2016-09-01 Major Smart Meter Security Report

1)    It always seems odd how utilities justify the implementation of smeters by saying they will save money by laying off meter readers, cutting down on theft, etc. but the rates still increase dramatically year after year.

“City officials say the rate increases are needed to finish the “replacement of all residential and commercial water meters in both Baltimore City and Baltimore County.” The new meters are being outfitted with wireless technology that is supposed to make meter-reading more accurate and improve the timeliness of billing.”

http://www.baltimoresun.com/news/maryland/baltimore-city/bs-md-ci-water-rate-20160830-story.html

2)    Major issues discussed door re the smart grid including security with features such as the remote disconnect switch increasing vulnerability, privacy, ownership of data, etc. Many of the issues we have alerted the politicians and bureaucrats to are being outlined here. And fixing these problems is expensive. The smeters are the to the grid, but the entire grid is vulnerable, and will need ongoing maintenance. A bottomless money pit and no one in the govt., the NDP, the BCUC seems to understand this. Or perhaps they just don’t care.

 GSGF SmartMeterSecuritySurvey

SMART METER SECURITY SURVEY, AUG. 2016

Many countries have deployed a significant number of smart meters and are now trying to leverage the platform to deploy services such as outage management, distribution management, home automation etc. that will improve the reliability indices of the utility as well as ensure efficient use of manpower. While utilities can realize substantial benefits from smart meters and associated platforms, there are also concerns from a security standpoint with a risk of widespread fraud if a security vulnerability is industrialized. Manipulated meter readings can lead to substantial revenue loss for the utility. Presence of features such as a remote connect/disconnect switch can lead to a strategic vulnerability if an adversary is able to get the ability to turn off power from millions of households. Regulation and universal standardization would need to be just right – lack of it can lead to interoperability issues thus limiting the overall benefits a consumer and the industry can get from the ecosystem.” Pg. 6/24

In addition, with remote connect/disconnect becoming ubiquitous, the utility now has the option to remotely switch off the electricity supply to a consumer in case of non-payment of bill, meter being tampered, consumption exceeding the sanctioned load or in case of a pre-determined demand response event.

This functionality of remote connect/disconnect can however lead to serious strategic vulnerabilities – an attacker who can gain a head-end can remotely turn off the meters it can talk to. An attack on a higher level system can be even more devastating. Again, it will require well thought of security architectures to ensure that such a scenario does not happen and even if it does, there are built-in mechanisms which can let the utility wrestle back control of its meters from the attacker26. This is why appropriate security controls are required at a broader level (not just smart metering!”

“Smart meters vastly increase the amount and granularity of consumer data as related to the nature and frequency of energy consumption and generation, thereby opening up more opportunities for general invasion of privacy. Studies have shown that it is possible to identify some of the appliances through load monitoring. Such data might appeal to advertisers and law enforcement agencies alike.” Pg. 15/24

“The legal ownership of Smart Grid energy data is the subject of much discussion. Various regulators and jurisdictions have treated the issue of who owns energy data differently. However, regardless of data ownership, the management of energy data that contains or is combined with personal information or otherwise identifies individuals, and the personal information derived from such data, remains subject to the privacy considerations described in this report. It should be the responsibility of the custodian of energy data to ensure that the information gathered from multiple components of the smart grid is safeguarded27. From a privacy standpoint, it is important to clearly outline what data is gathered and how often. It is equally important to clearly identify mechanisms and duration of data retention as well as documented access control policies to this data.” Pg. 15/24

https://web.archive.org/web/20160901060528/http://www.globalsmartgridfederation.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/smart_meter_security_survey.pdf

3)    Many people have asked me what type of RF meter they should buy. There are many available, depending on what you want to measure and how much you wish to spend. Many people have a couple, a cheaper one to carry around and a better one that is more accurate. Rob Metzinger of Safe Living Technology is someone who can advise far better than I. His email is: rob@slt.co .  Here are a couple of links to a couple of the less expensive meters. He has a lot of good info on his site, including a link to sounds that various wireless devices make.

http://www.slt.co/Products/RFDetectors/Acousticom2.aspx

and

Cornet: http://www.slt.co/products/rfdetectors/RFDetector-Cornet-ED-78S.aspx

Letters:

From: X
Sent: August 29, 2016
To: jessica.mcdonald@bchydro.com; elizabeth.may@parl.gc.ca; Horgan.MLA, John <John.Horgan.MLA@leg.bc.ca>;  Prime Minister <pm@pm.gc.ca>;  Treena Wood <Treena.Wood@news1130.rogers.com>; the tyee <thetyee_f250786fb07cd90b10db61a91e7ab739@response.thetyee.ca>;
Subject: Fw: Update 2016-08-28 BCUC is failing to protect the public
[http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.com/z/2016-08-28-bcuc-is-failing-to-protect-the-public/]

Greetings friends, associates and political figures,

I’ve sent this update to you so you are aware of what is being sent to government and media outlets and yet, to date, we hear no coverage.

What could be the source of such arrogance that we are ignored by our own government and the media that is supposed to be the 5th estate whose responsibility as news outlets is to inform the public especially on important issues? Could it be that it is because the President of the US himself has endorsed this program and the ensuing grid that will be created once this technology is completely installed?…… just as he has now endorsed the TPP, which we all know by now is a corporate scam to control our markets and introduce unwanted and unsafe commodities into our stores while undermining our sovereignty.

Take action now to protect your future and the future of your children. Pass this information on to all you know.   Thanks.

 

To Jessica McDonald, BC HYDRO CEO.

You, as CEO of BC Hydro, in my opinion, are ultimately responsible for all decisions made by BC Hydro and all damages that are done as a result of those decisions. We have all urged you to reconsider decisions regarding programs that we consider abusive and dangerous yet you are unmoved even when presented with expert proof from PhD’s in the fields of biology and technology. I consider you to be a stubborn and insensitive woman and I’ll be happy when you are finally fired.

X

__________________________________________________________________________

[http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.com/rebuttal-to-bcuc-final-response-final-order-smart-meter-fire-safety-complaint/]

I think Bob is missing the point. I hope some of you will write to him – he is the only journalist who picked this up, so I don’t want to turn him off, but he is overly optimistic that the average person will see through all of this. It wasn’t plain enough, IMHO, to raise much of an alarm.  Below is my stream of emails to him. Please read from the bottom up.

Sharon

= = =

From: Sharon Noble
Sent: September 1, 2016 3:00 PM
To: ‘Bob Mackin, Jr.’ <bob.mackin@mac.com>
Subject: RE: Further to BCUC failing the public

The thing is I have proof that oversight is not occurring, that laws are being broken, and that the BCUC is ignoring all of this including solid information that design flaws exist, that ITRON knew they existed before the smart meter contract was signed. I have numbers  To me this smacks of collusion somewhere along the long line of handouts.

And moreover, Bob, the costs have been misrepresented from day one. The lifespan is ¼ of what Hydro told the BCUC, and the ongoing costs to maintain are much higher than the costs associated with analogs. Who is making all of this money? Nowhere have there been any benefits to justify the costs – not in California, Texas, Florida, Ontario, etc.

We pay while our homes burn down, and Hydro, even though it had installation done by unqualified people right off the street, is not held liable for damages. The Tariff says they are not liable for any damage, even if due caused by error or negligence. The only recourse for people, like those in Richmond a couple of weeks ago, is to sue Hydro. The average person doesn’t have the money for that, let alone run the risk of having to pick up Hydro’s $700 per hour lawyers, of which there are many.

And people aren’t suing due to smart meter fires. The insurance companies are, I believe, and are being reimbursed for the claims they’ve paid. Where are the insurers on this and why aren’t they warning people about this defective device?

If I hadn’t done all of this research myself I wouldn’t believe any of this. It’s beyond the average person’s comprehension that things could be this corrupt, this one-sided for the corporation.

When you get to the point where you want to do another story, please allow me to give you data. People need to know that I/we are not just talking through frustration, which right now many people do believe.

Best-
Sharon

“A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.”    Winston Churchill.

= = =

From: Bob Mackin, Jr. [mailto:bob.mackin@mac.com]
Sent: September 1, 2016 1:11 PM
To: Sharon Noble
Subject: Re: Further to BCUC failing the public

I will be working on additional stories. I, too, have serious questions about the lack of oversight. I have always been skeptical of this program, knowing the too-close-for-comfort connections between key BC Hydro board members and the suppliers.

I had to be succinct and focus on the BCUC conclusion and its extraordinary order to BC Hydro and FortisBC.

I believe readers are smart and will understand what it means, that both utilities have been negligent.

We live in a data-driven world, but these two very large, mature and sophisticated companies haven’t been collecting the basics on actual incidents. Anyone who is a victim of a smart meter-related fire now has more legal ammunition to go to the courts.

–bob

= = =

On Aug 31, 2016, at 12:59 PM, Sharon Noble wrote:

Dear Bob,

I appreciated the fact that you introduced the topic of smart meter fires in your article, but I was disappointed that you hadn’t read the material I had provided, especially that pertaining to the “study” done by Len Garis. It was based on inaccurate, incomplete information – garbage in but roses out?? I have pointed out to Mr. Garis and so many others that the Fire Commissioner is not getting all of the fire reports, despite what the law requires. If only 50% of the reports are being submitted and many of those are being submitted too late to be included in the annual report, how credible is the information base? Yet in your article you go along with the BCUC on this – ignoring the fact that fires are occurring, and that there are experts who are warning about design flaws that are the cause for many.

Why didn’t BCUC call for an independent electrical engineer to review the data I submitted and the information regarding the design flaws provided by the engineers? If they won’t look, they will never find out the truth.

I would like to present you with a scenario to make abundantly clear the problems that now exist with the smart meter investigative process. The premise upon which this scenario is built is a hypothetical, so no admissions are required of you.  It is, after all, just a hypothetical.

1- A home catches fire.  The inciting cause of the fire is the smart meter.

2 – That’s the hypothetical.  What follows is not hypothetical.  It’s reality.

3 – While the fire is being fought, BC Hydro removes the smart meter.

4 – BC Hydro immediately sends the meter to ITRON without doing any investigation.

5 – When the fire department’s inspector inspects the scene all the evidence points to the area of the meter as being where the fire started, but with the smart meter gone, he is forced to say that the ignition source is “undetermined”.

6 – The BC Safety Authority is not called so this agency with the electrical experts have no opportunity to view the fire scene.

7 – The fire report is not completed for 15 months and therefore is not put on the system in time for the fire to be included in the annual report, but even if it had been, there is no accounting for fires with “undetermined” igniters.

8 – The result is that no one knows the smart meter caused the fire and BC Hydro is able to say it is not aware of any situation where a smart meter was determined responsible for causing a fire.

9 –  BC Hydro commissions and pays Mr. Len Garis to write a report about smart meter safety. Mr. Garis uses only the incomplete, inaccurate Fire Commissioner’s annual report, concluding that there have been no smart meter fires.

It is obvious that no one agency is in charge of this program with regard to safety and oversight.  All of the attention has been given to getting smart meters on homes at all costs without regard to the health, safety or desires of BC Hydro customers.

I asked that BCUC fulfill its role of protecting the public according to the BC Utilities Commission Act by doing the following, at the minimum:

  • Require that an immediate and complete investigation by independent qualified forensic experts of the safety of ITRON smart meters currently on homes in BC be undertaken;
  • Establish one agency that has the responsibility for coordination of the various reporting agencies to ensure regulations are followed and that tracking/reporting of all fires is done as per those regulations;
  • Establish meaningful penalties (e.g. firing) for those who disregard or allow others to disregard regulations, e.g. removing smart meters from fire scenes before official inspection has been done, or neglecting to inform the BCSA of an electrical incident before the scene has been corrupted;
  • Amend the BC Electrical Safety Regulation which currently exempts utilities from any and all safety regulations, ensuring that any utility equipment that is put on private residences and businesses is certified by a qualified agency (CSA) or a professional electrical engineer licensed in BC.

Given the lack of oversight and due diligence by any of the agencies, it must be considered that other fire hazards might exist that are not being reported or addressed. The problems are systemic and likely not specific to the smart meter program. If it were not for members of the public who devoted much time and effort to investigating and documenting the problems, it is likely that they never would have come to attention. This failure must be investigated by an independent body with the authority to enforce recommended changes.

The smart meter program is unique in that devices that have been known to have caused problems elsewhere, e.g. in California, and for years before the program began in BC, are mandated to be on every home and business. Lives and property are being put at risk by the very government and agencies who are sworn to protect them. It should not be left to the members of the public to fight the government and BC Hydro to protect themselves and their homes.

I would ask that you take the time to review just part of the volumes of information that I have provided. This is not a topic that should be addressed with a single column. We need and deserve a true investigative journalist to dig into this.

Sharon

 

 

Sharon Noble
Director, Coalition to Stop Smart Meters

The cost of wireless convenience: EHS, infertility, cancer.