2016-06-13 UK IT warning of $$meters vulnerability to hackers

1)    The BCUC has made some changes to the scheduled public meetings. These are available at:



Below is a summary of the Nanaimo meeting, along with a letter that was submitted.

2)    In many parts of the USA, and I bet this applies to BC, too, some people pay more than 10% of their income on energy to heat their homes. As the utility companies continue to “invest” in unnecessary programs like $$meters and Site C, the rates will go up, more people who can will leave BC Hydro, going off the grid, and the rates will increase even more, causing those who are left behind to pay even larger portions of their income on the necessity of electricity.



3)    BC Hydro disconnects power and charges reconnection fees for those who have trouble paying hydro and buying food, while their corporate buddies are given passes.



More coverage on the spikes in disconnections:

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Facebook – please add your comments:


4)    UK IT warning that $$smeters are easily hacked and this could cause chaos – and we have no choice.

“A technology expert has told the British parliamentary committee looking into the issue that computer code could easily be rewritten to “make every meter turn off on a particular date in a year’s time.

Nick Hunn, of WiFore Consulting, said that it is possible to abuse “an isolation switch” that allows remote disabling of a home’s or business’ power supply….


The worst news is that there isn’t anything power customers can do to prevent hacks because they are forced to accept the new meters.

“They cannot even choose not to have them at their homes. The only ones able to solve this situation are the electrical companies who are placing them,” Vazquez Vidal said. “Since we do not own the meters that we have at home — they are rented — we cannot do anything about it… Besides, it could be considered [by the power company] as manipulation” of the devices.”




From: Sharon Noble
Sent: June 13, 2016 10:21 PM
To: richard.ballantyne@safetyauthority.ca
Cc: george.abbott@safetyauthority.ca; ian.banks@safetyauthority.ca; Karen.Bazylewski@safetyauthority.ca; neil.cumming@safetyauthority.ca; Brenda.Eaton@safetyauthority.ca; hugh.gordon@safetyauthority.ca; geordie.henderson@safetyauthority.ca; alison.narod@safetyauthority.ca; jo-ann.panneton@safetyauthority.ca; doug.scott@safetyauthority.ca
Subject: Smart meter fires not being investigated

Dear Mr. Ballantyne,


I am writing you as Chair of the Board of Directors of the BC Safety Authority, and as the person with ultimate authority over that agency.

– http://www.safetyauthority.ca/about/board-directors

Over the last 3-4 years I have been investigating fires that appear to be related to smart meters. I began this project after discovering that ITRON Centron meters had many design flaws and had been responsible for fires and damages in many homes throughout the US. Based upon reports from the BC Fire Commissioner, the Officer of the Provincial Attorney General, BC Hydro via Freedom of information requests, and the BCSA  I have found many holes in the fire reporting system, many of which involve the BCSA itself.

1)    Are you aware that in many instances BCSA inspectors are not called to inspect electrical fires in BC? Despite there being a legal requirement under the BC Safety Standards Act that the BCSA be notified, the agency with the expertise to determine why an electrical fire occurred is not involved in a significant proportion of incidents in BC.

2)    In approximately 15% of the 100+ fires for which I have received fire reports,  BC Hydro has removed the smart meter prior to the inspector having been able to do his job. In some BCSA reports, the inspector noted he could not complete his inspection because the smart meter had been removed. This practice, again, is illegal according to the Safety Standards Act, but I was told by the Fire Commissioner and the BCSA that this is allowed because “BC Hydro owns the equipment.” This means there is no oversight to ensure that dangerous devices are identified and the public’s safety is ensured. Is the BCSA doing anything to ensure that this illegal practice is stopped?

3)    BCSA believes it has no authority to investigate and to report smart meter fires because “the authority rests with the BC Utilities Commission.”   The BCUC has no authority to inspect fires and no expertise to investigate electrical devices that might have been involved in fires. This leaves a vacuum with no one accepting responsibility for inspecting smart meters to determine if they are causing fires or not.

4)    Several communities, instead of the BCSA,  have full authority to do the job of investigating electrical fires . They are Burnaby, Maple Ridge, No. Vancouver (city), No Vancouver (district), Surrey, Vancouver, Victoria, and West Vancouver. I recently learned that these cities do not provide their inspectors’ reports to the BCSA or to the fire commissioner.  May I ask why this arrangement exists and how information that might be of significance, e.g. if smart meters are failing and causing fires, is shared? The reports are not available to the public without a significant payment, e.g. $107 in Surrey. This hinders someone like myself from trying to do what no other agency is doing – to get an overview of the fire risk posed by these meters.

I have submitted significant documentation regarding smart meter failures and fires to the BCUC since it is their responsibility under the BC Utilities Commission Act to protect the public. They have prepared a draft report, to which I have added further information, regarding the “meter safety jurisdiction”. In that report acknowledgements have been made that the system is inadequate, the tracking of fires is virtually non-existent, and that the agencies with oversight responsibility are failing. I would strongly suggest you obtain a copy of that report. Should you wish to see the information that I have gathered and provided, please ask.

Sir, I speak only of the smart meter program. I can’t say whether these failures apply generally. There is no doubt in my mind that smart meters are fire hazards that put lives and property at risk. Further it appears that no one knows and no one is willing to take corrective action. Perhaps you didn’t know. But now that you do, may I ask what you intend to do?

Sharon Noble




A summary (opinion piece) of the BCUC public meeting by someone who attended in Nanaimo:

In any event they did make some comments and reports, most of which involved the declaration by the lawyer with them that they were not responsible for much of anything, nor did they have much information.  We were told that any solid information needed should come from BC Hydro.   I found this confounding as I remain unable to understand how they can make decisions on matters for which they do not have information which can be released.  A real Catch 22….

So we (I) didn’t learn anything other than that, as presented, the meeting was a waste of time –interestingly it was held in a basement room of a local hotel which I never suspected had basement rooms.  eerie…

We (all of us) had comments to make about the exorbitant cost increases in BC Hydro rates given the fact that they have had no real increase in electricity use for the last 10 years, that almost all of the estimated cost increases relate to matters which the BCUC are forbidden to consider (including Site C and smartmeters, etc.) and that the costs of not having a smartmeter are exhorbitant and do not, at least in our estimation, fulfill their obligation to ensure “Fair and Reasonable” charges.  A good statement on BC Hydro’s devious financial operations by Erik was read into the record by Janet Hicks King of Dialogue Magazine.  www.dialogue.ca.  I am sure she would be happy to pass the work on…  She can be reached at  dialogue@dialogue.ca


Here is Erik’s statement:

British Columbia Utilities Commission
BC Hydro Revenue Requirement Application: Community Input Sessions

Saturday, June 11, Nanaimo, BC.

Economic Cycles

For the past 100 years or more various economists have been trying to document and construct descriptions of economic cycles. Early in the last century Nikolai Kondratiev was a pioneer in the field. Since then numerous economists have succeeded in validating the concept that about every 60 years the planet passes through a four-phase economic cycle. These are described as K-cycles with the last being “winter”. Christopher Quigley characterized the “K-Winter” as the period when “excess capacity is worked off by massive debt repudiation, commodity deflation & economic depression, trough war breaks the psychology of doom.” Contemporary cycle economists consider the current “K-Winter” to be in effect until at least 2020.

What local evidence supports the contention of our now being in a “K-Winter”?

BC Hydro annually posts its volume of electricity sales to domestic customers. Starting in 2006 the total domestic GW hrs sold were 52,440. By 2008 the annual sales total reached a little over 53,300 GW hrs. Since 2008 there has been a steady slide to 51,213 GW hrs in 2015. The best that can be said about this actual record of domestic demand is that it “flat-lined” over the past decade.

Coupled with this local realty are the huge decreases in prices for almost all the commodities produced in BC for export.

What has been BC Hydro’s record of Forecasting Demand?

In September 2006 the service plan showed expected need to be 53,097 GWhrs in 2007. This was an error in projected need of nearly 1,000 GWhrs only one year into the future.

In 2013 a new service plan showed expected needs to be 53,913 GWhrs in 2014. Again, the one-year look ahead was about a 1,000 GWhrs too large. Also from this 2013 forecast, BC Hydro was expecting to sell 56,886 GWhrs in 2015. As matters turned out that was a planning error of about 5,673 GWhrs. So a two year look-ahead that was in error by about 10% of the annual total sales.

In 2015 the BC Hydro recorded domestic sales were 51,213 GWhrs yet the corporation expected annual demand in 2016 to be 58,483 GWhrs.  The year 2016 closed off at the end of March so we are waiting for the actual numbers to be published. With this same service plan BC Hydro was expecting domestic demand to be 56,692 GWhrs in 2017; 57,083 GWhrs in 2018 and 57,805 GWhrs in 2019.  Both of these values are 7-8,000 GWhrs greater than consumption in 2015, the last year of a decade of stagnation and decreases in measured demand.

In every example above BC Hydro anticipated domestic demand would be greater than what was actually recorded, even when projecting only one year out.  Despite the marked change in the demand vector in 2009 (not unexpected after the 2008/2009 global turning point in dry cargo shipping and financial matters) BC Hydro has persisted with the fiction that future demand will always be increasing. The applicable saying is “pushing on a string”.

Investing in New Generation

Concurrent with the generally overly-bullish outlook for “domestic” demand, BC Hydro heavily invested, directly and indirectly, in new and additional electricity generation capacity. For the fiscal year 2006 the corporation showed almost $11 billion for “Total liabilities”.  Using the total liabilities per MWhr sold measure, that was $209,706,330 in 2006. Over the next 9 years this measure of efficiency, or otherwise, dramatically increased so that by fiscal 2015 “Total liabilities” per MWhr reached a staggering $462,480,220.  That increase in reported “Total liabilities” was a mind-altering 121% increase per unit of consumption. Unfortunately that is not the end of the “Liabilities” story. Because BC Hydro does not have to report its contractual obligations in its annual reports, readers should add in the secret contracts made with “Independent Power Producers”. When answering the question as to the size of the indebtedness to the Independent Power Producers, a former BC Hydro President held that it was somewhere around $50 billion. That translates to a current amount of total liabilities for BC Hydro of $73.7 billion or a whopping $1,439,088,000 per MWhr sold in 2015.


BC Hydro has been ignoring a global economic reality for the past 10 years; that we have entered the “Winter” phase of a long economic cycle, which is when global economic activity slows and or contracts.  This reality is blindingly evident in the 2008/09 collapse of the dry cargo-shipping index, known as the “Baltic Dry”, and in the collapse of commodity prices. Evidence of past “cycles” abounds so ignorance should not be an option.

It is next to impossible to understand why BC Hydro would wish to commit such huge financial resources for the provision of so much more electricity than is and will be needed in the province for a decade or more, right at the moment of a “K-Winter”. This very high-risk business strategy is not typically the remit of a public utility.

Because BC Hydro has the BC Utilities Commission to hide behind these kinds of reckless behaviors are never challenged as they would be if the corporation were operating as if it could go insolvent, shareholders losing all their investment.


BC Hydro should not get any rate increases simply because they want them. There is ample evidence that BC Hydro has steered a financially irresponsible course over the past 10 or so years. Continuously fabricating an ever-expanding domestic demand at exactly the time when slowing or even shrinking demand should have been expected, is more than a sin. In all economic affairs there is a place of symmetry where demand and supply are generally in balance. BC Hydro has produced the exact opposite and is now asking its customers to pay more as a cover for its huge financial and economic errors. Rather than give the corporation a reward for its unerringly bad management, the BC Utilities Commission should reject any application for rate increases.  It is not clear how the public interest can be served by accommodating financial and economic illiterates with the reward of more money. It is worse than a public insult.

Erik Andersen; Economist


Sharon Noble
Director, Coalition to Stop Smart Meters

“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