2015-12-22 Some great stories about people who are off the grid, and loving it!

  • The cybersecurity warnings continue. This article is long, but in it is mention of the $$meters and their adding to the vulnerability.

“The rush to tie smart meters, home programmable thermostats and other smart appliances to the grid also is causing fresh vulnerabilities.

About 45 percent of homes in the U.S. are hooked up to a smart meter, which measures electricity usage and shares information with the grid. The grid uses that information to adjust output or limit power deliveries to customers during peak hours.

Those meters are relatively simple by design, mostly to keep their cost low, but their security is flimsy. Some can be hacked by plugging in an adapter that costs $30 on eBay, researchers say.

FERC recently raised concerns about another area that is not covered by federal cybersecurity rules: contractors that sell energy companies software and equipment. As is evident from the Calpine incident, attackers have used outside companies to pull off hacks against energy companies….

But cybersecurity experts say the protective gaps between computer systems that manage utilities’ business operations and machines that manage their grids are not always as wide or as unbridgeable as utilities say they are. And even the utilities’ own experts, who maintain it would be extraordinarily difficult for a hacker to knock out power to customers, admit there is always a way in.

“If the motivation is high enough on the attacker side, and they have funding to accomplish their mission,” Parcel said, “they will find a way.”

http://apnews.myway.com/article/20151221/us–infrastructure-power_grid-cyberattacks-29dbb3fbf9.html

 

  • Another rate increase for Fortis customers!  Sounds as if there will be many suffering like those in Cowichan Valley – having to rely on handouts to make ends meet.  Unconscionable.

http://www.castanet.net/news/Kelowna/154464/Power-rates-rising

 

  • Recently there were articles about pilot projects that would lead to eliminating landlines in the US, having only internet or cell phone service. Now the Government Accountability Office has published a report saying this has to be thought through because there are potential problems in doing this.

“The Federal Communications Commission should be more diligent in collecting data on the transition of communications networks from legacy telephone to Internet protocol, or IP, with an eye toward communications resilience, said the Government Accountability Office.

The watchdog is concerned that the communications sector, which is critical to the U.S. economy and public safety operations, may face degraded reliability in times of crisis, and that FCC and the Department of Homeland Security may not be doing enough to assess the strength of networks following IP transition.”

http://tinyurl.com/hc2vdqx


  • Some great stories of people (mostly women) who live off the grid, and love it.

https://www.knowledge.ca/program/life-grid#interview

 

 

  • An update on a Maryland parent’s effort to obtain schooling for her child who is sensitive to wifi. The 10 min. video by Dr. Maret is really quite good.

http://safetechforschoolsmaryland.blogspot.ca/2015/12/update-on-court-filing-for-student-with.html

 

  • A member sent in this article from 2012 about a Smart meter hacking tool.

“As with any release of a hacking tool, there are two sides of the same coin (see Power Pwn: This DARPA-funded power strip will hack your network ). On the one hand, Termineter should help companies find vulnerabilities and test their products. On the other hand, Termineter can also be used maliciously to modify consumer data, inflicting financial loss on one or multiple victims.”


  • A quick summary by year of what research has been done and recommendations, etc. since 1993. A great reference tool although sad to see that so many efforts have resulted in so little change.

http://meansforchange.org/Reduction/US-Reduction-Efforts

 

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Letters:

 

From Hawaii. The article is not available to non-subscribers, so I’ve printed it in full:

 

Reports are critical of smart-meter conversions by Jon Woodhouse –  The Maui News – December 22, 2015:
http://www.mauinews.com/page/content.detail/id/605227/Reports-are-critical-of-smart-meter-conversions.html?nav=18

With the news that NextEra Energy and Hawaiian Electric have reported installation of new smart meters would cost consumers up to $350 million, the question arises: Why do we need them and who benefits?

Agreeing with a 2011 Consumer’s Digest report that “experts suggest that smart-meter conversion represents little more than a boondoggle that is being foisted on consumers,” we need to get educated before it’s too late.

Two years ago, Germany’s Economy Ministry commissioned a study which concluded installation costs would be greater than the achievable energy savings for average citizens, “while the bulk of benefit could go to industrial consumers.”

In reviewing the issue, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said, “Consumers don’t need to be forced to pay billions for so-called smart technology to know how to reduce their utility bills,” while adding, “the only real question is: How dumb do they think we are?” And Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette reported that there is “No net economic benefit to ratepayers.”

A new smart-meter report by the U.K.’s Future Energy Strategies noted: “Critics, many of whom are within the energy industry and prefer to remain anonymous, contend that the benefits will be at best marginal, the technology will soon be out of date and need replacing and there is absolutely no consumer demand for their money to be spent on them.”

Don’t get lumbered with hefty rate increases to pay for meters we don’t need. Say no to smart meters.

Jon Woodhouse, Kula

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Happy Holidays!!

Newsletter prepared by Sharon Noble