2017-04-25 Have BC Hydro’s smeters ever been certified safe by any professional Electrical Engineer?

[Airport Scanners – BCUC – Childhood Cancers – FOI BC Hydro 2017-158 Itron Smart Meters Safety Certification – Greg Reimer – Health Effects Chart – IARC – Julie BetsaydaMichael Gagnon – OIPC Office of the Information & Privacy Commissioner for BC – RF Radiation Readings of Various Wireless Sources – Scott Macdonald – WHO | BC]

1)    A major concern we have had with the ITRON smeters is that they have never been certified to be safe by BC Hydro, and seem to escape all regulations that pertain to safety. Over the last 5 years, I have asked for certification documentation and have received nothing. My most recent request was made 6 months ago to BC Hydro, asking what they did during the deliberation process to determine that these would do what ITRON said they would do and do so safely. Late in March, I received a response, which BC Hydro said contained answers to all of my questions. But this was not so.  I wrote to the Information and Privacy Commission [https://www.oipc.bc.ca/about/about-us/], asking that it do its job which is to intervene to get this information to which the public has a right.  My letter, along with all relevant info, is below in “Letters”. 

It is apparent that these meters have not been certified to be safe and, as some Electrical Engineers have told me, they couldn’t be because they are not safe. If they have been certified by any Electrical Engineer, why is it so hard to get that information?

2)    Airport scanners should be avoided at all costs. But a cheap arm sling sounds like a good investment before my next trip. I’ve almost missed flights because I had to wait so long for a “pat down”.

(click on photos to enlarge)

http://www.collective-evolution.com/2017/02/19/los-alamos-study-finds-airport-scanners-can-rip-apart-alter-dna/

3)    An increase of 13% in childhood cancers in a 20 year period which could be due to doctors’ awareness or “external” causes such as infection or environmental pollutants. It is unfortunate that IARC and WHO aren’t doing more to increase awareness of possible “environmental pollutants”.

http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2017/pdfs/pr251_E.pdf

4)    Some readings taken with a very low level RF meter, and most likely by someone not trained in far field readings, so the results may not be accurate but they are indicative.  The chart with the health effects at various levels of exposure is worth keeping as a reference.

http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/RF-Radiation-Readings-of-Various-Wireless-Sources.pdf

Letters:

(Please read from the bottom up.)

From: Dennis and Sharon Noble [mailto:dsnoble@shaw.ca]
Sent: April 24, 2017 11:42 PM
To:info@oipc.bc.ca‘ <info@oipc.bc.ca>
Subject: FOI BC Hydro 201.20.2017-158

Dear Sir or Madam,

Please find below (in reverse order) the various communications between BC Hydro and me in response to my initial request of Oct. 28, 2016 which I repeat for clarity’s sake:

As you know far better than I, electricity is dangerous, and electrical appliances and equipment must be assured to be safe. To that end, BC Hydro would do proper due diligence before contracting with any company for either electrical equipment or service. Because BC Hydro is exempted from having its equipment certified by CSA, it is logical that this “due diligence” would include having a professional electrical engineer test equipment in advance of finalizing the contract to ensure that the equipment would perform as promised and do so safely. I believe that all utility companies have professional engineers who are responsible for ensuring that this testing occurs.

Could you please tell me what procedures were taken by BC Hydro and its electrical engineers as part of the due diligence process prior to contracting with ITRON for the smart meters?

The response I finally received at the end of March (after 5 months) is attached.  (see below as links)  Mr. Macdonald said the following was provided:

1)    A copy of the formal SbD (Safety by Design) report with the names and qualifications of those conducting this study.

2)    The safety related requirements included in the RFP tender documents and the test reports that were provided, in response, by ITRON.

3)    The third party (NEETRAC) report on ITRON’s remote disconnect switch is available via NEETRAC.

As you will see, neither #1 nor #2 is provided. There was no SbD. Neither were names and qualifications of those doing the study provided.

There were no RFP tender documents, safety related requirements, or test reports from ITRON.

So far I have been unable to obtain the report on the remote disconnect switch done by NEETRAC

What is provided appears to be a summary of trouble reports kept by BC Hydro. In fact I personally am familiar with many of the situations they describe, having been contacted by some of the victims of the failures of these meters. Upon review you may ponder, as do I, why an incident involving a dog might be considered relevant.

Why was this sent to me? It provides no insight into the safety of the meters or the measures taken to ensure that the product being purchased was both safe and suitable. And it certainly does not provide the information which I requested.

What I asked for and what I have not received after 5 months is the report on any testing that was done prior to finalizing the contract with ITRON to ensure that these meters are safe, and prove that they are NOT fire hazards as has been reported by independent experts and agencies.

I ask for your assistance in answering my initial question: What procedures were taken by BC Hydro and its electrical engineers as part of the due diligence process prior to contracting with ITRON for the smart meters?

Thank you.

Regards,
Sharon Noble

http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/BCH-2017-158-FinalResponseRecords.pdf

http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/BCHSmartMeteringSystem-RfP-4401-July-19-2010.pdf

http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/BCHSmart-Meter-Testing-p1-6-Jan.18-2017.pdf

http://www.stopsmartmetersbc.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/BCHSmart-Meter-Testing-p7-18-Jan.18-2017.pdf

_________________________________________________________________________

From: “Dennis and Sharon Noble” <dsnoble@shaw.ca>
To: “Scott Macdonald” <Scott.MacDonald@bchydro.com>
Cc: “Betsayda, Julie” <Julie.Betsayda@bchydro.com>, “Complaints BCUC:EX” <Complaints@bcuc.com>
Sent: Friday, March 3, 2017 1:13:28 PM
Subject: BCH 2017-158 Extension.pdf

Dear Mr. MacDonald,

I appreciate your response (you were working late!). Why is this taking so long and when might I get some information?  I would certainly expect that the answer to #1 would be simple and at ready access. Given that it is taking so long, I can only surmise that BC Hydro does not wish to provide an answer.

Regards,
Sharon Noble

_________________________________________________________________________

From: Macdonald, Scott [mailto:Scott.MacDonald@bchydro.com]
Sent: March 2, 2017 6:15 PM
To: Dennis and Sharon Noble <dsnoble@shaw.ca>
Cc: Betsayda, Julie <Julie.Betsayda@bchydro.com>
Subject: RE: BCH 2017-158 Extension.pdf

Ms. Noble, thank you for your note.

Here is the FOI request with which we are currently dealing on your behalf:

= = =

From: Dennis and Sharon Noble [mailto:dsnoble@shaw.ca]
Sent: 2016, November 22 8:58 PM
To: Customer, Relations
Subject: RE: Due diligence

Dear Mr. Gagnon,

Thank you very much for your very prompt response with so much information. I hope I can impose upon you to provide me with the following:

1)   A copy of the formal SbD report with the names and qualifications of those conducting this study;

2)   The safety related requirements included in the RFP tender documents and the test reports that were provided, in response, by ITRON;

3)   The third party (NEETRAC) reports on ITRON’s remote disconnect switch.

Your time and assistance are very much appreciated.

Regards,
Sharon Noble

= = =

We received it on 22 November.  I acknowledge that we should have responded to you by 20 February and I apologize for the lateness of our response.  The response is just going into approval and I am hopeful that we will have it to you during the course of next week.

Thank you.

Scott Macdonald

_________________________________________________________________________

From: “Dennis and Sharon Noble” <dsnoble@shaw.ca>
To: “scott macdonald” <scott.macdonald@bchydro.com>
Cc: “Complaints BCUC:EX” <Complaints@bcuc.com>
Sent: Thursday, March 2, 2017 5:51:04 PM
Subject: BCH 2017-158 Extension.pdf

Dear Mr. MacDonald,

I asked my question on Oct. 28, 2016 and have been waiting ever since to learn if an electrical engineer inspected and determined the smart meter was safe prior to the contract being signed. I do not understand why it should take nearly 4 months to receive an answer.

Could you please, at the minimum, answer this question  — either yes or no?

Thank you.

Regards,
Sharon Noble

_________________________________________________________________________

From: “Dennis and Sharon Noble” <dsnoble@shaw.ca>
To: “scott macdonald” <scott.macdonald@bchydro.com>
Sent: Friday, February 24, 2017 9:29:01 AM
Subject: BCH 2017-158 Extension.pdf

Dear Mr. MacDonald,

Could you please give me the status of the response to this question:  what procedures were taken by BC Hydro and its electrical engineers as part of the due diligence process prior to contracting with ITRON for the smart meters?

Thank you.

Regards,
Sharon Noble

_________________________________________________________________________

BC Hydro Request Number: 201.20.2017-158 Extension

(A copy of the formal SbD report with the names and qualifications of those conducting this study, the safety related requirements included in the RFP tender documents and the test reports that were provided, in response, by ITRON, and the third party (NEETRAC) reports on ITRON’s remote disconnect switch)

16 December 2016

….in accordance with seciton 10(1)(c) of theAct, BC Hydro is extending by 30 days the time period for responding to your request.  The revised due date is 20 February, 2017….

Scott Macdonald

_________________________________________________________________________

BC Hydro Request Number: 201.20.2017-158

24 November 2016

….We will try to respond to your request as quickly as possible.  We will contact you further regarding the processing of your request by 06 January 2017….

Scott Macdonald
Manager, Freedom of Information and Privacy

_________________________________________________________________________

From: Customer, Relations [mailto:customer.relations@bchydro.com]
Sent: November 22, 2016 10:18 AM
To: dsnoble@shaw.ca
Cc: Customer, Relations <customer.relations@bchydro.com>
Subject: RE: Due diligence

Dear Ms. Noble,

Thank you for your email to Mr. Greg Reimer dated October 28, 2016 which has been forwarded to me for review and response. I’ll ensure a copy is forwarded to his office.

Itron was the successful proponent following a comprehensive and detailed procurement process. Safety related requirements were stated in the Request for Proposal (RFP) tender documents. These referenced both ANSI C12 standards plus other additional requirements.

We reviewed test reports provided by Itron, and their competitors during the RFP process. We also reviewed third party (NEETRAC) test reports that were performed on Itron’s and their competitor’s meter service disconnect switches.

Testing and evaluation of all meter types and forms included:

  • Evaluation of test results performed by 3rd party testing agencies;
  • Evaluation of test results performed by the vendor;
  • Evaluation of test results performed by BC Hydro PowerTech Laboratories, including specifically, the service disconnect switch performance under through fault and fault closing conditions and high potential testing.

BC Hydro’s meter provider is required to perform meter compliance engineering testing by certified personnel and to document these tests in full support of ANSI compliance. All compliance testing results are reviewed and signed off by a Professional Engineer. While Itron’s compliance testing reports are not published, they are available from the meter manufacturer upon request

With regard to safety procedures, Itron smart meters are no different from any other new distribution system equipment, or legacy meters, that BC Hydro evaluates prior to installation.

A formal Safety By Design Analysis (SbD) was performed on the Itron smart meters. Safety by Design is an application of engineering principles and standards for designing features into new and existing facilities to ensure that they are inherently safe. The result is safer operability and maintainability.

Prior to acceptance of any new or modified meter, they undergo a physical and electrical “first-article” inspection and testing. As a result, potential safety improvements have been identified and remedial design changes have been implemented by the manufacturer

In addition, BC Hydro was a founding member of the Underwriters Laboratories Canadian (ULC) 2735C meter safety standard committee. This is an initiative, open to participation by meter manufacturers, provincial electrical inspection agencies, electrical utilities and consumer interest groups, to create a meter safety certification standard.

Should you have any further questions, please call us at 1 866 355-6766.

Sincerely,
Michael Gagnon
BC Hydro Customer Relations

_________________________________________________________________________

From: Dennis and Sharon Noble <dsnoble@shaw.ca>
Date: October 28, 2016 at 7:43:12 PM PDT
To: <greg.reimer@bchydro.com>
Subject: Due diligence

Dear Mr. Reimer,

As you know far better than I, electricity is dangerous, and electrical appliances and equipment must be assured to be safe. To that end, BC Hydro would do proper due diligence before contracting with any company for either electrical equipment or service. Because BC Hydro is exempted from having its equipment certified by CSA, it is logical that this “due diligence” would include having a professional electrical engineer test equipment in advance of finalizing the contract to ensure that the equipment would perform as promised and do so safely. I believe that all utility companies have professional engineers who are responsible for ensuring that this testing occurs.

Could you please tell me what procedures were taken by BC Hydro and its electrical engineers as part of the due diligence process prior to contracting with ITRON for the smart meters?

Thank you.

Regards,
Sharon Noble

 

 

Sharon Noble
Director, Coalition to Stop Smart Meters

“The truth is inconvertible. Panic may resent it, ignorance may deride it, malice may distort it. But there it is”       
~ Winston Churchill