2016-02-02 ITRON & Hydro — new smart meter using 4G LTE

  • Second part of the EMP warning articles, the first of which was in last night’s update:

If an enemy detonated a nuclear missile above the skies of North America, it could take out our grid for months. Countries like North Korea and various terrorist groups have already shown they can successfully launch EMP missiles….

 What would Canada need to do? Basically, we’d need to make it law that our electrical transformer stations and similar devices have giant surge protectors, so if an attack happens, the power only goes out for seconds rather than months.”

http://www.torontosun.com/2016/01/31/how-to-protect-canada-from-a-crippling-attack

 

  • A great slide show about EHS, the people who suffer it, and the many laws/statements that protect individual freedoms to live free from such intrusions.

 

http://www.slideshare.net/YaelStein1/ehs-human-rights

 

  • “smart toys” are creepy, collecting and sharing data on children that only a parent (or grandparent) should have.  We’ve heard of this happening before. This is just the most recent. These are getting the same level of data and personal info as new “smart” fridges, TVs, etc.   We must object strenuously to this intrusion.

“Researchers at Rapid7, a Boston-based security company, found that the app connected to the Fisher-Price toy had several security flaws that would allow a hacker to steal a child’s name, birthdate and gender, along with other data. The toymaker encourages parents to use the app so that the toy can better interact with children.”

 http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/feb/02/fisher-price-mattel-smart-toy-bear-data-hack-technology?CMP=Share_iOSApp_Other

http://www.castanet.net/news/Business/157617/How-safe-are-smart-toys

 

  • Serious considerations for “fully automated” cars within just a few years.

“We are on the cusp of a new era in automotive technology with enormous potential to save lives, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and transform mobility for the American people,” said Secretary Foxx.  “Today’s actions and those we will pursue in the coming months will provide the foundation and the path forward for manufacturers, state officials, and consumers to use new technologies and achieve their full safety potential.”

The President’s FY17 budget proposal would provide nearly $4 billion over 10 years for pilot programs to test connected vehicle systems in designated corridors throughout the country, and work with industry leaders to ensure a common multistate framework for connected and autonomous vehicles.”

“We are on the cusp of a new era in automotive technology with enormous potential to save lives, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and transform mobility for the American people,” said Secretary Foxx.  “Today’s actions and those we will pursue in the coming months will provide the foundation and the path forward for manufacturers, state officials, and consumers to use new technologies and achieve their full safety potential.”

The President’s FY17 budget proposal would provide nearly $4 billion over 10 years for pilot programs to test connected vehicle systems in designated corridors throughout the country, and work with industry leaders to ensure a common multistate framework for connected and autonomous vehicles.

http://microwavechasm.org/2016/02/01/oppose-funding-for-autonomous-vehicles-connected-vehicles/

 

  • Hydro and Fortis are planning on implementing time of use billing. This was key in Hydro’s business case and the infrastructure has been in place for several years. Time of use penalizes those who are least able to afford it: the elderly, the disabled, and young families – those who are home during the day, needing heat, air conditioning, food, etc.

The reference to time-variant rates being characterized as “people-powered” electricity rates is insulting to the intelligence of any informed consumer.  As revealed in this current article reviewing the Australian study, it would be much more accurate to refer to TOU rates as “people-punishment” rates.  TOU rates should be rejected by all “people” as they impose and enforce a type of social and financial injustice upon consumers and citizens.”

 http://smartgridawareness.org/2016/01/31/families-punished-by-smart-meters-and-tou-rates/

 

BTW, we still have not received an explanation about the time of use chart that is in FortisBC’s tariff, effective Jan. 1, 2016.

  • ITRON has made an “upgraded” smeter that uses 4G wireless technology, that goes directly from the home to the cell tower and back to the home from the cell tower – exposing the residents and area to a much strong signal. From what I’ve learned so far, these will be used in areas where the current meters cannot reach the collectors or use the mesh grid due to topography, distance, etc. Now, even more, homes will have cell transmitters, real cell transmitters, on them. These are not certified and have the same design flaws. 4G has an ability to reach farther, so the signal must be stronger. As I learn more I will share. Hydro has not provided any information that I’ve been able to find.  This is wireless on steroids. I believe these “modules” could be put into the $$meter on homes with no one being told, without the $$meter looking any different. If your smeter is being read manually, this could apply to you!!

 OpenWay CENTRON distinguishes itself from all other Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) meter offerings in the marketplace by providing:

  • Time-of-use and critical peak pricing data
  • Two channels of 15-minute load profile data
  • Flexible two-way communications options including:
    • Unlicensed RF module and adaptive-tree radio frequency local area network architecture

4G LTE cellular module with direct connection over the public WAN

https://www.itron.com/na/productsAndServices/Pages/OpenWay%20CENTRON.aspx

Providing significantly faster connectivity than 3G or Wi-Fi, LTE has the capability to handle greater volume and have a stronger reach over a larger radius than was ever before thought possible…..

 Thanks to the availability and reliability of LTE connectivity that is now pervasive across much of the globe, we are now on the smart cities are fast becoming a reality.

http://www.iottechnews.com/news/2016/feb/01/why-years-ces-showed-iot-here-stay/

 

  • Hydro has been wrong forecasting consumption requirements for several years, and is basing Site C and other business cases on these false, incorrect projections.  Erik Andersen, an economist, has written a letter about this, and it is below.

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Letters:

  1. BC Hydro Demand Forecasts; Unduly Bullish

What BC Hydro says about its work clearly establishes the forecast as a foundation document for future planning for new generation and distribution investments. “Load forecasting is central to BC Hydro’s long-term planning, medium-term investment, and short-term operational and forecasting activities.” (1) Because of this importance the forecast needs to be as accurate as possible and that is where matters get interesting.

An illustration of getting the numbers wrong can be seen on page 21 of the 2012 Load Forecast: “Comparison of 2011 and 2012 Forecasts”. There is forecasting error of about 4% in each year for the period 2013 through to 2032. BC Hydro discovered that it had projected total demand numbers in 2011 that it subsequently reduced 12 months later, by about 4% for each of the following 20 years. Case in point for year 2017; the 2011 forecasted demand value was 4,219 GWhrs more than was presented in Forecast Year 2012, one year later. This amount of error is the equivalence of the projected annual output of the Site C dam or $9 billion of borrowed money.

This is not a one-off event just part of a pattern across the past decade. For example, from the 2007 Forecast, the demand value for 2012 was projected to be 57,201 GWhrs for the year. Actual reported sales, in GWhrs (2), were 52,197; 5,004 less than forecasted in 2007. This was a forecasting error of 9% for only 5 years on from its presentation.

By the 2012 Forecast BC Hydro was beginning to recognize that its previously held opinion of future demand was wrong. For example: “The residential forecast is below last year’s forecast for all years of the forecast due to lower housing starts and account projections, and lower loads anticipated from EVs.” and “Industrial sales are projected to be lower than last year’s forecast.”(3) This was a very belated recognition of a condition that was evident starting about 2007. Sales to large industrial customers had been steady at about 16,000 GWhrs per year in the first half of the decade, but certainly not increasing and thereby providing no supportive evidence of growth of demand for this customer category. To no one’s surprise 2008 sales to large industrials was the start of a downward trend. In 2009 sales were 14,303 GWhrs, in 2010 13,020 GWhrs where they have flat-lined right up to March of 2014 (last report available).  Regarding the sales outlook for the customer category commercial and light industrial, BC Hydro wrote:“ Total commercial forecast is below the 2011 Forecast in the initial period of the forecast; this primarily reflects lower commercial distribution sales driven by slower growing economic drivers.”

Now dear reader you might rightly ask yourself why has and does BC Hydro gets its forecasting wrong. The answer or answers are not so easy to discern but they are most likely because of using model entry data of poor quality, thereby compromising projections.  For residential customers the “forecast is the product of accounts and use per account. The account forecast is driven by projections of regional housing starts.” For commercial customers “The key drivers of these end-use models are regional economic variables (i.e., commercial output (Gross Domestic Product (GDP)), employment, retail sales, and non-economic variables such as weather and average stock efficiency of the various end uses of electricity.” For large industrial customers: “GDP growth projections are used to develop the forecast.” (4)

Common to all customer categories is the forecast for Gross Domestic Product (GDP). This is where BC Hydro loses control by taking the GDP outlook from the BC Ministry of Finance. The Government’s outlook on GDP has been consistently bullish, simply because its preparation has too large a political dimension.  Government budget presentations universally project an increase for year two greater than for the upcoming year. To do otherwise would be a career ending action.

As to the residential forecast it focuses on the outlook for meter installations. People are the consumers of electricity not addresses of meters. It was clear from the evidence presented at the hearing on the installation of the “smart meter” that one customer sometimes had multiple meters. In urban areas, where real estate prices have increased dramatically, population densification has been a trend, meaning that more than two people are often behind one meter. BC Hydro does prepare their forecasts being mindful of price elasticity. Resistance to higher rates and ones destined to increase at accelerating rates, has possibly not been adequately appreciated by BC Hydro. An additional driver used by BC Hydro when preparing the forecast of residential demand is “personal income”. There are two factors that degrade the use of personal income data. The first is the trend of exporting high-income, value-added jobs from the province. The second is the progressive increase in service fees and rates that shrink disposable incomes. Decreasing ridership on BC ferries is a good example of this dynamic.

There is no argument that BC Hydro has a history of wrongly exaggerating the outlook for electricity demand. This could be because some of the input data for its modeling are politically contaminated.  The construction of Site C, a $9 billion matter using borrowed money, is not even close to having the support of a believable forecast of demand . The sloppy business case for this dam is a disgrace and an insult to the citizens of BC.

 

  • BC Hydro Electric Load Forecast: 2012; page 7
  • BC Hydro Annual Report for Fiscal 2012
  • BC Hydro 2012 Load Forecast; page 11
  • Ibid; page 8

Erik Andersen; Economist

January 19, 2015

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Newsletter prepared by Sharon Noble

 

“In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot.”      Czeslaw Milosz