2017-02-08 BC paper publishes article re. cell phones

[Analog – Auditor General – Autism – BC Hydro – BCUC – Benefits – Booth School – Cell Phones – Children – Costs – Devra Davis – Doctor – EMR – Fires – FortisBC – Gas – Health Canada – International Electromagnetic Field Scientist Appeal – Greg ReimerJoel MoskowitzJohn Rowe – Kellogg School – Life Expectancy / Life Span – Lisa Madigan – Lithium Batteries – Microcells – Opt-out – Petition – Sherry Ridout – Smart Metering Program – Stimulus Funds – Studies – Wireless | Anmore, Maple Ridge, BC – Ontario – Maryland, USA] & (videos)

1)    A member recommended a terrific video, “Resonance – Beings of Frequency”.  I did share it some time ago, but it is something worth sharing again.

https://vimeo.com/54189727

2)    BC Hydro is considering installing more high-powered transmission lines near homes in Anmore, very near homes, claiming they can do this because they have the right. There are studies showing that incidence of childhood leukemia increases dramatically within a few hundred meters of such powerlines. BC Hydro can and should put these underground and shield them to protect the public, but they are saying this is too expensive. Please consider signing the petition and sharing on twitter and facebook.

(click on photo to enlarge)

http://www.straight.com/news/865696/power-line-plan-sparks-fight-between-bc-hydro-and-residents-anmore-village

Petition: https://tinyurl.com/zhwnuo7

3)    FortisBC has not yet applied to the BC Utilities Commission to be allowed to replace the current analog gas meters but it is likely they are planning to do so. Some gas meters have been found to emit signals every 15 seconds.

http://emrabc.ca/?page_id=4977

4)    An excellent article appeared in January explaining clearly why people should be concerned about wireless devices that have never been shown to be safe and the failure of Health Canada to do its job which is to protect Canadians from dangerous devices and pollutants. Do we not have the right to know what is being put outside or on our homes?

In June of 2015 Renee Adams* of Maple Ridge, British Columbia was awakened by the sound of heavy trucks and workers affixing microcell broadcast antennas to a telephone pole 100 feet from her front door.

Surprised by the lack of warning and concerned about possible health effects, the single mother of two autistic boys asked for an explanation, but was told by workers that it was “none of her business” and ordered out of the construction zone. Finding no government department at any level willing to listen to her concerns, she appealed to city council. Council, however, was unaware of the plan to deploy the antennas, confused about responsibilities, and uncertain of dangers.

https://watershedsentinel.ca/articles/tower-roulette/

5)    The Victoria Times Colonist published this article about cell phones, which is a rarity. I couldn’t find the Times Colonist article to link to, but here is the initial article. I hope you will consider writing to the editor of the TC, David Obee, and thank him for publishing this. His email is: dobee@timescolonist.com

“Want to do everything possible, short of ditching your cellphone? There are webpages for that, but make sure you choose the right one. Rather than scrolling around and scaring yourself with off-the-wall claims, consider turning to reputable scientists, such as Devra Davis, who was the founding director of the Center for Environmental Oncology at the University of Pittsburgh Cancer Institute, or Joel Moskowitz, director of the Center for Family and Community Health at the University of California at Berkeley. Moskowitz and Davis are among the over 220 scientists who have signed the International Electromagnetic Field Scientist Appeal calling for tougher limits on cellphones and related technologies.”

http://www.chicagotribune.com/lifestyles/sc-cell-phone-safety-family-0131-20170126-story.html

6)    Smeters in Maryland are being resisted, and fires/failures have been reported. People are being allowed to keep their analogs for very low monthly fees.

http://www.somdnews.com/recorder/news/local/utilities-continue-smart-meter-rollout-in-calvert/article_3edb9a0a-641b-5efe-a9c8-1437e3e4770d.html

7)    Below is a series of emails from a member who has been trying to get information from hydro about the smeter, costs, etc. and responses from BC Hydro with non-answers. We have a right to this important information but consistent with everything else they do, BC Hydro believes we should just shut up and pay the bill.

Letters:

From: Customer, Relations [mailto:customer.relations@bchydro.com]
Sent: February-03-17
To: Sherry Ridout  (name given with permission)
Cc: Customer, Relations
Subject: RE: Ridout S (Jan) SM Life Span of Smart Meters Greg Reimer (Due Feb 6) Lithium Batteries in Smart Meters

Dear Ms. Ridout,

Thanks for your January 30, 2017 email regarding BC Hydro’s Smart Metering Program.

[https://www.bchydro.com/content/dam/hydro/medialib/internet/documents/smi/smart_meter_kam_customer.pdf]

Smart meter disposal

As previously communicated, a small percentage of smart meters that are not covered by warranty are sent to recycling centers for disposal.

Lithium batteries

Since 2011 BC Hydro has used Centron OpenWay meters manufactured by Itron to serve its residential customers. Just like pace makers, clocks and cameras, these meters contain lithium batteries. Lithium batteries are used in critical devices because they have a long life span.

Lithium batteries must meet the safety standards detailed in IEC 60086-4:2014 which, “specifies tests and requirements for primary lithium batteries to ensure their safe operation under intended use and reasonably foreseeable misuse.” These standards were set by the International Electrotechnical Commission, an international standards organization that prepares and publishes International Standards for all electrical, electronic and related technologies. BC Hydro has confirmed with its meter vendor that the batteries in use in its meters meet these standards.

As previously communicated, the lithium batteries are sent to recycling centers for disposal, for additional details on their recycling practices, we recommend you consult their website or contact them directly.

Smart Metering Program business case

Before we invest in any capital project, we examine the expected costs and benefits, and write a business case. You can find the Smart Metering Program business case online.

The Smart Metering Program had a budget of $930 million, and was delivered about $150 million below budget.

Throughout the project we filed quarterly reports with the B.C. Utilities Commission, which is responsible for reviewing our program spend, and determining which costs we can recover.

Over its 20 year life, the Smart Metering Project will pay for itself as it delivers savings from automated meter reading, reduced wasted electricity, faster outage restoration and improved theft detection.

Did the Program deliver on the business case?

Now that Smart Metering Program has ended, we’re evaluating all the costs and benefits.

We didn’t deliver everything we’d considered in the business case – for instance, we decided not to introduce voluntary time-of-use rates – but by December 2015, we’d already seen savings from:

  • reduced electricity theft,
  • automatic meter reading, and
  • improved outage detection – especially identifying which outages are on our customer’s side so that we don’t send out a crew to repair.

We’re also seeing benefits from areas we hadn’t considered in the business case such as:

  • being able to identify and bill locations that are consuming electricity but don’t have accounts,
  • improved billing accuracy – meaning we have fewer calls from our customers and bill corrections

Where can you find more information?

If you have any further questions please call customer metering at 1 800 409-8199.

Regards,

Pattie Fromyhr
BC Hydro Customer Relations

= = =

From: Sherry Ridout
Sent: January 30, 2017
To: Customer, Relations; Reimer, Greg
Cc: adrian.dix.mla@leg.bc.ca; Andrew.weaver.mla@leg.bc.ca; elizabeth.may@parl.gc.ca

Subject: Ridout S (Jan) SM Life Span of Smart Meters Greg Reimer (Due Feb 6) Lithium Batteries in Smart Meters

Dear Pattie,

Thanks for the prompt reply to my e-mail.  I appreciate the detailed response and was pleased to see that the lithium batteries and plastic casings are recyclable. I will contact those companies to learn more about the processes involved.

What is the protocol  for the disposal of the   rest of the smart meter?  You indicate that the life span of these meters is 20 years but  an industry person Mr. Bennett Gaines, Senior Vice President and the Corporate Services and Chief Information Officer of FirstEnergy Service Company, testified before the U.S. Congress in 2015 that the expected lifespan of these electronic AIM meters is 5-7 years.

“These devices are now computers, and so they have to be maintained.  They don’t have the life of an existing meter which is 20 to 30 years.  These devices have a life of between 5 to 7 years.  And so the challenge that the industry has is making sure they maintain their smart grid environment, not neglect it.”

This admission to life span came out at a hearing looking into the “cyber-security for power systems”; another issue entirely.  You can read the article and see why there are concerns regarding the environmental and financial costs of this program here: https://smartgridawareness.org/2015/10/29/smart-meters-have-life-of-5-to-7-years/

You mention the operational efficiencies that this program has provided but I still question the cost-benefit analyses for ‘smart’ meter deployments when their life span is so short.  Were the replacement and disposal costs factored into the  business case?  And why use a battery that does indeed have the expected useful life of around 20 years?  Will they all be taken out and reused or sent to the recycling depots or will the whole meter just disappear like our analogue ones did?

For a Canadian take on the matter I direct you to the Ontario Auditor General’s report in 2014 containing the following criticisms related to ‘smart’ meter expected lifetimes:

“The estimated useful life for a typical smart meter is 15 years, compared to 40 years for an analog meter.  The dis­tribution companies we consulted said the 15-year estimate is overly optimistic because smart meters:

— are subject to significant technological chan­ges, making it difficult to maintain hardware and software for the first-generation meters, which do not have the advanced functions of newer models;

— have complex features, such as radio com­munications and digital displays, which are subject to higher malfunction and failure rates;

— are similar to other types of information tech­nology, computer equipment and electronic devices in that they are backed by short war­ranty periods and require significant upgrades or more frequent replacements as the technol­ogy matures; and

— will likely be obsolete by the time they are re-verified as required by the federal agency Measurement Canada every six to 10 years.”

On an entirely different topic you mention that, BC Hydro has demonstrated that because of the benefits of the program, smart meters will help keep customer rates lower than they would have been had they not invested in the program.  My hydro bill and that of many struggling to pay theirs doesn’t  seem to have seen the benefits of this program, yet.

I thank you again for your time and realize that you are just doing your job when responding with company PR phrases.

Sherry Ridout

= = =

From: Customer, Relations [mailto:customer.relations@bchydro.com]
Sent: January-26-17
To: Sherry Ridout
Cc: Customer, Relations

Subject: Ridout, S (Jan) Lithium Batteries in Smart Meters

Dear Ms. Ridout,

Thank you for your email of January 11, 2017 to Greg Reimer, Executive Vice President which has been forwarded to me for review and response.

The Smart Metering Infrastructure has provided operational efficiencies and customer tools that save energy. This decreases the pressures on acquiring new energy sources, meaning that we can ensure our commitment to renewable sources of energy and only build new sources when necessary. Another environmental benefit is the decrease in vehicle emissions, made possible by automating processes such as meter readings and disconnections, as well as allowing us to quickly identify the location of outages.

Smart meter disposal and electricity rates

Smart meters have a minimum life expectancy of 20 years. Like any electronic equipment, some of those meters may need to be replaced over time. The majority of smart meters that have to be removed from service are being sent back to the manufacturer, Itron, for warranty repair. The small percentage not covered by warranty is sent to recycling centers – lithium batteries to either Product Care http://www.productcare.org/ or Nu-Life http://www.nulife-ind.com/ and meter covers to West Coast Plastic Recyclers http://www.westcoastplasticrecycling.com/#/Plastic-Recycling/

Smart meters by themselves do not reduce ‘energy rates’ but are part of an integrated program that has already paid for itself through reduced theft of electricity (by more than 80 per cent) and operational efficiencies which has resulted in energy savings. BC Hydro has demonstrated that because of the benefits of the program, smart meters will help keep customer rates lower than they would have been had they not invested in the program.

If you have any questions regarding this email, please contact us at 1 866 355-6766.

Sincerely,

Pattie Fromyhr
BC Hydro Customer Relations

= = =

From: Sherry Ridout
Sent: January 11, 2017
To: Reimer, Greg; ‘Laurel Ross’
Cc: adrian.dix.mla@leg.bc.ca; Andrew.weaver.mla@leg.bc.ca; elizabeth.may@parl.gc.ca

Subject: Lithium Batteries in Smart Meters

Dear Mr. Reimer,

Having read a study before Christmas (see below) regarding Smart Meters increasing greenhouse gases I have a few questions regarding BC Hydro’s disposal policy for the lithium batteries and plastic casings that will be replaced more frequently than the analog meters.  I also wonder if the environmental disposal costs have been factored into your business case? The analogs that have been removed and destroyed were made of glass and metal; materials that were at least recyclable.

I understand that there are established legal recycle rules for disposing of lithium  batteries  but legislation for disposal of lithium batteries and CFL light bulbs in California  was ignored when it was discovered the centers receiving them had just dumped them in the landfill probably due to costs or lack of ease for recycling. With this in mind could you please provide the entire recycle protocols for smart meters.

Here is the recent joint study by Northwestern’s Kellogg School and University of Chicago’s Booth School that found that smart meters most likely will not lower customer bills or greenhouse gases:

Exelon CEO John Rowe was quoted as saying, “It costs too much, and we’re not sure what good it will do. We have looked at most of the elements of smart grid for 20 years and we have never been able to come up with estimates that make it pay.” Until President Obama provided the incentive with his stimulus funds, the smart meter was not economically feasible. Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan added, “The utilities have shown no evidence of billions of dollars in benefits to consumers from these new meters, but they have shown they know how to profit.” We consumers are paying for the new infrastructure through higher rates. ComEd requested a rate increase to fund improvements to update its technology (i.e. Smart Grid) and an additional increased charge for delivery…

The study even inferred that smart meters could contribute to increased greenhouse gases …

Reinventing energy is not about a smart grid. It is really a two-pronged approach to changing how we create energy and how we use energy. Suppliers need to be encouraged to modernize electricity sources rather than invest in smart grids.

http://www.journal-topics.com/opinion/article_8297652a-bcc0-11e6-af30-fb9bea271a2e.html

Thank you for your time.  I will look forward to a prompt response as will many others concerned with this issue.  

Sherry Ridout

 

Sharon Noble
Director, Coalition to Stop Smart Meters

“Facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored.”
~ Aldous Huxley