2014-09-03 Office of the Info.and Privacy Commissioner re. “trusting Hydro”.

In a news release related to the Mt. Polley disaster,  the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner said its role was to ensure“legal requirements on public bodies to provide people with timely information where there is a significant risk of harm or where information is in the public interest”

Accordingly, this office has the responsibility to ensure that British Columbians receive accurate information about the dangers that $meters pose. Please see below letters to and a form letter from the OIPC. If this is the office that can hold BC Hydro accountable, they must hear from many of us to know that the concern is high.

  • Another letter below to  the Ombudsperson  using the online complaint form. Please, write your complaint.

Letters:

A series of 3 letters to/from the Information and Privacy Commissioner. Please read from the bottom up.

From: Sharon Noble [mailto:dsnoble@shaw.ca]
Sent: September 2, 2014 2:48 PM
To: ‘Info’
Subject: Smart Meters susceptibility to combustion

This letter is addressed to Commissioner Denham:

Dear Commissioner,

I received the email below that was sent by a member of your staff. It requires an immediate response to ensure that you know that BC Hydro is not informing your office or the public about the fires that have occurred or the risk that exists.

As I understand it, the purpose of your office is to investigate complaints such as those raised by Ms. Latta, and not to take as a given that BC Hydro, or any other agency, is acting as they are supposed to. If you accept without question that an investigation is unnecessary, please tell me, what is the purpose of the Commission?

Attached is a Fire Report based on just a few months research of just a small sampling of  “suspicious fires”  brought to my attention via the media or from victims themselves. This report contains information that I have found and confirmed via reports from the Fire Commissioner’s Office, through Freedom of Information requests from the Office of the Attorney General and from the BC Safety Authority. The information I’ve received verifies many instances of smart meter failures caused by shoddy installation practices, as well as fires that occurred months after installation.

There are also several instances where the meters failed and major fires might have occurred if immediate action hadn’t been taken.

The government has responded to the fires in Saskatchewan with the information you’ve repeated – that the meters in BC are manufactured by a different company. That is irrelevant. Wireless smart meters are basically the same – and have been found to have the same basic design flaws.

But there is one significant difference between the Sensus meters installed in Saskatchewan and the ITRON meters installed in BC. The Sensus Generation 4 meters do not have lithium batteries  which were found to contribute to fires. The ITRON meters do have lithium batteries which say, right on them, that they could explode when exposed to high temperatures (like sitting in the hot summer sun). If anything, the Sensus meters should be safer.

A technical report is being prepared by Canadian professional engineers which will explain the design flaws and the many regulations that BC Hydro is ignoring. These flaws and the lack of oversight are contributing to putting our property, and the lives of our loved ones at risk.

Please, Commissioner Denham, know that you are being misled just as we the public are when we are told these meters are not a fire hazard. They are – and we deserve the same protection as do those who live in Saskatchewan.

Should you wish more information about anything I’ve said in this email or in the Fire Report, do not hesitate to ask.

Sincerely,

Sharon Noble

Director, Coalition to Stop Smart Meters

From: Info <info@oipc.bc.ca>

Date: September 2, 2014 1:28:40 PM PDT

To: Subject: Smart Meters susceptibility to combustion

Good afternoon,

Thank you for your email and your interest in this subject.

We are informed by BC Hydro that the smart meters installed in BC are manufactured by a different company than those in Saskatchewan.  Further, BC Hydro informs us that they do not believe the meters they are using pose a risk of fire that would require public notification under s. 25 of the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act.  Our office trusts that if anything were to change with respect to this issue that BC Hydro would inform our office and would also notify the public.

Regards,

Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for B.C.
4th Floor, 947 Fort Street, Victoria BC V8V 3K3
tel. 250-387-5629 | fax 250-387-1696
Follow us on Twitter | info@oipc.bc.ca

This document is for general information only. It is not intended to be, and cannot be relied upon as, legal advice or other advice. Its contents do not fetter, bind, or constitute a decision or finding by, the Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner (OIPC) with respect to any matter, including any complaint, investigation or other matter, respecting which the OIPC will keep an open mind. Responsibility for compliance with the law (and any applicable professional or trade standards or requirements) remains with each organization and public body.

—–Original Message—–

Sent: August-16-14 3:48 PM
To: Info
Cc: Sharon Noble
Subject: Smart Meters susceptibility to combustion

Dear Commissioner Denham,

In a recent news release you have declared that legally public bodies must tell the public when they find something that poses a significant risk of harm.  Can this same policy not be applied to the smart meters that BC Hydro has installed throughout the province  which pose the risk of combustion and subsequent house fires, thus endangering the welfare of the public?  The admission by the  Saskatchewan government and by the makers of the smart meters that such events happen randomly and repeatedly should provoke a similar response by the BC government.  Why are the citizens of British  Columbia not afforded the same protection?

Thank you,

Yours sincerely,

Another letter in response to the Officer of the Information and Privacy Commissioner’s form letter.

Sent: September 2, 2014 3:16 PM
To: ‘Info’
Cc: adrian.dix.mla@leg.bc.ca; ‘John’; andrew.weaver.mla@leg.bc.ca; Lana.Popham.MLA@leg.bc.ca
Subject: smart meter fire issues

Thank you for your response to my e-mail. (which was the same form letter as the response above)

Yes, it is true that B.C. Hydro’s meters are made by Itron  not by Sensus, as used in Saskatchewan.  This does not relieve my concerns re. fires. If you read Sensus’ president’s statement he says: “Our experience has shown that these issues are systemic in the industry…”  And further Itron is not one of the two companies listed on the UL website for use in Canada.

 Please take the time to look at the attached PDF, prepared in June 2012, for the fire commissioner of Ontario.  I provided it in my last e-mail.  If you don’t have time for it all please note the following: (the attachment can be found at https://web.archive.org/web/20140209072031/http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.ca/html/wp-content/uploads/2013/02/Smart_Meter_Fires.pdf )

Page 28:

Both standards state the components must be able to withstand abuse, have performance requirement tests (accuracy tests), require current carrying parts be separated along with temperature rise tests.

However the meter base standard has additional simulation tests to ensure the structural integrity of all components

Why was that missing from the Measurement Canada LMB – EG – 07 specification.

Well simply it was because the mandate of Measurement Canada was only to ensure accuracy.

Page 29:

Further any references to the construction in the specification was only there to ensure accuracy over the life-span of the meter not to ensure that it operates safely during that life-span.

Page 30:

Checking on the UL website we found that only two companies were listed which produced meters for the use in Canada.

Schneider Electric USA Inc.

Triacta Power Technologies

Where are GE, Sensus etc….?

Page 37:

New meters may have defects that cause electrical failures or misalignment with old meter base

The meters are supposedly being designed and tested to specific standards to ensure safety

Do we have any policing bodies ensuring (like the CSA with Part II products) that the meters are designed correctly

Page 38:

Considering the new smart meters fall under part 3 of the EC their installation has been left up to the utilities to determine. However they are directly plugged/meshing with a single component which falls under Part 2 which has to be installed in accordance with the requirements of part 1

Therefore, when a utility owned (Part 3) component is directly meshed into a Part 2 component, would it make for more consistent connection, to have both components be scrutinized to the same standards and tested together and fall under the same installation guidelines

I hope this assists you in relooking at this matter and I wish I had as much trust in Hydro as you do.  I hope you have enough staff to at least have one person look more closely at this issue.  Thanks again for your time

From: Ombudsperson [mailto:systems@ombudsman.bc.ca]
Sent: Tuesday, September 02, 2014 9:43 PM
To:
Subject: Discrimination

Online Complaint Form

Confirmation of Receipt of Ombudsperson – Online Complaint Form:

Date/Time:
Salutation:
First Name:
Last Name:
Email:
Current Address:
Current Phone:
Work Phone #:
Fax #:
Best time to contact you: by email
Please enter any contact restrictions: Email will be easiest as you work the same hours as I every second week.
How did you hear about our office? Friend
  1. Which authority (ministry, municipality, school, college, or hospital, etc.) is your question or complaint about?
BC Hydro Utilities, Ministry of energy
  1. Who have you dealt with at the authority?
Greg Reimer, Bill Bennett, commissioner Erika Hamilton, John Horgan, Patrick Wruck
  1. Summarize your request for information or your complaint. List any steps you have taken to try to resolve it:
I have emailed BC Hydro regarding the extortion fees being charged for a service that previously was included in the reading of our analog meter. We have extended the emailing to Commission Secretary BCUC, Minister of Energy and Prime Minister, to all MLA’s… There is discrimination when those who have a smart meters and also require reading of their smart meters do not get charged for that same fee/ same service. Condos on Douglas Street are being read but not charged. BC Hydro said that the additional fee of $32.40 per month was required for the additional work and services required to manually read a “legacy” (non-smart meter), with the clear implication that all smart meters were being read remotely and thereby required less work. But this is not true. Many smart meters are still being read manually, requiring the same amount of time and effort as do the “legacy” meters. According to the Utilities Commission Act all people must be charged the same rate for the same service. The current practice of charging me $32.40 each month is discriminatory under this act and cannot be justified.
  1. Did you file an appeal or apply for a review? If yes, when was the last appeal or review and what was the result?
This is my first attempt through the ombudsman.
  1. Why do you believe the actions taken against you were unfair?
yes
  1. Describe the result or outcome that you seek.
Remove the charges, as they are not charging clients with smart meters.
  1. If you consider the matter urgent, explain why.
the fee is unjustified/unfair, and causing hardship to many and being misuse as bullying/harassing to force people to give in to the smart meters.

 

Sharon Noble

Director, Coalition to Stop Smart Meters

“We will never have a perfect world, but it’s not romantic or naïve to work toward a better one.”

Steven Pinker (b. 1954), Award-winning, Canadian-born U.S. Intellectual and Scientist (Cognitive Psychology);

sent from a wired PC

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