2016-07-03 Is Telus’s fiber optic cable something more?

1)    A couple of our members have made up a flyer that they hand out to people they meet casually. It is simple and clear, and can be found at and printed. Because the government is failing to educate people on the dangers of RF, it’s up to those of us who have the information to share it. Many of us also have “business cards” with info that we hand out to people who might be interested in having some websites, etc.:

http://citizensforsafetechnology.org/Brain-tumours-now-the-most-frequent-form-of-cancer-in-US-adolescents,28,4468

2)    There is a cluster of rare eye cancers in a small town and it seems the cause is still being sought. So far, I see no evidence that cell phones/RF is even being considered despite there being studies showing possible association between cell phone use and uveal melanomas.

Twelve families in Huntersville now know the effects of a rare eye cancer called ocular melanoma. It’s so rare that statistics show only five out of a million people typically get it. 

People in Huntersville are trying to understand why their neighbors are coming down with the cancer.”

http://www.wbtv.com/story/31737767/cluster-of-rare-eye-cancer-cases-concerning-residents-in-huntersville

https://www.facebook.com/eyecancercluster/

http://www.nature.com/bjc/journal/v86/n3/full/6600068a.html

3)    One of our members has been told by her Shaw cable technicians that the Telus fiber optic cable is causing interference, saying it “leaks”.  Apparently, both wired internet and TV service is being affected. Coincident with the laying of the fiber optic cable in our area (it is underground on our street but a block away it is above ground), the level of RF in and around our home has increased dramatically. Has anyone else suffered either interference with internet and/or television since Telus put fiber optic in your neighbourhood? And has anyone measured and found higher RF levels after the cable was laid? It is possible that there is something else being laid with the fiber optics – Wi-Fi, for example, although I have no knowledge of this. If the higher RF levels that I have measured in my home is associated with Telus’s cables, there is a major problem.

Please email me at:  dsnoble@shaw.ca  with “Telus” on the subject line.

Letters:

To: BC Hydro Customer Relations

BC Hydro: Thank you for your letter.  You have not addressed my main concern so I will repeat and assert again my refusal and non-consent of any type of smart meter used to meter my electricity.

My meter has not yet expired and despite your claim does not actually need to be replaced and is very young in its usable life.  You state in your email that “if that meter does not get replaced by its expiry date…..BC Hydro…may be subject to a fine (up to 5000$).”  What you really mean is BC Hydro could very easily re-certify my meter, as is commonly done, it’s just that BC Hydro has made the business decision to not re-certify legacy type meters.  Also, you must know Measurement Canada does not care what type of meter is used to meter my electricity, instead what they care about is measurement accuracy, which legacy meters are proven to be accurate many decades into their service life.

In your email you also state: “we no longer have legacy meters in stock and we aren’t buying….any more”.  Again, this is a business choice by BC Hydro to also not purchase (still available) legacy meter types.  It was also BC Hydro’s business choice, and/or lack of forethought, to not retain just 12,761*** legacy meters removed from over 1.9 million accounts to be used as proper inventory to take respectful care of this known number of existing legacy meter customers.  Instead, these 1.9 million removed legacy meters were destroyed.  I should not be forced to accept a smart meter due to BC Hydro’s lack of forethought when the Energy Minister B. Bennett on July 18, 2013 made the commitment that BC Hydro customers would be allowed the creation of the Meter Choices Program, which included legacy meters, and stated that “no one will be forced to take a smart meter”.  Simply saving 12,761 removed meters or re-certification would allow the Meters Choices Program to retain its full choice to legacy meter customers and keep BC Hydro from the risk of fines.  Any argument that this would not be cost effective is baseless as BC Hydro has 12,761 legacy meter customers paying a collective $5,200,000+ per year to retain a legacy meter, meaning to permanently avoid a smart meter, not just to delay one! Also, 12,761 customers have saved BC Hydro the cost of a far more expensive smart meter, which a potion of that savings can be use to either re-certify or purchase legacy meters for these customers.

*** official report of the debates of the Legislative Assembly of Monday April 11, 2016. The Minister, Hon. B. Bennett, states for the public record “There are, to answer the member’s specific question, 1.93 million smart meters installed across the province, 12,761 customers have legacy meters, and 661 customers have radio-off meters. Those numbers are as of February 4, 2016.” 

So, from your first 2 points you make it sound in your email that it’s my continued refusal of a smart meter that could cause BC Hydro to be possibly fined when in fact it is BC Hydro’s business choices and lack of forethought that is the actual cause of the risk of a fine.  BC Hydro has the ability to avoid the fine they have put themselves at risk of, while respecting the Meter Choices Program and respecting 12,761 customers who will not consent to a smart meter.

In your email you provide a link from the announcement of the Meter Choices Program.  https://archive.news.gov.bc.ca/releases/news_releases_2013-2017/2013MEM0004-001125.htm

Within that link from July 18, 2013, Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines, made the following statement by way of press release announcing BC Hydro’s Meter Choices Program: “As we have said, nobody will be forced to take a smart meter. I believe that this is a fair and reasonable solution for all British Columbians.”  Based upon this clear statement from the minister, I am not to be forced to take a smart meter regardless of the specific choices BC Hydro has made to limit legacy meter inventory and choosing to not recertify legacy meters.  What would be the point of creating a Meter Choices Program that does not retain the full scope of choice from its inception, especially when the program was largely created for those BC Hydro customers who do not consent to a smart meter?  Nowhere in that same press release link you sent does it state that a smart meter will be forced even in the event the legacy meter needs replacing;  “Customers who choose to keep their existing installed analogue meter will be able to keep them until the meter breaks down, their Measurement Canada seal expires or they relocate.”  The statement clearly does not go on to stipulate that a smart meter is the only option for replacement or will be forced. So again, BC Hydro should be retaining, recertifying or acquiring legacy type meters for legacy meter choices program customers who need a replacement meter.

In your email you state: “We’re not introducing time-of-use rates in British Columbia.”  If there will not be ‘time-of-use’ rates, then I clearly do not need a smart meter that collects thousands of data points in a billing cycle. So again, I will not consent to a smart meter that collects this level of detailed consumption data about me when only 1 data point is required every 2 months to bill me for my electricity use. In fact, BC Hydro’s attempt to force a smart meter and its data collection would only put my family at risk while providing no tangible benefit in return for that security risk. Measurement of electricity in almost real time with a smart meter is completely unnecessary to meter and bill, instead, it exposes your customers to unnecessary risk as this information can be used maliciously.  Almost real time electricity use data gathered and saved on BC Hydro computers can clearly be used to see when occupants are least likely to be home and when asleep.

Multiple days of this data can be used to predict occupancy and activity.  I perceive this detailed level of data gathering surveillance a clear and unnecessary invasion of privacy, and a threat to both personal security and the security for home and property.  When I signed up to obtain electricity from BC Hydro, I did not consent to have a ‘surveillance’ like device attached to my home, and I do not consent now.  Since I am on a fixed rate pricing program for electrical energy usage, there is no business basis for BC Hydro to collect thousands of data points per month.

In your email you state: “At this time we can’t accommodate appointment requests…”  But at the end of your letter you then state “….to book an appointment, please contact us….”  It may be BC Hydro policy to attempt to avoid appointments with its customers, however you do make them when required.  So again, you have been notified that BC Hydro is required to make an appointment for meter recertification or exchange on my property.  Further, there is no line in the tariff that forbids me requiring an appointment from BC Hydro so I don’t see how you can argue I am to be denied for such an uncommon event as meter recertification or exchange.  My reasons for requiring an appointment are well laid out in my previous communications.   I do not consent to my meter being disconnected under load because of unnecessary risk to my person and property.   I have also clearly communicated reasons why I require my personal electrician to be present during a meter exchange.

You state in your email: “All our installers are fully qualified……An electrician is not required.”  BC Hydro may have deemed an electrician is not required but they also assume no risk^^^, instead all risk falls on the property owner. 

^^^under BC Hydro Tariff Section 97, “Liability”, BC Hydro has no responsibility for any harm or injury done by its employees or agents, whether done through negligence or wilful misconduct.

So, as the Tariff protects BC Hydro from responsibility and risk, my family and property is therefore left to assume all risk related to the changing of a meter and inspection of my base plate. When fires were linked with meter exchange BC Hydro made it clear that the meter base is the responsibility of the home owner, but I have no authority to remove a meter to inspect it, so the appointment would be the only way to allow my electrician to be present to inspect the meter base along with BC Hydro. As stated, your installer is not an insured qualified electrician so I would be left with their ‘unqualified’ best guess on the status of my base plate.  Unlike analogue meters, BC Hydro smart meters are made of Combustible materials and have Lithium batteries, Thinner blades, and unbelievably have no surge arresters.   All of this leaves my home and family more vulnerable than with my current legacy meter.  I’m sure BC Hydro will argue that there is no increased risk, but when smart meters have been implicated in fires^^^^ elsewhere leading to mass removal, it remains my determination as to what risk my home and family is exposed to, especially when risk is very easily avoided.  In Summary, it’s my policy that I will not accept a meter change and inspection of my base plate by a non-electrician and without mine present.  From my standpoint this is a personal safety issue and I therefore require an appointment to protect my family and home.

^^^^http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/saskpower-to-remove-105-000-smart-meters-following-fires-1.2723046

^^^^http://www.utilitydive.com/news/pge-replacing-70000-smart-meters-after-three-catch-fire/290865/

^^^^https://www.thestar.com/news/queenspark/2015/01/22/thousands-of-smart-meters-in-ontario-to-be-removed-over-safety-worries.html

^^^^http://www.tedmag.com/News/channel-news/Truck-Crash-Causes-Smart-Meters-to-Explode.aspx

^^^^http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/quebec-city-firefighters-ask-hydro-qu%C3%A9bec-to-leave-smart-meters-alone-1.2983309

In your email you state: “The security of our meters and our electrical infrastructure is an issue we take seriously.”   BC Hydro’s claim to protect our personal information is essentially just an “attempt” limited to the extent that their systems and inherently vulnerable smart meters allow.  Many corporations make the same claim that their networks are secure, however history clearly shows many have been hacked and BC Hydro cannot be predicted to be the exception or some how uniquely immune*.

* https://www.thestar.com/news/gta/2009/07/28/toronto_hydro_admits_customer_data_breach.html  “Toronto police have launched an investigation after as many as 179,000 Toronto Hydro customer account numbers were illegally accessed in the company’s electronic billing system.

* http://www.bankinfosecurity.com/top-data-breaches-2014-a-7736  Top security breaches of 2014: hundreds of millions of people affected 

* http://www.cbc.ca/news/world/personal-data-online-5-of-the-biggest-security-breaches-1.2514287

* http://www.acfcs.org/the-top-8-largest-data-breaches-in-the-financial-services-industry/

* http://thinkprogress.org/security/2013/12/31/3108661/10-biggest-privacy-security-breaches-rocked-2013/

* http://newyork.cbslocal.com/2012/10/13/td-bank-security-breach-may-have-affected-260000-customers/

* http://time.com/3710529/hackers-1-billion-bank-breach/ thieves have infiltrated more than 100 banks in 30 countries over the past two years

I have multiple reasons why I refuse a smart meter.  Most poignant is if BC Hydro was to install a smart meter against my will or I simply capitulated, I could be deemed to be consenting to current and future applications of the smart meter!  I don’t consent to the unnecessary collection of my electricity use in real time and its broadcast by a smart meter.  Hacked hourly usage history can be used to predict when my home has no occupants and BC Hydro does not need that level of information to bill me for electricity. I also do not consent to any meter that has an embedded 2nd wireless transmitter (like the additional ZigBee radio transmitter in BC Hydro smart meters) that can communicate with, monitor, and perhaps one day remotely control my appliances. I also would never consent to a smart meter if one day it was part of a Wi-Fi network like the one that has already been put into use in Santa Clara California**. I know that BC Hydro will assert these future smart meter uses are not part of their ‘current’ plan, but smart meters are capable of these and other applications that might appear in future BC Hydro plans or be specifically forced by more special government ‘executive orders’.  For example, radio-off meter customers would have no recourse if the government again used Executive Orders to force all radio-off smart meters to be activated, or if the Tariff was amended to change the definition of what radio-off is.  Therefore, if I was to capitulate or be forced to accept a smart meter now, I may be giving up my future rights to refuse potential future applications of smart meters.

**  Silicon Valley city  Wi-Fi via smart meters: http://news.cnet.com/8301-1023_3-57576712-93/silicon-valley-city-offers-free-wi-fi-via-smart-meters/

A legacy type meter in no way infringes on the efficient delivery of electricity, and the very existence of the Meter Choices Program shows that smart meters are not essential equipment.  The 408$ per year fee associated with the choices program (albeit exorbitantly high vs. other opt out jurisdictions) is paid to allow your customers to avoid a smart meter and not just a sending/receiving smart meter. Our individual rights and freedoms in our own homes supersede the ambitions of a corporation especially when the metering of electricity has modern viable alternatives beyond the deliberately narrow scope BC Hydro has chosen to dictate.  Despite the Liberal government using both legislation and non-democratic Executive Orders in Council to neuter the BCUC, the very agency the public relies upon to protect itself from a monopoly corporation, a smart meter opt out was finally won and should be properly honoured.

If BC Hydro lacks the will or planning and forethought to retain, recertify, or acquire non-smart meters for a well-known number of its ‘legacy meter’ customers, my family should [not] be made to bear any risk or consequence in being forced to accept a smart meter when Bill Bennett made it very clear: “no one will be forced”,  “People who want to opt out can”, “They will not be forced to have a smart meter, but they are going to have to pay the costs.”  BC Hydro needs to keep the full scope of ‘choice’ in the Meter Choices Program by continuing to use legacy meters, otherwise there is no meaningful choice left in the program.

As BC Hydro has once again been notified to not attempt to install any smart meter type I therefore will not be made responsible to pay any non-installation fees as BC Hydro is aware not to show up unless an appointment is made and a non-wireless capable / non-smart meter is made available for this customer. I perceive a significant threat from a smart meter to both my family’s personal security and the security of my home and property.  So, it becomes the duty of the public corporation BC Hydro to find, or to simply honour, solutions that do not infringe on civil liberties, health and welfare of individuals when it comes to the sanctity of the home.

X

cc. BCUC Commission.Secretary@bcuc.com

= = =

From: BC Hydro Customer Relations

Dear Mr. X

Thank you for your letter ……

Since our meter for your home is expiring, it needs to be replaced.  If that meter does not get replaced by its expiration date, BC Hydro will be considered non-compliant with Federal Measurement Canada regulations and may be subject to a fine (up to $5,000).

We no longer have legacy meters in stock and we aren’t buying or recertifying any more.  Your options are having a radio-off meter or a smart meter installed at your premises. The radio transmitter in a radio-off meter has been disabled, and as a result does not send out any radio signals and will have to be read in person. We’ll only convert a radio-off meter back into a standard meter at your request or when an account is closed. We can’t turn the radios back on remotely – we have to visit in person.

When the Meter Choices program was announced by the Government of B.C. on July 2013, it explained that customers could keep an old meter “until the meter breaks down, their Measurement Canada seal expires or they relocate.” Please refer to the related link below:

https://archive.news.gov.bc.ca/releases/news_releases_2013-2017/2013MEM0004-001125.htm

Are smart meters compatible with existing meter bases?

Yes.  Meters and meter sockets installed in BC are designed to a common standard that considers the compatibility of the meter to the meter socket and vice versa. All our meters (analog, digital and smart meters) are exempt from CSA (Canadian Standards Association) standards which are meant for consumer products.   Meter sockets are the property of the customer and as such, it is the part of customer’s responsibility to ensure the meter socket is in accordance with BC Electrical Code. The BC Electrical code requires meter sockets to be CSA certified and compatible to the common standards.  More specifically, meter sockets have to be certified to ANSI C12.7, matching the meter’s ANSI C12.10 physical dimensions, as well as other standards related to measurement specifics.

These standards do not differentiate between manufacturer, model, or vintage of the meter or meter socket and ensure compatibility between both legacy meter and smart meters, with meter socket at homes and businesses in BC Hydro’s service territory.

Time-of-use Rates

We’re not introducing time-of-use rates in British Columbia.

Time-of-use rates charge customers a higher rate at times of the day where there is a high demand for power. These rates are useful for utilities whose peak demand exceeds their ability to supply electricity – they have to buy expensive electricity in order to meet their customers’ needs.

In B.C. about 95% of our power is generated by hydroelectric generators. We can manage the water flowing through our generators to match supply to demand. For this reason, we can more easily meet peak demand, and don’t need to introduce time-of-use rates.

Smart appliances

You will not be required to purchase smart appliances. Even If you do choose to use smart appliances or a home energy monitor, we won’t have access to any data communicated between the meters to your devices or appliances. In fact, once the electricity has passed through your meter, we don’t have any information about how the electricity is used.

Security and hacking

The security of our meters and our electrical infrastructure is an issue we take seriously. Just like you protect your computer and banks protect their online banking systems, we take the necessary precautions to protect our system.

Our system has multiple layers of security, starting with consumption information being encrypted similar to online banking data. The data is transmitted through secure channels, and processed in secured facilities managed by rigorous access control policies. Personal information like your name and address is not remotely transmitted. This ensures the effort required to access our metering information is disproportionately high relative to the value of the information that could be obtained through hacking.

Our meters are part of a data-collection network: this network is not connected to the transmission control system or the internet, and online consumption data is not connected to any electricity system controls.

Our system has also been tested by independent security services who complete “ethical hacking” to identity any weaknesses so that we can take appropriate measures. To date, they haven’t found any significant issues.

Since you are taking part in the Meter Choices Program, you will have a radio-off meter replacement by default. This meter is not able to communicate wirelessly and is read by plugging a tool into the meter to download information about electricity consumption. This information is later uploaded into BC Hydro’s computer systems to help us manage the system efficiently.

What type of advance notification can we provide?

At this time, we can’t accommodate appointment requests because we have to coordinate work across the province. However, as a courtesy, we’ll ask our authorized installer to contact you at 250 478 9881 the day before they visit.

All our installers are fully qualified, carry photo ID and follow required safety protocol. An electrician is not required.  Just like an electrical socket in your home, a properly functioning meter socket should be able to accommodate meter exchanges. The exchange process is similar to unplugging and then plugging in an appliance.

A few of our meter installation safety steps include:

  • Visually check the existing meter, sealing ring and service entrance for signs of tampering or irregularity.
  • Check the voltage in the meter socket.
  • Check connections at the meter socket lugs.
  • Check to ensure potential links are closed on back of the new meter.

If we discover any issue when we remove a meter at your property, we’ll let you know so that you can arrange for a qualified electrician to make any necessary repairs.

Providing access to our meters at all reasonable times is a service requirement and is found under Section 9.5 of the Electric Tariff. To access a copy of the Electric Tariff, please go to bchydro.com and search Electric Tariff.

More information

If you have any questions about this letter, or to book an appointment, please contact us at 1 800 409 8199.

Sincerely,
BC Hydro Customer Relations

 

Sharon Noble
Director, Coalition to Stop Smart Meters

Word of mouth is our best weapon.