2016-01-24 Federal government questionnaire re broadband internet

A correction in an email address for “the hum” in last night’s update. The correct one is:  globalrfrdefenseteam@verizon.net.

  • From a member.  The details of the questionnaire, etc. is below “Letters”. I hope you will take a few minutes to complete the form. I think one of my comments will be that I believe that all Canadians deserve a chance to be heard about the internet and if we want choice to not be irradiated by Wi-Fi. What accommodations are being made for people who live so far away from Quebec that they cannot attend the public hearing? Will there be others across the country? Is Skype participation possible?

“The Canadian federal government is asking YOU for input. Deadline is to receive your questionnaire feedback by February 29, 2016. Deadline to register to participate in person at the hearing is February 8, 2016 (hearing is April 11, 2016): “We will be holding a public hearing, beginning on April 11, 2016 at 9:00 a.m., at the Conference Centre, Phase IV, 140 promenade du Portage, in Gatineau, Quebec. If you would like to participate, you have to let us know by February 8, 2016.”

 

  • To those who might be wondering if we’ve heard anything about the class action lawsuit, there has been no decision from the judge yet. We are all waiting and we have no idea when the decision might be announced. Rest assured that as soon as I hear anything, I will have it in an update.

 

  • A member sent this info in about some books (fiction and non-fiction) about the ramifications of a cyberattack on the grid.

 

ONE YEAR AFTER,” by William R. Forstchen, Forge Books, $15.99, 304 pages (f)

In 2009, author William R. Forstchen wrote a novel that dealt with the same subject and painted a picture of an America so devastated that the book was cited in congressional hearings on the subject of an EMP attack. Forstchen’s novel revolved around Col. John Matherson, a retired Army officer who was teaching military history at Montreat College in North Carolina (where Forstchen himself teaches military history).

Veteran journalist Ted Koppel recently wrote the book “Lights Out: A Cyberattack, A Nation Unprepared, Surviving the Aftermath,” a nonfiction look at the very real possibility of a terrorist or rogue state attack upon the United States with an electromagnetic pulse weapon.

 

  •  A follow up on the report “outing” the US Center for Disease Control’s being influenced by the corporations.   All of this is about the US’s agencies which are supposed to be safe-guarding the Americans’ health. The very same things could be said about Health Canada, BC Centre for Disease Control and Dr. Perry Kendall.  Note that Kenneth Foster, who has been on panels to review Safety Code 6, was brought in to change the slant. He has worked for the industry for many years, yet Health Canada and the Royal Society continue to allow him to influence our guidelines. Foster is not the only one, either. This shows how corrupt Health Canada is and explains why we have one of the weakest guidelines in the world. 

 “Once again it appears that our bureaucratic institutions prefer to submit to the whims of corporate lobbyists rather than protect citizens from scientifically-established health hazards. A closer examination of the FCC turns up further evidence of a revolving door between the organization and the telecommunications industry….

 A growing body of independent science shows that the issue of cell phone safety may have massive consequences on the health of our nation, especially our children. If we are to enact measures to protect against this dangerous radiation we must demand full accountability from the CDC and FCC. It is time that Americans stand up to the anti-science corporate profiteers running the show and rein in this invisible danger in our midst.”

 http://www.opednews.com/articles/6/Radiating-Corruption-The-by-Gary-Null-Cell-Phone_Cellphone_Children_Health-160122-778.html

 

  • Over the last few weeks I’ve shared several security reports saying that the smeters are the most vulnerable part of the grid and the point where hackers and attackers could gain easy access. Here is a short video, appropriate for sharing with MLAs and MPs, about what can happen when $$meters are hacked.

https://vimeo.com/133268229

 

  • Below in Letters is my response to BC Hydro’s response to Bob Mackin’s article in The Province about the 88,000 failed meters.  I hope you will send your responses to McDonald who is the CEO of BC Hydro.

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Letters:

From: X
Sent: January 23, 2016
To: adrian.dix.mla@leg.bc.ca
Cc: Claire.trevena.mla@leg.bc.ca
Subject: THANK-YOU!!

I applaud you for sending this great letter. As a tax payer I’m always getting the feeling of being deceived and abused by big companies and our government. Please keep up the pressure on BC Hydro and the government. The smart meter program has been a huge waste of time and money right from the start. If it isn’t broken, don’t fix it! The analog meters have worked just fine for all these years. As an example my current analog meter is 38 years old and is still working just fine where the smart meters may only last 5 – 10 years, not to mention all the health risks and potential fire hazard.

thanks again

X

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From: Sherry Ridout  (name given with author’s permission)
Sent: January 23, 2016
To: adrian.dix.mla@leg.bc.ca
Cc: ‘Liberal BC Leader Christy Clark’ <christy@christyclark.ca>
Subject: Jan. 14th letter to Hydro

Mr. Dix,

I just wanted to thank you for representing the rate payers of B.C. with your recent letter to Hydro.  You have raised questions which many of us have been asking for a number of years.  Below please find my recent letter to the BCUC which questions the Liberal governments edicts to remove the BCUC’s oversight when it suits them and the present ability of the BCUC to represent the rate payer’s adequately.

Involvement in these processes is overwhelming, time consuming and expensive.  It’s also beyond the interest level of most of the public who are the ones paying your salaries.

So once again thank you for doing your job and representing us by continuing to pursue answers and accountability for this very poorly thought out program!

Sherry Ridout

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Letter to the BCUC:

From: Sherry Ridout
Sent: January 21, 2016
To: ‘Commission Secretary BCUC:EX’ <Commission.Secretary@bcuc.com>
Cc:bchydroregulatorygroup@bchydro.com
Subject: Reinstatement of intervener status

Dear Miss Hamilton,

I would like to thank the Commission for their ruling, dated Jan. 18, 2016, to re-open intervener registration to those of us who’s applications were rescinded earlier.  Please pass this e-mail on to Commissioner’s Morton, Cote and Keilty.

Hydro’s amended tariff submissions certainly fall into parameters that affect the citizens of B.C. and we appreciate the opportunity to have our voices heard regarding the $700.00 reconnection fee and the changes Hydro is suggesting for the Tariff.

I wonder why we were not apprised of these items that pertain to us when the amendments were submitted? I wonder why a diligent unpaid, passionate individual had to bring this to our attention and precipitate this ruling?  Regular citizens do not have access to unlimited time, funds or expertise on these matters and that is why the commission was created; to represent and protect the rate payers.  That is their job, to oversee the utility companies while we are pursuing our jobs and lives. Hydro’s access to unlimited tax payer money to pay their executives and lawyers makes for a very uneven playing field!

Please accept this e-mail as my application for re-registration as an intervener as per the Commission’s ruling.  I understand the parameters of the participation. I need to reiterate though my comments from an earlier e-mail about not feeling qualified to deal with the amount, content or detail of information that Hydro pumps out on a regular basis.  I realize the only way to be heard is if I become a member of a group that is represented by a lawyer.  I know that this is being pursued and I hope the commission will do all it can to assist this process.  I’m sure it could only make your lives easier too, dealing with professionals who understand the jargon.

Thanks so much for listening.  Please let me know if I need to do something different or more to meet your requirements.

Sherry Ridout (C24-1)

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From: Sharon Noble
Sent: January 24, 2016 7:30 PM
To:jessica.mcdonald@bchydro.com‘ <jessica.mcdonald@bchydro.com>
Cc: Bill Bennett (mem.minister@gov.bc.ca) <mem.minister@gov.bc.ca>; Christy Clark (premier@gov.bc.ca) <premier@gov.bc.ca>; Opposition Leader John Horgan (oppositionleader@leg.bc.ca) <oppositionleader@leg.bc.ca>; adrian.dix.mla@leg.bc.ca; ‘Bob Mackin, Jr.’ <bob.mackin@me.com>

Subject: BC Hydro’s press release in response to 88,000 meters failing.

Dear Ms. McDonald,

The following press release was posted at https://www.bchydro.com/news/press_centre/news_releases/2016/why-we-may-need-to-exchange-some-meters.html in response to the investigative report in by Mr. Bob Mackin about the 88,000 faulty meters being replaced by BC Hydro, purportedly providing “the facts” about why 88,000 smart meters are being replaced.

Below I have written my comments and questions concerning the assertions and statements made. These are not insignificant points and are ones to which the public deserves a response. I am asking, and hoping,  for your prompt response.

Sincerely,

Sharon Noble

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News

Jan 18, 2016

The facts about why we may need to exchange some meters

Are you replacing 88,000 faulty smart meters?

There are not 88,000 faulty smart meters. Like any electronic equipment, we are anticipating having to replace 10,000 smart meters a year for the next four years through normal course of business: broken screens, software upgrades, exterior damage, etc.

Analog meters, which are electro-mechanical, were made of glass and metal and, therefore were much sturdier and were less vulnerable to weather than the smart meters which are made largely with combustible, cheap plastic.  Neither do analogs require software upgrades which any computer needs regularly. Smart meters are essentially plastic computers.

The other 48,000 meters will enter Measurement Canada’s routine meter testing process to verify they are measuring accurately. Once the tests are complete, they will reenter our inventory.

If this is true, why is Measurements Canada requiring recertification of smart meters after 5 years at the most? The first meter was installed in 2011.  New analogs did not have to be certified until they had been on homes for 12 years. If smart meters require certification more often, this will increase Hydro’s costs. Was this included in the business case and in the smart meter financial reports?

Over the last three years, we have tested hundreds of smart meters in independent labs at the request of customers and not one has failed an accuracy test.

How were these meters tested?  What were the independent labs where the meters were tested? Were they compared with the analogs? All wireless devices can be interfered with by other wireless devices. When people find that their consumption numbers are considerably higher than their historical usage after the smart meter was installed, if the meter is taken into a pristine setting for testing, the setting has been changed and the test is not representative of the actual situation at the customer’s home. ITRON admits that its meters run faster than analogs, http://tinyurl.com/6nodmdt. Over one month, the usage reported by ITRON was 2  Kwh more than the analog measured. Using $.11 per Kwh times 2 times 1.8 million meters means increased income for Hydro of $396,000 a month or $4.752 million a year. Despite this additional income rates keep increasing. What is happening with this additional money? Is it being used to offset the smart meter costs?

 

Was this work included in the original business case? Does it exceed the estimated cost?

This work is not related to the smart meter program. We issued “requests for proposals” for meter and grid equipment maintenance, Measurement Canada meter testing and meter replacements prior to smart meters. We are simply returning to that practice.

Why is this work being tendered when it was work that was being done with the analog? What additional grid equipment maintenance is required that was not required with the prior system? And why would this additional work not be considered part of the smart meter program?  Industry experts advised, even prior to 2010 when the business case was devised, that the lifespan of wireless smart meters would be far shorter than that of the analog that lasted 30-40 years, or longer. The figure given in many industry documents was 10-12 years. Now that utilities have had smart meters for some time, many are finding that the meters must be replaced because “they have outlived their usefulness” after 5-7 years. Where is this in the business plan?

The smart meter program was budgeted at $930 million and it’s forecasted to come in more than $100 million under budget.

Security experts are calling for improved security programs and measures to protect against cybersecurity. Estimates for the required security measurements are in the 100s of millions of dollars, if not more. There is nothing in Hydro’s business plan for anything more than simple encryption, which has been determined to be inadequate. What steps are being taken to ensure the security of the grid and to prevent the smart meters, which are the most vulnerable point, being used as entry by hackers and for viruses?  What are the projected costs for such security requirements?

Why did BC Hydro issue a “request for proposals”?

The “request for proposals” ensures we have the resources and equipment available to support our day-to-day operations across the province.

Why aren’t the people who did this work for Hydro rehired for this maintenance?

How long do the new meters last?

New meters have a minimum life expectancy of 20 years. Like any electronic equipment, some of those meters may need to be replaced over time. These replacements are currently covered under warranty with our meter vendor.

What evidence does Hydro have to confirm this life expectancy when the industry is disputing this dramatically? First Energy Service in the US, is a large utility company that has installed ITRON Openway smart meters  https://www.firstenergycorp.com/content/dam/customer/get-help/files/PASmartMeter/SM_brochure.pdf    In recent testimony before the US Congress Mr. Bennett Gaines, Senior Vice President and the Corporate Services and Chief Information Officer, stated:

“These devices are now computers, and so they have to be maintained.  They don’t have the life of an existing meter which is 20 to 30 years.  These devices have a life of between 5 to 7 years.  And so the challenge that the industry has is making sure they maintain their smart grid environment, not neglect it.”   http://smartgridawareness.org/2015/10/29/smart-meters-have-life-of-5-to-7-years/

How do you respond?  Does the warranty cover meters that need replacement before the 20 year period?

Why would these replacements be covered under warranty if these replacements are part of the “normal course of business”?

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Related:

University of the Fraser Valley studies show fewer residential structure fires associated with electrical distribution equipment in B.C. since the installation of smart meters.

This report was completed by Len Garis who was commissioned and paid by BC Hydro. Mr. Garis linked the fact that fewer electrical distribution equipment fires were reported to the safety of the smart meters. This truly is faulty logic at best, and deliberately misleading at worst. Mr. Garis did not include the fact that many reports are not being submitted, with many being outstanding even after 2-3 years. This alone could account for the fewer electrical fires reported. Also, Mr. Garis did not state that there were indeed electrical distribution equipment fires, many of them, which would, therefore, be associated with smart meters. If these meters were indeed safe, there would not be any fires caused by them.

Why is BC Hydro removing the smart meters from the scene of fires before the fire inspectors are able to do their jobs? Why is BC Hydro returning the smart meters that  have burned or melted to ITRON without having the meters examined to determine the cause? Why is BC Hydro denying that any meters have burned or melted, putting lives and property at risk?  Why is BC Hydro refusing to explain how the failed electrical distribution equipment caused fires as reported to the fire commissioner?

English:  http://crtc.gc.ca/eng/internet/internet.htm
French:  http://crtc.gc.ca/fra/internet/internet.htm
Both: (Date modified: 2016-01-21) (viewed 2016-01-23)

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Let’s #TalkBroadband Internet

Do you have access to the telecommunications services you need?

We are currently reviewing Canada’s basic telecommunications services in order to be in step with the future and the changing needs of Canadians.

Reliable, affordable and modern telecommunications services are now important for daily activities, such as health care, banking, education and government services.

Fill out the Questionnaire

Fill out the questionnaire and share your views on the telecommunications services that are currently available in your area. There are various ways to fill it out!

  • Online crtc.gc.ca/talkbroadband
  • Over the phone with an agent at 1-877-249-2782  (you can also request a paper copy and a prepaid return envelope will be supplied, or your reply can be by fax)
  • By fax at 819-994-0218 (request a copy, complete it and send it back!)

The completed questionnaires (online, phone, fax or mail) must be received by February 29, 2016.

Help us spread the word! Not everyone has regular or fast access to the internet. Help us spread the word by sharing our flyer with your friends, family and anyone you pass by.

Public Hearing, April 11, 2016 Stay tuned for the public hearing to review access to basic telecommunications services.

Have your say! Do you have access to the basic telecommunications services you need? 

#TalkBroadband Internet: What You Should Know We are currently reviewing telecommunications services, including Internet services, which are offered in Canada. During the first phase of this proceeding, which was launched in April 2015, we began to collect information to better understand the telecommunications services provided to Canadians and determine the areas in Canada that are not being adequately served.

We are seeking more information from Canadians and making it possible for them to share their views in multiple ways. As it is important to hear from Canadians across the country on these important issues, we are using both online and more traditional methods to facilitate their participation.

Some of the questions that we would like Canadians to answer include the following:

  • What telecommunications services do Canadians consider necessary to participate in the digital economy?
  • Which services do Canadians rely on the most to communicate?
  • Should the prices for telecommunications services in Canada be similar between urban and non-urban areas?
  • What upload and download speeds for broadband Internet service would meet Canadians’ needs?

We will be holding a public hearing, beginning on April 11, 2016 at 9:00 a.m., at the Conference Centre, Phase IV, 140 promenade du Portage, in Gatineau, Quebec. If you would like to participate, you have to let us know by February 8, 2016.

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Flyers (note: on the flyers the option to phone to request a paper copy appears only in tiny fineprint)

English http://crtc.gc.ca/pubs/internet-share.pdf
French http://crtc.gc.ca/pubs/internet-partagez.pdf

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Newsletter prepared by Sharon Noble

“If we remain silent, we kill freedom, justice and the possibility that a society armed with information may have power to change the situation that has brought us to this point.” – Anabel Hernández