS-02.pdf ) http://www.m2mpremier.com/UploadFiles/Camden_Pairs_Itron_Meters,_Automated_Meter_Reading_for_Impressive_Results__-_City_gains_efficiency_and_additional_revenues[1].pdf

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Sent: May 29, 2014 10:08 AM
To: Patrick.wruck@bcuc.com; commission.secretary@bcuc.com
Cc: dsnoble@shaw.ca; good@cknw.com; steeleonyourside@ctv.ca
Subject: BC Hydro unfair practice

Patrick and Commission Secretary,

BC Hydro estimated (Under Estimated) my consumption from Feb 19, 2013 to the next actual reading on Oct 17, 2013. The result was a huge bill in October. The worst part was they did not recalculate my bill over the entire period,  only the last bill cycle. I therefore lost my Step 1 unused amounts from my estimated bills and paid a higher step 2 on the October bill. I complained, at that time, and I was told that is how they calculate it.
Now I just got my latest bill which was based on my next actual meter reading since Oct 17 2013. Although I did not lose any step 1 savings over the winter, they did not recalculate it over the entire period of estimated readings and now I am paying more because the difference is being charged based on their new higher rates in this latest bill cycle. I complained again, and am awaiting a decision from their billing department.
Someone needs to start a class action law suit to reclaim the money that they stole from everyone by not actual doing their job and reading our meters.  I never had this problem until they changed over my meter to a smart meter on Feb 19, 2013 which does not connect to their network due to my remote rural address. After that point in time they missed reading my meter for 8 months and then 6 months. They saved money by not sending out a meter reader and then unfairly charged me more because of their actions. This is theft.

After I phoned BC Hydro customer service and complained again about both periods of an unread meter, they responded just today with a recalculation of my consumption from Oct 18, 2013 to April 23, 2014, resulting in a credit of $2.29. They however did not recalculate the previous period from Feb 19, 2013 t Oct 17, 2013. Why not? There were unused portions of my step one rate based on their estimates. If they don’t want to read my meter then I should be given the benefit of the doubt. I want this period recalculated over the entire period between meter readings. That should be law.

2 thoughts on “2014-06-04 Does the method used by $meters to measure usage constitute an illegal rate increase??”

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