2016-01-14 NDP hits Hydro for misleading business plan for $$meters

  • May I ask for your help yet again?   Below is the stream of emails back and forth with Patrick Wruck, Complaints Officer for BCUC with the Commission Secretary being copied regarding smart meter fires.    You will see that this began in July, 2015, and to date there has been nothing except a series of emails saying staff is reviewing the material I’ve sent.   If they truly are serious about this, what are they doing?    Why is this taking so long? Are they deliberately avoiding providing me/us with information to protect the program and BC Hydro?

I believe we’ve all been exceedingly patient and deserve to know what is happening? When will these defective devices be removed from our homes and our neighbours’ homes? Lives and property are being put at risk while this drags on.  The only pressure for answers will come from us – the politicians and media will not help.

May I please ask you to consider writing to Patrick.wruck@bcuc.com and to Secretary Erica Hamilton at commission.secretary@bcuc.com asking them to give us some answers? If you would like to share your letters, please copy me and let me know I can include in an update (without your name if you prefer).

 

  • People in Texas are knowledgeable about the problems with Smart Meters and nearly rioted at a city council meeting.

http://www.thenewamerican.com/tech/item/22316-petitions-purple-posts-and-public-private-partnerships

 

  • The NDP has hit out about the faulty, misleading business plan and the lack of a complete financial report on the $$meter program.   Too bad Mr. Dix hit only the energy theft issue. What about the short life span, the costs to pay for damages, the increased cost for cybersecurity protection, etc. etc that is not in the financial plan or in the recent financial reports?

http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/british-columbia/bc-hydro-inflated-claims-of-smart-meter-benefits-ndp-critic-says/article28205306/comments/

 

I would highly recommend you listen to the 20 min. YouTube they discussed by Prof. Trevor Marshall in which he discusses the findings that minuscule levels of RF, far lower than even the BioInitiative group recommends, have been shown to cause serious problemshttps://www.youtube.com/watch?v=37j2jDN8IVo&feature=youtu.be

 

  • A glitch in software turns off “smart” thermostats around the world. Imagine being away from home (a snowbird) and your home’s heating is turned off….  Just one more example of problems with this “smart” technology.

http://www.nbcnews.com/tech/gadgets/empty-nest-glitch-disables-smart-thermostats-nationwide-n496641

*************************************
Letters:

From: Complaints BCUC:EX [mailto:Complaints@bcuc.com]
Sent: December 29, 2015 10:32 AM
To: ‘Dennis and Sharon Noble’ <dsnoble@shaw.ca>
Subject: RE: Smart meter fire

Dear Ms. Noble,

Thank you for your email. Commission staff are conducting a thorough review of your complaint and it is taking longer than expected. Once the review is complete a response will be provided to you. Thank you again for your patience.

Regards,

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: Tuesday, December 22, 2015 11:14 PM
To: Complaints BCUC:EX
Subject: RE: Smart meter fire

Dear Mr. Wruck,

Have you any idea when the staff will share comments about all of the information that I’ve provided. It does seem that after 4-5 months there must be some feedback that can be shared.

Thank you.

Happy holidays,

Sharon noble

——————————-

From: Complaints BCUC:EX [mailto:Complaints@bcuc.com]
Sent: December 22, 2015 10:39 AM
To: ‘Dennis and Sharon Noble’ <dsnoble@shaw.ca>
Subject: RE: Smart meter fire

Dear Ms. Noble,

Thank you for providing additional information regarding your concerns about “smart meters as fire hazards”. The information you provided has been shared with the staff currently reviewing this matter.

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: Friday, December 18, 2015 11:37 AM
To: Complaints BCUC:EX
Cc: Commission Secretary BCUC:EX
Subject: RE: Smart meter fire

Dear Mr. Wruck,

I now have more information for you and your staff to consider regarding smart meters as fire hazards.

Underwriters Laboratory, an agency that certifies electronics as I am sure you know, now acknowledges that smart meters have design flaws that raise serious concerns about their being fire hazards. As well, UL states that utilities and manufacturers know about this.

… design flaws in smart meter units have been known to cause serious fire hazards and spotty performance. This has caused a lot of concern for utilities and manufacturers of smart meters.”
 
http://www.metlabs.com/blog/meters/new-ul-2735-electric-utility-meter-standard-ensures-safety-and-performance/  

It is doubtful that the “voluntary” certification will address all of the fire-causing features of these devices which are mandated by the BC Liberals for every home and business. For example, legal testimony in Texas stated that the smart meters do not fit properly into the  meter base, a base that was certified to hold an analog and nothing else. The smart meters’ blades leave a gap which causes arcing and fires.

“Childers explained 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. (JD slip op. at 12, LL 36-38; Tr. 265, LL. 3-6).  Childers told Reed that the loose connection caused heat, which, in turn, caused an electrical arc, which resulted in “two pallets of burned up meters” in CenterPoint’s meter shop. (Tr. 265, LL. 13-22).”
(http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Reed_Answering_Brief-1.pdf  pg. 8)   

The meters used by Houston’s CenterPoint Utility are the very same model, ITRON Openway,  used by BC Hydro and FortisBC.
(https://www.itron.com/na/newsAndEvents/Pages/CenterPoint-Energy-Completes-Itron-Smart-Meter-Roll-Out.aspx

 

I am not suggesting or asking that BC Hydro submit the ITRON meters to UL for certification because that would not prove anything, or ease my concerns. After several fires and failures of Sensus meters,   Saskatchewan authorities submitted their meters to UL and they were certified to be safe. This seems very odd given the fact the meters were being recalled because they had proven to be unsafe.  It would appear that UL is applying standards that are not adequate or applicable to smart meters. This in no way invalidates their contention that smart meters pose fire hazards.

Rather, I am submitting this information to BCUC as yet another piece of evidence to support my contention that these meters are defective and should be recalled.

I look forward to receiving your response.

Happy holidays.

Sincerely,

Sharon Noble

—————————————

From: Complaints BCUC:EX [mailto:Complaints@bcuc.com]
Sent: December 4, 2015 9:35 AM
To: ‘Dennis and Sharon Noble’ <dsnoble@shaw.ca>
Subject: RE: Smart meter fire

Dear Ms. Noble,

Thank you for your email. I have provided this additional information to the staff members reviewing this matter. I do not have any further information at this time, however, once the review is complete a response will be provided to you. Thank you again for your patience.

Regards,

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: Wednesday, December 2, 2015 1:23 PM
To: Complaints BCUC:EX; Commission Secretary BCUC:EX
Subject: Smart meter fire

Dear Mr. Wruck,

Since I have not received any further response from you or your staff regarding the smart meter safety issue I assume you are continuing to investigate the information that I had sent to you. Please find attached another report on a smart meter fire that occurred in Port Alberni. This is yet another incident of an “electrical distribution equipment” fire, which specifies it was indeed the smart meter that was involved.

I have many fire reports that state that the fire was caused by “mechanical/electrical distribution failure”, and according to firemen, electricians, and even Len Garis (who states that smart meters do not cause fires) when such a failure is listed as the cause, it most often, if not always, means the meter is at fault.

I look forward to receiving the results of your investigation shortly.

Regards,

Sharon Noble

——————————————

From: Complaints BCUC:EX [mailto:Complaints@bcuc.com]
Sent: September 1, 2015 10:44 AM
To: ‘Dennis and Sharon Noble’
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 BC Hydro and Fortis BC. 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 BC Hydro’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 BC Hydro) 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 BC Hydro 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. BC Hydro 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. BC Hydro 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 BC Hydro’s and Fortis BC’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 Fortis BC’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 BC Hydro and Fortis BC, 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 BC Hydro 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 Fortis BC’s smart meters?

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Sharon Noble

—————————————————–

Newsletter prepared by Sharon Noble

 

    A:  Free radicals damage DNA

    B: Non-ionizing radiation creates free radicals.

    C: Therefore, non-ionizing radiation can damage DNA

          DAMAGED DNA  CAN LEAD TO CANCER.