2015-05-02 Hydro refuses to answer questions re. costs, spent and future.

 

  • Here is the youtube of the announcement of the Tesla battery yesterday. If this is bought by many, the price will come down and many more of us will be able to say good-bye to Hydro.

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yKORsrlN-2k

 

  • Maryland Smart Meter Awareness group, with retired Environment Protection Agency lawyer, resisting smeters and raising awareness about health concerns. 

http://cnsmaryland.org/2015/05/01/smart-meters-energize-a-controversy-in-maryland/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+CNSmaryland+%28CNS+Maryland%29

  • Technology – wireless connectivity from a mile way with devices below ground!!!

 On-Ramp maintains that other types of wireless networks, including cellular and mesh, lack the reach, capacity, and scalability of its patented Random Phase Multiple Access (RPMA) technology. According to On-Ramp, a key differentiating capability of RPMA is its ability to connect wirelessly with devices below ground from as far away as a mile.

http://www.xconomy.com/san-diego/2015/05/01/on-ramp-wireless-looks-to-catch-coming-wave-of-iot-technologies/

 

 

  • Below is a long stream of letters from a member to BC Hydro in an attempt to get information that concern the business case for the $$meter program, the costs, etc. We have a right to know what we are buying, if the devices have been tested and to what standards, etc. It is our money that is being spent. Please read from the bottom up.
  • Thanks to this member for pursuing this issue, and now taking it to the AG. It is through persistence like this that our voices will finally be heard by the AG.
  • We need a full and open investigation like the one done in Ontario – and one that follows the money.

 

_______________________________

 

Letters:

 

From: XX
Sent: April-28-15 12:59 PM
To: ‘BC Auditor General’
Cc:premier@gov.bc.ca‘; ‘bill.bennett.mla@leg.bc.ca‘; ‘adrian.dix.mla@leg.bc.ca‘; ‘peter.fassbender.mla@leg.bc.ca‘; ‘john.horgan.mla@leg.bc.ca‘; ‘mary.polak.mla@leg.bc.ca

Subject: FW: Smart Meter Warranty & Reliability

 

Dear Carol Bellringer – BC Auditor General

 

As can be seen from the e mail trail below, I have been trying to get BC Hydro to answer three very straight questions concerning the Smart Meter warranty & reliability.  Hydro continues to “dodge & weave” in an attempt to avoid answering the questions.  I therefore leave it to your office to include the following in your audit of the Smart Meter program:

 

  1. Hydro acknowledges a 66 month warranty period.
    What they will not answer is whether the replacement cost is “prorated” over the warranty period. For example many car batteries have a 36 month warranty, if it fails in the last month of the warranty, the supplier will only pay 1/36th of the replacement cost. Is this what we have with the Smart Meter warranty?

 

  1. How many meters have been replaced under warranty and how many were replaced in the first year?  Hydro’s Smart Meter Business Plan (SMBP) states 1% of the meters  are planned for replacement annually. Hydro claims the actual replacement is lower than the plan but refuses to state specifics.

In my own research I found the following:

“Smart meters are already posting failure rates, anecdotally, in the 5% per annum range. This is ten times the failure rate of the traditional meter, and the lifecycle of the product has barely begun.”

See reference 1

 

  1. What is the rated Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF) of the Itron meter.  Hydro continues ignore this question.  The SMBP  states a number of considerations to be included in the RFP for the Smart Meters but makes no mention of the MTBF which is an industry standard.

My own research has turned up the following:

“MTBF is at the heart of many activities in utility operations, including operations and maintenance, planning, finance, customer service and consumer education.”

“One of the largest problems in building smart grid business cases today is the issue of depreciation. Legacy assets had useful lives of 30 or 40 years and could be depreciated for twenty years. Most electronics in commercial use outside of utilities have useful lives of five years or less, with most depreciation taken at three years.   Converging short‐term useful life of technology assets with demands for decades long useful life for a rate design is a massive problem.”

 “Within the data center environment, climate controlled and focused on high standards for uptime, the best devices are posting failure rates of about 240 months MTBF.  A typical desktop computer fails at a rate of roughly 150 months MTBF. A typical laptop computer is far less reliable, with a failure rate of roughly 80 months MTBF.”

“Compare the highest functioning data center devices at 240 months MTBF with typical electro‐ mechanical meters with a MTBF of 2400 months. These low‐tech meters are  ten times more durable that the most highly reliable devices in the data center.  Some AMI devices already appear to be posting failure rates consistent with routers in the 240 months MTBF range.   The full range of variation is not yet known, but anecdotal evidence suggests that AMI meters can be just as dysfunctional as using a laptop” ( ie MTBF of 80 months)

See reference 2

Thank you for taking my points into consideration.

XX

—————————

Reference 1

http://www.energycentral.com/gridtandd/gridoperations/articles/article_print.cfm?did=2368

 

Reference 2

http://energy.gov/sites/prod/files/oeprod/DocumentsandMedia/TekTrakker_Comments.pdf

_____________________________

From: Smart Meters [mailto:SmartMeters@bchydro.com]
Sent: April-14-15 1:22 PM
To: XX

Subject: BC Hydro metering technology (88843)

 

Dear XX

 

BC Hydro acknowledges your March 23, 2015 email regarding BC Hydro meters.

Further details on the warranty between BC Hydro and its meter vendor, Itron, are considered commercially sensitive and we are not at liberty to disclose them.

Like any other electronic equipment, it was anticipated that a small number of meters would fail. This has always been the case with new equipment of any sort, including the digital meters which BC Hydro has been using for the last 10 years.

As you know, the meter manufacturer’s warranty covers the costs of any replacement meters. BC Hydro’s business plan for smart meters included the cost of replacing a small number of meters every year and the number of meters that need replacing has been much lower than anticipated.

If a customer believes there is an accuracy issue with their meter they can request an independent meter test by Measurement Canada. To date, Measurement Canada has tested more than 560 smart meters at the request of the customer and all of them were found to be accurate.

Sincerely,

Brad Bishop
Meter Deployment Lead
BC Hydro Smart Metering Program

_______________________________________________
From: XX
Date: March 23, 2015 at 7:28:17 PM PDT
To: <scott.macdonald@bchydro.com>
Cc: <bill.bennett.mla@leg.bc.ca>, <commission.secretary@bcuc.com>, <greg.reimer@bchydro.com>

Subject: FW: BC Hydro metering technology (88843)

Dear Scott MacDonald, I understand you are the Freedom of Information  and Privacy Officer for BC Hydro.  As stated below, BC Hydro refuses to answer some of my questions concerning the Itron Wireless Smart Meters, claiming the information is “commercially sensitive” and therefore Hydro is not at liberty to disclose this information.

 

I do not believe my questions breach any sensitive commercial contractual arrangements or are of a confidential nature that as a tax payer, I should be denied a straight answer to a straight question.  Therefore under the Freedom of Information act, I am submitting my questions to you, as follows:

 

  1. Hydro states the Itron meter has a 66 month warranty from the date of shipment.  Is the cost of replacement prorated over the 66 month period? Ie if the meter fails after 60 months, the replacement cost covered by the warranty would be 6/66 or 1/11th of the new meter cost or does Itron provide a new meter, at no cost, regardless of when it fails in the warranty period?

 

  1. Hydro states “ a small number of meters have failed”. To date exactly how many meters have been replaced under warranty and how many of those were replaced in the first year of installation?

 

  1. What is the “rated” Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF) stated in months for the Itron Smart Meter Hydro purchased?  This is an industry standard rating for all instrumentation equipment that has been in existence for decades.

Thank you

XX
_______________________________________

 

From: Smart Meters [mailto:SmartMeters@bchydro.com]
Sent: March-03-15 3:06 PM
To: XX

Subject: BC Hydro metering technology (88843)

 

Dear XX

 

BC Hydro acknowledges your February 14, 2015 email regarding BC Hydro meters.

 

BC Hydro can confirm that we have installed more than 1.9 million smart meters on homes and businesses across the province. BC Hydro’s smart meters undergo rigorous quality assurance testing by both the manufacturer and BC Hydro to ensure they are safe, accurate and reliable.

 

As with any new electrical equipment, a small number of meters have stopped working due to component failures. This has always been the case with electrical equipment, including the digital meters BC Hydro used for over a decade. Meters may need to be replaced because they – for example: are damaged during shipping, have LCD screens with segments that do not light up, lack upgraded firmware, or are missing a year on a seal.

 

The warranty period for meters supplied by Itron is 66 months from the date the meters are shipped from Itron’s warehouse. Since the meters are still under warranty, BC Hydro sends back any failed meters and they are replaced by Itron free-of-charge. BC Hydro pays for the cost of meter exchange, which, as outlined in BC Hydro’s Meter Choices Program application to the B.C. Utilities Commission, takes approximately 10 minutes on site at a cost of about $55, including travel time. The exact time and costs involved will vary, depending on situation specifics. With regard to further details of the warranty, that is a matter of commercial agreement between BC Hydro, the buyer and owner of the meter, and the manufacturer issuing the warranty.

 

As you may appreciate, contracts of the scale of the one between BC Hydro and its meter vendor, Itron, contain confidential and/or commercially sensitive information. Other questions you have asked are commercially sensitive, and BC Hydro is not at liberty to disclose this information.

 

Sincerely,

 

Brad Bishop
Meter Deployment Lead
BC Hydro Smart Metering Program
_________________________________________________
From: XX
Sent: February-14-15 6:13 PM
To:greg.reimer@bchydro.com‘; ‘scott.macdonald@bchydro.com
Cc:commission.secretary@bcuc.com

Subject: Smart Meter Warranty

 

Dear Mr. Reimer, as a BC resident, tax payer and Hydro customer, I am requesting the following information on the BC Hydro Smart Meter program relating to the Smart Meter warranty:

 

  1. Please confirm the warranty period for the Itron smart meter is 66 months from the date of shipment from the Itron factory.  If this is not correct, then please state the warranty period and conditions.

 

  1. What was the shipping date for the first bulk order of smart meters and how many meters were in this first order?

 

  1. To date, what is the total number of smart meters shipped from Itron?

 

  1. To date how many smart meters have been replaced under warranty from Itron?

 

  1. What are the main reasons for replacing the smart meters under warranty and how many have been replaced in each main category?

 

  1. Does Hydro “bench test” the smart meters before putting them into service?

 

  1. Based on the shipping dates, what is the average warranty period remaining on the BC Hydro smart meters?

 

  1. When a meter is replaced under warranty, does a new full  66 month (assuming this is correct) warranty period commence or is it a shorter period related to the original meter shipping date?

 

  1. Does Itron replace the meter “free of charge” regardless of the shipping date or is the replacement cost “prorated” based on the time since shipment?  IE, if the meter was shipped 60 months ago, the warranty replacement cost would be 1/11th of the original price and the balance paid by Hydro.

 

  1. What is the rated Mean Time Before Failure (MTBF) of the Itron smart meter?

 

Yours truly,

XX

******************************************************

 

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