2016-11-11 Industry says $$mart things are vulnerable and security cannot be assured

1)    In the last update, I sent an article in which the smeter companies were admitting (gleefully) that there would be more and more replacements due to technological changes. I expressed concern, and asked you to share them, about costs. But there is another major concern – SAFETY.  Every time a meter is replaced (even when done by qualified professionals), the lugs/connections in the meter base widen and risk being damaged. This widening means that there is a gap which can cause arcing. This “hot socket” [http://www.slideshare.net/bravenna/hot-socket-issues-causes-best-practices] is a major and frequent cause of fires. This should not be allowed.



When you write to John Horgan <oppositionleader@leg.bc.ca>and others, please tell them this, too. Any Electrician will confirm this. Analogs have been safe for decades and one reason is that they have not been exchanged. They have stayed in their original meter base, fitting tightly, functioning perfectly and safely.

2)    A member was told by a bus driver that buses going up island and to Sooke are going to have Wi-Fi!!  This will make the buses a Faraday cage, exposing the riders to very high levels of RF, bouncing around, reflecting off the metal.

3)    A podcast by a Civil Engineer, Jeremy Johnson, who has become sensitive to RF after exposure to a bank of smeters, and who is trying to educate people about how he became sensitive and what can be done to reduce exposure.


4)    Another excellent document by Olga Sheean, a letter to Minister of Health, Dr. Jane Philpott, about how Health Canada is failing to do its job.

“Protecting the health of Canadians and their environment is a core function of the government, according to Minister Philpott. Of course it is, but what are you doing about it? This is just one of many empty, meaningless statements with zero action to back it up.”




5)    Hackers hit Finnish apartment buildings shutting off heat.


6)    Industry is admitting concerns about the vulnerability of “$$mart” things, with the IEEE calling for regulation, and even that won’t guarantee security.

“The problems are not problems that markets can solve,” says Bruce Schneier, a security specialist affiliated with Harvard University who has asked  for more regulation. He says attacks like the one on Dyn are akin to air pollution—an externality that manufacturers aren’t motivated to fix.   

In light of recent attacks, it’s clear that Internet of Things (IoT) devices will continue to serve on the front lines of botnets if their security isn’t somehow improved. And to critics, history shows that manufacturers cannot be trusted to do that on their own…

Regulating these devices together means devising a rule that would be broad enough to cross many sectors and cover all of these products. So far, there has been no clear proposal or agreement among supporters on a potential regulatory framework for IoT security. And many disagree  that government regulation would be effective, saying hackers change their attacks so frequently that it would be hard for any regulatory body to keep up.”


7)    Below are 2 letters that are in the public domain about BC Hydro’s and FortisBC’s rate structure.



From: X
Sent: November 10, 2016
To: customermetering@bchydro.com

Subject: attempted smart meter install

Attention: Jessica

After our phone conversation of Nov 8/16, I am following up with my concerns in writing (again)

At approx 2:30 that afternoon I answered the door in my housecoat, to Brett Senini who arrived without the promised notice to remove my analogue. I explained that I was unwell & unable to access my electric panel in order to avoid a live exchange. Also I must provide my tenant 24 hours written notice prior to entering their unit, where the electric panel is located.  Brett phoned Darcia? regarding this situation & assured me I would not be penalized with a $65 failed install fee.

As I have explained on numerous occasions to various people at BC Hydro, I survived a fire in 1994, escaping with only the clothes on my back. This event left me suffering from PTSD.  Apparently, BC Hydro chooses to ignore the design flaws in the Smart meters, ignore the fact that they are not CSA certified to operate safely in an analogue base & even deny those house fires (on record) instigated by this product.

I find it most distressing to hear from you that if I had not been home, your workers would have gone ahead against my wishes & done a live exchange as they have done in so many other cases.  My meter is located on the west side of my home & takes heavy afternoon sun, a condition which can promote condensation within the plastic cover of your Smart meter.

If BC Hydro insists on promoting their agenda, thereby putting the public in danger of fire, I require from you, written assurance that they assume full responsibility for any consequences. Since they have such confidence in this product, they should not have any problem accepting liability, both at the time of install & for the duration of its life, as well as for all future replacements which we as customers, can expect with regularity.

Given my very healthy respect for the power of fire, I have been religiously paying your Legacy fees in order to retain my analogue which has been proven safe for decades. No such risk currently exists with my home, so in the event of a fire, the cause would only be the result of what has changed, via this upcoming alteration.

BTW I was able to dig up the info we spoke about with regard to BC Hydro’s sub contractor, Brian Steven of AT Maintenance Plus out of Nanaimo. Apparently he has visited various homes in Cowichan Bay & the Cobble Hill area, & disconnected people whose Legacy fees were paid up. They were then faced with a $700 reconnection fee, prior to being forced to accept a Smart Meter! I understand it has also occurred in Merritt.  Although you said you were unaware of this situation, I do believe it is common knowledge, since it has in fact been reported to BCUC.

I look forward to receiving the highlighted assurance, outlined above, as well as an explanation for what seems a very heavy handed procedure along with the notice you have once again promised, prior to any Smart meter being  installed at xxxx.



(Please read from the bottom up.)


Sent: November 7, 2016 2:42 PM
To: Andy Shadrack
Cc: Commission Secretary BCUC:EX <Commission.Secretary@bcuc.com>

Subject: Re: [gsxlist] In Support of Inclining Block Rates

Hi Andy;

A few thoughts about the business of setting rates that can be defended as fair.

In the 70s our Federal Government imposed a period of wage and price controls. Some of us thought it a little over the top but since our company operated under air transport licences we were obliged to adopt the position yet find a way of getting new revenues to combat fuel price increases.

The job was made somewhat easier by the fact that we almost only operated the Boeing 737-200.

As I said the task was to meet conflicting issues to ensure company survival.

When I settled on a strategy, it was one of attempting to be fair to all customers, even when the routes were obviously very different. To get approval from the Commission in Ottawa I had to objectively show need for more revenues while showing how this was to be done.

A simplistic design was clearly the best and that meant using the relationship between distance and direct operating costs. Yes there were discussions about what was the value and charges for the cargo hold transport capacity produced but since I argued that it was an incidental issue we agreed to not get caught up in the micro stuff.

The concept that a longer flight distance meant more costs than a shorter flight was the easy start. Then I modified to get a curve that reflected the notion that the per nautical mile cost for a long flight was less than a short flight and that was excepted. Because of rates being historical I found existing rates landed both sides of the curve. This meant that as we asked for rate changes some routes increased while other stayed constant until we progressively had them all on the curve which progressively rose to give us the increase in revenues we needed to meet increases of uncontrollable expenses. When I took this model to Ottawa and all our communities we were given complete approval. There may have been some grousing but I never heard it . This was because rate increase were seen to be fair across a system served by 30 aircraft and over three provinces and two territories.

When Mr. WAC Bennett created BC Hydro he said the “postage stamp” pricing model was to be used. About 2 years ago I saw re-confirmation of this from the Minister’s office. This rate setting model was political as it made no distinction between the cost of serving a “short-haul” domestic customer in the lower-mainland compared to a “long-haul” customer in say Vanderhoof.

Now, because of the financial mis-conduct of BC Hydro for the past 14 years, there is a dire need for increases in rates. To date, people with inadequate budgets to handle the already sharply increased rates, are seeking some kind of rate break. The most recent and notable example is the payment holiday given to some miners. But it does not end there with others seeking rate breaks because of their very obvious needs.

So what has happened is a possible new rate tariff that looks like getting twisted by political pressures. This can not be defended as fair to all BC Hydro customers and will only produce irritation among customers.

It should not be the job of BC Hydro to price electricity in a way that serves political interests over some common sense relationship that reflects the actual costs of providing the service. BC Hydro should not look and behave like a social service agency. A pricing/rate strategy that says some are more equal than others is doomed to fail and should not be contemplated.

Cheers from Erik


From: Andy Shadrack
To: “Commission Secretary BCUC” <commission.secretary@bcuc.com>
Sent: November 6, 2016 9:59:02 AM

Subject: [gsxlist] In Support of Inclining Block Rates

Andy Shadrack & Gail Bauman

Sunday November 6th

British Columbia Utilities Commission
Sixth Floor, 900 Howe Street, Box 250
Vancouver, B.C. V6Z 2N3

Attention: Ms. Laurel Ross, Acting Commission Secretary and Director

Dear Ms. Ross:

Re: Inclining Block Rates

We are writing in support of the tiered rate system to suggest that the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) should direct both BC Hydro and FortisBC towards the three tiered summer and winter system adopted by Idaho Power:


We began pursuit of personal power consumption reduction as a means to lessen our impact on the ecosystems of the planet in 2006. Through a combination of energy consumption reduction and solar power production we have, in 2016, reduced our household use of grid-purchased electricity for each of FortisBC’s (FBC) billing periods as follows:

December 2015 – February 2016: 64.7% reduction  – .892 MWh less
February 2016 – April 2016: 80.6% reduction – .874 MWh less
April 2016 – June 2016: 106.8% reduction – 1.093 MWh less – first billing period we exceeded net-zero
June 2016 – August 2016: 96.6% reduction – .889 MWh less
August 2016 to October 2016: 88.4% reduction – .826 MWh less
October 2016 to December 2016: projected 54% reduction – .457 MWh less

Thus we estimate that we will use 5 MWh less grid electricity in 2016 than we did in 2006, roughly .84 MWh per billing period – a nearly 81% reduction in grid-purchased electricity.

Writing in their third Netmetering Evaluation Report, BC Hydro states:

Generally speaking, the economic value of customer self-generation to BC Hydro and non-participating customers is measured in terms of avoided costs because customers supply part or all of their own electricity. For example, customer self-generation may reduce forecast load that BC Hydro is expected to serve or it may appear as a supply resource, reducing the amount of electricity BC Hydro must generate or acquire. Customer generation may also allow BC Hydro to avoid or defer system costs, such as upgrades to enhance the reliability of the system in a particular area.

RS1289 affects the load in the BC Hydro Load-Resource Balance (LRB) to the extent that a current RS 1289 customers generation reduces the amount of energy delivered by BC Hydro to such customers (and the amount of energy billed at the customer meter). Historical sales to BC Hydros customers, including RS1289 customers, are one of the key drivers for forecasting future expected electricity demand” (A-21/BC Hydro Netmetering Evaluation Report No 3, April 30th , 2013, Value of RS 1289: Avoided Cost and Load Resource Balance, p 15, line 11-24 http://www.bcuc.com/Documents/Proceedings/2014/DOC_41156_A2-1_BCH_Net-Metering-Evaluation-Report-No-3.pdf).

Our household would therefore observe that any customer who has engaged in grid power purchase reduction has the same effect of helping BC Hydro and FortisBC “avoid or defer system costs“, regardless of whether that customer has engaged in energy conservation and/or signed up to either company’s net meting program. A .84 MWh per billing period purchase reduction, when multiplied by the number of customers undertaking such a reduction, results in significant cost savings to both the utility companies and their customers.

Unfortunately the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC), in allowing each utility to charge a standard Basic Charge regardless of customer consumption levels, has failed to take into account the facts provided by BC Hydro in their net metering report. As a consequence, as our household consumption has dropped, the cost of the Basic Charge as a proportion of our overall annual billing by FBC has risen from 23.5% in 2006 to 66.6% so far in 2016.

In fact the cost for each kWh of electricity purchased from FBC has risen for us from 8.7 cents in 2006 to 29.3 cents in 2016, whereas by their own admission in the recent Net Metering Program Tariff Update hearing, FBC acknowledged that the average cost of kWh for a residential customer, Tier 1, Tier 2 and Basic Charge costs combined, is 13.48 cents per kWh. Thus we who have a consumption level of grid power within the lowest 5% of FBC customers are paying at a rate per kWh that is 217% higher than that paid by the average residential customer.

In this context the inclining block rate differential, which starts at 1,600 kWh per billing period (800 kWh per month), is the only rate-based program that offers any financial relief to customers who have reduced their grid power consumption by whatever means. Further, while we are open to the Utilities Commission considering offering a differential rate for electric heat customers, either on a seasonal basis or for those living in areas that do not offer natural gas, we remain unalterably opposed to mandatory introduction of Time of Use rates.

TOU rates, as we previously argued before the Commission, are both age and income discriminatory in their foundation. Outside of heating, the largest consumption of electricity is for heating water and cooking of food with an oven. Young families with small children, unlike seniors, cannot avoid using power for certain household functions during peak hours due to the structure of time-related activities centered around attendance at grade school. Likewise persons on shifts, from nurses to smelter workers, have to use hot water and cook food at times dependent on the shifts they are working.

Similarly, outside temperature and cyclical daylight hours fix the time when highest heat and use of indoor and outdoor lighting will take place. Thus, for the vast majority of citizens, shifting power consumption from one part of the day to another, through peak pricing, simply penalizes them while allowing others, mostly those who are retired, to take further advantage of a biasedly designed electrical grid pricing system.

If we are serious about grid power consumption reduction then we must focus on reducing overall household useage, through purchase of energy efficient appliances (such as side-loading washing machines) and adoption of energy efficient measures (such as clothes drying racks and lines versus electrical driers).  Our household is an example of how that can be done, as between 2006 and 2014 we reduced daily consumption of grid electricity from 17 kWh to 8.9 kWh, a saving of 8.1 kWh a day – roughly 2.96 MWh per year. In 2016, through introduction of household solar production, we have added a saving of another projected 5.7 kWh per day – a further 2.09 MWh per year – for an overall reduction of 5 MWh.

In this context it is unfortunate to realize that while our household is projected to pay approximately $305 for purchase of 1.2 MWH of grid electricity from FortisBC in 2016, if we had undertaken no energy conservation and not installed a household solar system we could have purchased an additional 5 MWh of power for just under $500. That is $100 per MWh versus the roughly $250 that we are having to pay per MWh. That is why our household supports the inclining block rate, because at least it starts to address the cost imbalance between those customers who purchase less power on an annual basis but pay more per kWh than those who purchase more kWh but pay less per kWh.

Respectfully submitted,
Andy Shadrack and Gail Bauman

Sharon Noble
Director, Coalition to Stop Smart Meters

Power to the people and not to Hydro.