2015-09-01 BCUC needs months to investigate safety complaint

  • Below, in the “letters” section, is the latest from BCUC regarding my official request for them to do their job with regard to the safety of the smart meters.  I included the earlier communications (minus the photos) for those who might have missed that update.  My request for a moratorium on installation of the smart meters during this period of investigation was not acknowledged. Perhaps if some of you wrote to BCUC, encouraging them to do a thorough and independent investigation, it would give them some incentive to complete it more quickly.

 

 

  • Want a chuckle? Hydro says that the smart meters shortened outages …. But they don’t know by how much.

http://www.cknw.com/2015/09/01/bc-hydro-claims-smart-meters-led-to-shorter-outages/#comment-61718

 

A comment by a member at the 15 min. point of the Aug. 31 podcast. This sort of opportunity is a good one to speak to the fact that the many promises made by ITRON and BCHydro/FortisBC are empty. Nowhere have I read that any of the benefits that justified the huge costs, loss of jobs, and dangers associated with these smart meters.

http://www.cbc.ca/radio/mobile/touch/podcasts/british-columbia/bc-almanac-1/

 

  • More collectors spotted by a member:

591 Cormorant Pl., Campbell River –

https://www.google.ca/maps/@49.9970786,-125.2382478,3a,75y,90h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sncmrp3pOjmwURtNp-xbHtA!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

1487 Grafton Ave., Errington by Telus rural junction trailer – https://www.google.ca/maps/@49.2895119,-124.3653255,3a,75y,270h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sma2wYl_X7qaqV4CeXwuf5Q!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

2430 Alberni Hwy., Coombs by VI Radar –

https://www.google.ca/maps/@49.3043025,-124.4319535,3a,75y,90h,90t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1svIt1_X0j6wfrrR4a-zMMNQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

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Letters:

 

From: XXXXXXXX

Sent: August 31, 2015 9:28 PM
To: SmartMeters@bchydro.com
Cc: john.horgan.mla@leg.bc.ca; scott.hamilton.mla@leg.bc.ca; mem.minister@gov.bc.ca; una@citizensforsafetechnology.org; ‘Dennis and Sharon Noble’ <dsnoble@shaw.ca>;  commission.secretary@bcuc.com; greg.reimer@bchydro.com
Subject: RE: BC Hydro Smart Metering Program

To: Michael , BC Hydro Smart meter program

Thank you for your letter dated  June 25 2015,   In reviewing your letter I have a few concerns and will endeavour to keep my points short.

* With regards to my current billing meter I do believe that when we had our current residence built back in 1983 , we had actually purchased the Billing meter that is currently installed . I am saying based on the fact that I myself as a certified electrician back then  applied for an electrical permit and installed the  electrical wiring and vaguely recall having a discussion with the builder regarding the added cost of the meter. I have been looking for documents to support this claim.

*In contacting measurement Canada, they do not keep records on specific billing meters and nowhere on the meter is there a expiry date listed. Further to the measurement Canada  website they  will test and re-verify an individual’s own meter, they also list all accredited organizations which are able to re-certify  my current billing meter if so chosen. On the list is BChydro  as well as  an  independent company locally in Vancouver BC .

 

*you say that your smart meters are part of your electrical grid distribution and that they don’t require CSA certification but rather have to meet other standards, rules and regulations  as you have listed.  The problem I have is all  that  you have listed  in my opinion is out dated with the most recent being  2008, with other standards you have listed being older. The Canadian Electrical Code  (CSA Group) in current use today is 2015 , with the next revision coming in 2018 . if BC hydro is trying to modernize their grid distribution you would think that they would incorporate  CSA certification as I believe it better reflects what is happening presently in modern day technology.

*Historically Meter bases, (Sockets, same meaning)  have always been CSA certified  and along with the analog dial meter have been tested and certified together as history  would prove. The net result is problem free  meaning no fires that I personally have ever been privy too in my 25+ years of experience. Both the meter base and meter are both current carrying components and literally plugged/meshed into one another  If hypothetically there was a fire I am sure that the meter base socket and the meter base itself would react the same way to a fire. Presently we have anecdotal information supporting that the problems are occurring after the old analog meters are being updated to the new digital smart meters and it is very evident in pictures that the meter bases and the smart meters are reacting differently in a fire situation.  This supports that there is maybe something wrong  here.  In my opinion it would make more sense to have both components (existing meter base And Digital smart meter) be scrutinized to the same standards and tested together and fall under the same certification, that being CSA

*I know there are better options and choices out there that are more efficient and a lot safer when it comes to digital meters, my concerns  surrounding BChydro and their deployment of their smart meters are very real and I am presently consulting with other parties as well as my insurance agent to explore my options.

Respectfully,

XXXXXXXX

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From: Jerry Flynn [mailto:jerryjgf@shaw.ca]
Sent: August 31, 2015 11:14 AM
To: ben.lobb@parl.gc.ca; hedy.fry@parl.gc.ca; Murray.Rankin@parl.gc.ca; Matthew.Kellway@parl.gc.ca; Wladyslaw.Lizon@parl.gc.ca; james.lunney@parl.gc.ca; cathy.mcleod@parl.gc.ca; Christine.Moore@parl.gc.ca; David.Wilks@parl.gc.ca; terence.young@parl.gc.ca
Cc: ‘Island Tides News’ <news@islandtides.com>
Subject: If the public knew the truth, heads would roll and people would be jailed!

 

The Shocking Truth About the Hidden Dangers of Electricity
Electric and magnetic fields (EMFs) accompany all electrical power generation, transmission and distribution equipment, household wiring, electrical appliances, etc.

The enormous increase in electrical and electronic devices in today’s world coincides with an alarming increase in most major diseases, e.g. cancers, asthma, autism, ADD/ADHD and behavioral problems in children. EMFs have also been linked to breast cancer. http://www.dirtyelectricity.ca/dirty_electricity_is_dangerous.htm


The BioInitiative 2012 Report classified powerline EMFs a Known carcinogen! Also in 2012, Sweden’s 25-year study of 500,000 people found overwhelming evidence that electric fields caused four times the number of cancers in children and three times the number in adults! In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency acknowledged that powerline EMFs are a “serious threat to health” and cause “life threatening diseases.”

Twenty years earlier, in 1990, the EPA had wanted to classify EMFs a Probable carcinogen but were silenced! In 1996, Ontario Hydro workers exposed to high levels of EMF were found to have 13 times the normal rate of Leukemia! In 1994, studies found that electric utility workers had a 10-fold increase risk of developing lung cancer! Studies in 1988 showed electric utility workers had 13 times normal rate of brain tumors!

Non-industry scientists say ambient levels of magnetic fields in homes should be less than 1 milliGauss (1 mG)! They know that ambient levels of just 2-3 mG cause leukemia in children. Russia has the world’s safest (lowest) standard for homes – recommending levels no more than 1.5 mG! Sweden recommends up to 2.5 mG! Yet Health Canada stubbornly claims: “There is no conclusive evidence that EMFs are harmful.” Canadians are therefore forced to endure magnetic fields up to 1000 mG!

Clearly, a thorough independent investigation needs to be conducted – immediately! Those found guilty of hiding the truth should be jailed!

Sincerely,

James G. (“Jerry”) Flynn

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From: Complaints BCUC:EX [mailto:Complaints@bcuc.com]
Sent: September 1, 2015 10:44 AM
To: ‘Dennis and Sharon Noble’ <dsnoble@shaw.ca>
Subject: RE: BCUC;s responsibility re. safety — incidents

Dear Ms. Noble,

Thank you for your email. Commission staff are currently investigating this matter and we expect the investigation to conclude in the next few months (likely by the end of the year). Once more information becomes available I will provide you with an update.

Thank you,

Patrick Wruck
Customer Relations Analyst
British Columbia Utilities Commission
6th Floor, 900 Howe Street
Vancouver, B.C.  V6Z 2N3
Website: www.bcuc.com Email: complaints@bcuc.com
Phone: 604.660.4700 | Fax: 604.660.1102 | Toll Free: 1.800.663.1385

——————

From: Dennis and Sharon Noble [mailto:dsnoble@shaw.ca]
Sent: Thursday, August 27, 2015 9:35 PM
To: Complaints BCUC:EX; Commission Secretary BCUC:EX
Subject: BCUC;s responsibility re. safety — incidents

Dear Mr. Wruck,

It has been more than a month since your last email regarding the incidents of smart meters that have overheated, melted, and burned. Could you please tell me what is happening and when the investigation will be complete?

I believe given the seriousness of this complaint, the evidence that fires have occurred, putting lives and property at risk, and the length of time review of the information is taking that the BCUC should call a halt to further installations of ITRON smart meters by both BCHydro and FortisBC. A fire during this drought could be even more disastrous.

Regards,

Sharon Noble

———————-

From: Complaints BCUC:EX [mailto:Complaints@bcuc.com]
Sent: July 24, 2015 10:38 AM
To: ‘Dennis and Sharon Noble’
Subject: RE: BCUC’s responsibility re. safety — incidents.

Dear Ms. Noble,

Thank you for your email to the BC Utilities Commission regarding “incidents of burned, melted, or failed meters”. Commission staff are currently reviewing your evidence and investigating this issue. Once our investigation is complete, we will provide you with an update. Thank you for your patience while we review this matter.

Regards,

Patrick Wruck
Customer Relations Analyst
British Columbia Utilities Commission
6th Floor, 900 Howe Street
Vancouver, B.C. V6Z 2N3
Website: www.bcuc.com
Phone: 604.660.4700 | Fax: 604.660.1102 | Toll Free: 1.800.663.1385

———————————
From: Dennis and Sharon Noble [mailto:dsnoble@shaw.ca]
Sent: July 16, 2015 6:09 PM
To:complaints@bcuc.com‘ ; ‘commission.secretary@bcuc.com
Subject: BCUC’s responsibility re. safety — incidents.
Importance: High

Dear Mr. Wruck,

Thank you for your response of July 14, 2015.

I agree that Fortis acknowledged that fires had been associated with poor installation practice and determined to address this. I would note that no such discussion took place with regard to BCHydro’s program. Damages did occur due to the fact that Corix installers were poorly/inadequately trained.

But during the Fortis application process there was no debate about the fact that the smart meters have design flaws and that they were being installed into a meter base that was designed, tested and certified to hold an analog — not a digital or smart meter. This area was neglected even though ITRON had experienced many failures in years prior to Fortis (or BCHydro) having signed any contract. It would appear that either ITRON mislead those attempting to perform due diligence, or efforts to ensure the smart meters were safe fell short.

There have been quite a few incidents of burned, melted, or failed meters. Because BCHydro often removes the meter (or what is left of it) from the scene of the fire before an investigation can be completed, evidence is difficult to obtain. Despite this I have obtained evidence and below are some examples. I believe these are sufficient to demonstrate that these meters are dangerous and to warrant the BCUC’s attention because lives are being put at risk.

1) Images 1 and 3 burned meter from #####, Burnaby, Jan. 2015

2) Image 2c and 3595 Triumph melted meter from #### Vancouver, BC Nov. 2014

3) Images 2781, 2777 and 2774 burned meter from #### W., Vancouver Oct. 2014

4) Photos 2 and 3 burned meter from ####., Revelstoke, May, 2014

5) FOI #2014-188 from BC Safety Authority regarding a fire in the meter base at 3466 Darwin, Coquitlam, Aug. 2012. BC Hydro paid for repairs.

6) http://www.cloverdalereporter.com/news/176510271.html No reports have been filed to BC Safety Authority even though electricians are required to do so about any such event.  BCHydro refuses to provide the trouble report about this incident even though I provided the owner’s name, address and date. They claimed that the Freedom of Information and Privacy Act allows them to refuse to divulge this information based on “third party privacy”. I spoke with the owner and he had been told it fault of the meter base which is his responsibility. BCHydro did not include this on their annual “incident report”.

Mr. Wruck, will you please confirm that BCUC will complete a thorough investigation into the safety of these meters, both in British Columbia and elsewhere? If these meters are causing fires in Texas, Ontario and California, this is reason enough to determine that these meters are defective and should not be on homes in BC.

There are other design flaws in addition to the lack of compatibility of the meter base that cause these devices to pose serious fire hazards. If you would like information about these features, please let me know.

Regards,

Sharon Noble

—————————–

From: Complaints BCUC:EX [mailto:Complaints@bcuc.com]
Sent: July 14, 2015 1:52 PM
To: ‘Dennis and Sharon Noble’
Subject: RE: BCUC’s responsibility re safety.

Dear Ms. Noble,

Thank you for your email to the BC Utilities Commission regarding your concerns about the safety of BC Hydro’s Smart Metering Program.

While the Commission has not had any involvement in the planning or implementation of the Smart Metering Program due to the Clean Energy Act, the Commission does have general supervision of all public utilities including safety. Accordingly, if we receive a complaint, with evidence about an actual safety incident, Commission staff or the Commission may investigate the incident. However, without evidence of an actual incident the Commission has no reason to undertake an investigation.

In your email you state that “the ITRON Openway meter has design flaws that can cause and has caused fires” and you provide a legal brief from Texas regarding this matter. However, you have not provided any evidence of an actual incident; therefore no investigation will be undertaken at this time.

Regarding your concern that the risk of fires was not considered during the FortisBC hearing, please note this issue was discussed and the Commission found “there is a low-risk of fires resulting from installation of the new meters” (please refer to pages 143-145 of the decision for more information about fire risks. The decision is available here: *_Decision).

Thank you for contacting the Commission.

Regards,

Patrick Wruck
Customer Relations Analyst
British Columbia Utilities Commission
6th Floor, 900 Howe Street
Vancouver, B.C. V6Z 2N3
Website: www.bcuc.com
Phone: 604.660.4700 | Fax: 604.660.1102 | Toll Free: 1.800.663.1385
—————————-

From: Dennis and Sharon Noble [mailto:dsnoble@shaw.ca]
Sent: Monday, July 13, 2015 11:33 PM
To: Wruck, Patrick BCUC:EX; Commission Secretary BCUC:EX
Subject: BCUC’s responsibility re safety.

Dear Mr. Wruck and Secretary Hamilton,

Attached is a form letter that has been sent to many people who have raised concerns about various aspects of BCHydro’s and FortisBC’s smart meter program. I would appreciate having some clarification please.

I am fully aware that the Clean Energy Act says that the BCUC cannot interfere with any aspect of BC Hydro’s smart meter program. Could you please tell me if that includes where the safety of the public is directly involved?

With reference to concerns about FortisBC’s program, you, Mr. Wruck, have stated that BCUC has determined the meters to be safe. Never was the fire issue discussed or investigated during the application process. At the time, we didn’t realize that that there were many design flaws that caused the smart meters to pose a fire hazard.

According to the BC Utilities Commission Act, a major duty of the Commission is to safeguard the public’s safety and to ensure that service is provided in a safe manner.

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.

Independent evidence is available that confirms that the ITRON Openway meter has design flaws that can cause and has caused fires. A legal brief from Texas is attached. Testimony in the brief states ITRON Openway meters used by Centerpoint Energy in Houston, the very same model being used by BCHydro and FortisBC, have failed in large numbers. I refer you specifically to the following statements and pages:

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 he meters used by CenterPoint Energy in Houston.” Pg. 25

#4 is particularly relevant because the meter bases on our homes were designed, tested and certified to be used only with an analog meter, and nothing else. Despite many requests, no certification by a professional electrical engineer licensed in BC has been made available. Such certification would confirm the meter bases to be compatible with the smart meters (or digital meters) and the meters themselves to be safe. We have been told by BCHydro that there is no certification document, as is required by the BC Electrical Safety Standards Act.

Can you please confirm for me that the Clean Energy Act and Direction 4 preclude the BCUC from taking action even where lives and property of British Columbians are concerned because the equipment being used by BC Hydro is unsafe?

Can you please explain why the BCUC is not taking action with regard to FortisBC’s smart meters?

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Sharon Noble

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Newsletter prepared by Sharon Noble

“When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty.”  Thomas Jefferson.