Update 2016-05-13 More on cybersecurity

1) Read the first letter. BCUC is following up on BC Hydro’s instructions to installers NOT to install analogs, even though an insider told us there were many left.

2) The bee colonies are collapsing badly with another horrible year. There are many forces on these vital creatures: pesticides, GMOs, RF. Ulrich Warnke has studied the effects of RF and EMF on our pollinators and had found serious ones, such as disruption of their navigational systems. They go out and can’t find their way back. Many hives are found with no dead workers around, just the queen. If it were pesticides alone, you’d think there would be bodies.

http://www.emfacts.com/2007/04/719-statement-from-dr-warnke-on-emf-effects-on-bee-navigation/

https://www.rt.com/viral/342809-bees-massive-colony-collapse/

3) A power company in the USA is offering customers without a smeter a monthly report on ways to save energy.

http://tinyurl.com/zteu8dj

4) The UK government is accused of being lax with security re. $$meters and responds that the data belongs to the utility, not the government. That is supposed to reassure the public.

“A Labour minister has accused the Government of allowing hackers “in through the back door” by rolling out insecure smart energy meters.

Shadow business, innovation and skills minister Chi Onwurah claimed the Government has been complacent about protecting consumers’ data…

“You should be careful not to put fear in to the hearts of people where none should exist.

“The data is protected and the data belongs not to Government, which some people might not unreasonably fear, but to the energy companies.”

https://www.energyvoice.com/other-news/109377/smart-energy-meters-letting-hackers-back-door-labour-minister-says/

5) Dept. of Homeland Security in the USA is poorly prepared for a cyberattack against the electrical grid. If they aren’t prepared, how ill prepared is Canada and BC Hydro / FortisBC?

“In fact, DHS appears ill-prepared to protect the United States from an attack on the power grid that could leave Americans without electricity for weeks, if not months. So says this week’s guest, Peter Vincent Pry, one of the nation’s foremost experts on threats to the grid.”

http://www.offthegridnews.com/radio/dhs-not-prepared-for-a-power-grid-attack/

6) Some big name stars like Lady Gaga and Sheryl Crow have spoken out about the dangers of cell phones, and Gwyneth Paltrow is another. Not that they know more than we do but, for some reason, people listen to them.

http://www.naturalhealth365.com/radiation-wifi-cell-phone-1729.html

Letters:

From: “Complaints BCUC:EX” <Complaints@bcuc.com>
To:
X
Sent:
Thursday, May 12, 2016 11:07:46 AM

Subject: RE: BC Hydro Meter Choice Program

Dear X

Thank you for your email to the BC Utilities Commission regarding your concerns about the availability of analog legacy meters in BC Hydro’s meter inventory.

Commission staff understand that there are currently no legacy meters available in BC Hydro’s inventory. However, given your complaint and others, we are currently reviewing these concerns and we have sent a request to BC Hydro in order to obtain detailed records regarding the availability of legacy meters. I will provide you with an update once I receive more information.

Thank you for contacting the Commission.

Regards,

Patrick Wruck
Customer Relations Analyst
British Columbia Utilities Commission
6th Floor, 900 Howe Street
Vancouver, B.C. V6Z 2N3
Website: www.bcuc.com Email: complaints@bcuc.com
Phone: 604.660.4700 | Fax: 604.660.1102 | Toll Free: 1.800.663.1385

= = =

From: X
Sent:
Wednesday, May 4, 2016 8:57 PM
To:
Wruck, Patrick BCUC:EX <Complaints@bcuc.com>

Subject: BC Hydro Meter Choice Program

Dear Patrick Wruck,

I am a BC Hydro customer that chose to keep their analog meter when the BC Hydro Meter Choice Program was introduced. A few weeks ago I received a letter informing me that I would have to accept a non-transmitting digital meter or a smart meter as my analog meter will expire soon.

Last week, I spoke with a BC Hydro installer who told me that BC Hydro has “forbidden” its installers to replace analog meters with another analog meter if one was available. I have been in contact with another BC Hydro customer who spoke with a different BC Hydro installer a couple weeks ago and was told there were still quite a few analog meters left. If it is true that there are still analog meters available, then I understand that BC Hydro is breaking the Tariff, which is a law (i.e. the Meter Choice section of the Tariff says that so long as there are analogs available, people will be able to receive them).

I am asking if you would please investigate BC Hydro’s records on this issue for me (and other customers in the same situation).

Your help would be very much appreciated!

Sincerely,
X

___________________________________________________________________________

Please read from the bottom up.

From: Sharon Noble
Sent:
May 12, 2016 10:33 PM
To:
‘Complaints BCUC:EX’ <Complaints@bcuc.com>
Cc:
commission.secretary@bcuc.com
Subject: RE: Unreasonable harassment by BC Hydro

Dear Mr. Wruck,

Thank you for your email.

Your understanding is the same as mine, that these threats of disconnection are to be made only when someone has obstructed access, but in the cases I referred to you no prior letter had been received. And this is not a one off situation. I hear from people every day who have received this letter. I will advise these people to file an official complaint, and hope that you will prevent their power from being disconnected during this time.

Mr. Wruck, BC Hydro is acting in a manner that is not conducive to a good business relationship. If Hydro expects its customers to work with them on this uncomfortable issue, they should be willing to do the same. They aren’t. They are heavy handed, especially the representatives on the phone who are anonymous and have few people skills.

Many people have health problems, such as cancer, cardiac conditions that require pacemakers, or Parkinson’s for which they have deep brain implants. Any wireless device can cause these people difficulties as can electromagnetic fields (EMF). Why is it that they cannot be allowed to purchase new analogs in the US (despite what Hydro tells people, they are still available. Many states are allowing people to keep analogs permanently.), have Measurement Canada certify them, and have Hydro install them? There is no difference in the amount of work involved with reading an analog or a smart meter with the transmitter turned off. But a smart meter even with the transmitter turned off creates EMF on the home wiring. This is a reasonable request but one that Hydro will not consider.

As you know, there are realistic concerns about the meters being a fire hazard. If people are willing to pay the highest legacy fee in Canada to keep an analog, why not let them? I know you can do nothing about this, but I hope this allows you to understand the fear and frustration that people are feeling. BC Hydro’s harassment and intimidation does nothing to alleviate it.

Regards,
Sharon Noble

= = =

From: Complaints BCUC:EX <Complaints@bcuc.com>
Sent: May 12, 2016 11:52 AM
To: Sharon Noble
Subject: RE: Unreasonable harassment by BC Hydro

Dear Ms. Noble,

Thank you for your email to the BC Utilities Commission regarding your concerns about a letter from BC Hydro that was recently sent to a Meter Choices Program customer. The Commission Secretary provided your email to me so that I could provide you with a response.

Commission staff reviewed the letter and note that the letter is simply advising the customer that a reconnection fee of up to $700 may be charged if access is denied and the service is disconnected. As you are aware, the current reconnection fees have been approved on an interim basis. Given that these fees are still under review in the BC Hydro 2015 Rate Design proceeding, there is no further information I can provide at this time.

If the customer who received this letter is concerned about not receiving any notice prior to this letter being sent, that customer may file a complaint and Commission staff may investigate further. However, it is my understanding that the enclosed letter is only being sent to customers who have previously obstructed access to BC Hydro’s metering equipment.

Please also note, the Commission does not review or approve the correspondence sent by BC Hydro. This is an internal business matter and the Commission does not have jurisdiction to dictate the wording of BC Hydro’s correspondence to its customers. Given that the letter contains factual information about the potential for a $700 reconnection charge, there is no reason to investigate your general concern about the letter. Of course, the individual that received the letter is welcome to file a complaint with the Commission and we will proceed through the complaints process.

I trust this information is helpful. Thank you again for contacting the Commission.

Regards,

Patrick Wruck
Customer Relations Analyst
British Columbia Utilities Commission
6th Floor, 900 Howe Street
Vancouver, B.C. V6Z 2N3Website: www.bcuc.com Email: complaints@bcuc.com
Phone: 604.660.4700 | Fax: 604.660.1102 | Toll Free: 1.800.663.1385

= = =

From: Sharon Noble
Sent: Thursday, May 5, 2016 8:58 PM
To: Commission Secretary BCUC:EX <commission.secretary@bcuc.com>
Cc: Minister, MEM MEM:EX <bill.bennett.mla@leg.bc.ca>; Opposition Leader John Horgan <oppositionleader@leg.bc.ca>; Dix.MLA, Adrian LASS:EX <adrian.dix.mla@leg.bc.ca>; rshaw@postmedia.com

Subject: Unreasonable harassment by BC Hydro

Dear Secretary Hamilton, et al.

If you recall, I raised concerns about BC Hydro’s request to increase reconnection fees to as much $700 because I feared this would be used against those of us in the Meter Choice program.

My concerns are warranted as per the attached letter that I received from someone yesterday, May 4. This fee is being used as a hammer with which customers are being threatened, intimidated and harassed.

BC Hydro Letter

In the letter BC Hydro states that it had sent an earlier letter explaining that “meter maintenance” was needed and that the recipient should contact Mr. Sanders to confirm access. A threat of disconnection was made if the person did not call BC Hydro immediately to confirm access.

The recipient never received a letter prior to this one, and was shaken to be threatened in this manner, followed by the threat of a $700 reconnection fee. Never has he refused access so why this treatment?

I believe this is the very reason BC Hydro asked for (and received) approval to charge this outlandish amount for reconnection of service. It is unconscionable for a company to treat its customers in this way. Not only is BC Hydro misleading by asserting it has made previous attempts to contact the individual, but it is holding the threat of loss of power over people who have been paying the extremely high legacy fees for nearly 3 years.

Two other customers who received the same letter (as the first and only letter) have pacemakers and have been told by their doctors to avoid having smart meters. When these people have advised BC Hydro of their physicians’ warnings, the BC Hydro representatives have rudely told them that it doesn’t matter, they WILL receive smart meters or power will be cut.

Ms. Hamilton, more and more it is apparent that BC Hydro has no respect for its customer and neither does it have any concerns about their well-being. For this reason, many people are preparing to go off grid.

This is not the first time complaints have been lodged with the BCUC about BC Hydro’s rude and irresponsible treatment of the public. I hope you will advise Mr. Sanders and those responsible that this is unacceptable in British Columbia. I am in contact with various groups across North America and I have found no other utility that treats its customers this way. Accommodations have been made, options are being offered, and the grid is working just fine.

BC Hydro is shameful. I realize that the Clean Energy Act has tied your hands with regard to the smart meter program itself, but certainly the BCUC has authority over the manner in which Hydro is carrying out its business. I ask that you use it.

Regards,
Sharon Noble

 

Sharon Noble
Director, Coalition to Stop Smart Meters

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