Segment #1 – BCUC Draft Response

RESPONSE TO BCUC’s Staff Report on Smart Meter Fire Safety Concerns

KEY:  Highlighted text is from Sharon Noble  Non-highlighted text is the draft report as written by BCUC staff.

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Segment #1

Below is the covering letter I sent with my comments to BCUC on March 4.  Here are the major points that my response will cover. The report and response is 38 pages long, and I will be providing it in segments for ease of reading and absorbing. I hope you will share with friends, neighbours, your MLA, the media, and that you will consider responding to BCUC. They have yet to provide the final report and, more important, they continue to fail to do their job which is to protect us.

My summary of the draft is that the system is fraught with problems:

– There is no overall authority responsible to ensure that information is accurate and complete, and is gathered and reported consistently in a timely manner.

– There are regulations that are illogical and inadequate, e.g. allowing a utility’s electrical equipment that is put on homes to be exempted from the BC Electrical Standards Act.

– Regulations that do pertain to BC Hydro and its equipment are not being enforced, e.g. the removal of smart meters from the fire scene before the Fire Inspector has been able to complete his investigation.

– There is absolutely no basis for the conclusion that there have been no fires or serious incidents involving smart meters. Rather, there is evidence to the contrary which, inexplicably, is being disregarded.

Sharon Noble

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BCUC

March 4, 2016

Dear Mr. Wruck,

Re: Meter Safety Jurisdiction Draft Report BCUC

I would like to thank the BCUC for considering my complaint and for allowing me the opportunity to comment on this draft report.

Because of the importance of this and with your agreement, I have asked the advice of  3 experts on the technical aspects. My comments are based on information relating to more than 100 incidents that I have gathered over the last 2-3 years from several government agencies including the Fire Commissioner’s office, the Ministry of Justice and Attorney General (who maintains information that is supplementary to the Fire Report submitted by the local fire authorities), BC Hydro, local fire authorities, the BC Safety Authority and others. Because this information has been requested on more or less a random basis, I believe the problems I identify in the draft demonstrate the need for a serious review of the various reporting systems that are maintained to ensure the safety of the BC public in general.

This draft report is certainly a mixed bag. It encompasses admissions that are warranted – along with conclusions that are not. The admissions are long in coming. The conclusions are based on no evidence at all or, at times, on evidence that is weak, controversial or even contradictory.

What follows is a detailed analysis of this draft report in which the points above will be developed, perhaps more than was anticipated. There will be no reliance on evidence that is faith-based.

Much of the evidence that BCUC has relied on in this draft report comes from Len Garis’s fire report. That is an unfortunate dependence. Garis’s report suffers from a lack of objectivity as well as incomplete and poorly researched data, and arrives at conclusions based on insufficient and questionable evidence. The BCUC must be aware of the severe limitations of this study and yet, by depending on it, gives it credence it obviously doesn’t deserve. The inadequacies of the Garis report will be made manifest in my comments.

A significant failing that is obvious in the BCUC draft report is the absence of a competent independent authority determining whether the smart meters placed on the walls of our homes are safe. That shortcoming has been addressed by comments

on the significant design flaws and other problems inherent in the digital (electronic) meters (as confirmed by independent experts)  that are being installed under the BC Hydro Smart Meter Program.

As for the rest, comments, some quite detailed, are inserted into the text of the draft report to ensure that claims and counterclaims are easily distinguished and contrasted.

My summary of the draft is that the system is fraught with problems:

– There is no overall authority responsible to ensure that information is accurate and complete, and is gathered and reported consistently in a timely manner.

– There are regulations that are illogical and inadequate, e.g. allowing a utility’s electrical equipment that is put on homes to be exempted from the BC Electrical Standards Act.

– Regulations that do pertain to BC Hydro and its equipment are not being enforced, e.g. the removal of smart meters from the fire scene before the fire inspector has been able to complete his investigation.

– There is absolutely no basis for the conclusion that there have been no fires or serious incidents involving smart meters. Rather there is evidence to the contrary which, inexplicably, is being disregarded.

I submit these comments, many of which are premised on information that I have circulated widely over the last 2-3 years, and look forward to being able to share the completed document with the many thousands of members of the Coalition.

Sincerely,
Sharon Noble