Don’t Waste Money on Energy Efficiency Upgrades Says New Study

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

A new study finds that even when accounting for the broader societal benefits of energy efficiency investments, the costs still substantially outweigh the benefits. [1][2]

Green Home and Saving Environment with SMFrom the abstract of the study:

“Conventional wisdom suggests that energy efficiency (EE) policies are beneficial because they induce investments that pay for themselves and lead to emissions reductions.  However, this belief is primarily based on projections from engineering models.”

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UK’s Controversial Smart Meter Scheme Loses Program Chair as the Ship Continues to Sink

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

Red Lights Mean Stop and ThinkAccording to SmartEnergy GB:  “Smart meters will help us get Gaz & Leccy under control.”

Unfortunately, SmartEnergy GB, the organization responsible for promoting the rollout of smart meters in Great Britain has lost its chairperson just weeks after she raised questions on how the government-led program was being run.

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NLRB Case Files and Judge’s Decision Confirm Smart Meter Fires

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

Smart Meter Fire File Photo NVIn November 2014, an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) for the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) issued a decision for a case involving Oncor Electric Delivery Company, L.L.C. of Dallas, Texas.

This case involves an Oncor employee who was discharged (including layoff and refusal to hire) for allegedly making untruthful remarks about smart meters causing fires or damage to customers’ homes.

The ALJ decision concluded that Oncor had engaged in unfair labor practices.  Oncor was ordered to reinstate the discharged employee and “make him whole for any loss of earnings and other benefits that he suffered as a result of his unlawful discharge.”  Oncor is currently in the process of appealing the ALJ decision.

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Utility Industry Aware of Safety and Accuracy Issues with Digital Meters for Years

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

EPRI White PaperIn reviewing an electric utility industry document from 2010, it is quite clear that the industry knew of safety and accuracy issues with smart meters before they were ever manufactured and deployed.  The title of the document is “Accuracy of Digital Electricity Meters,” published by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI).

What is so incredible about the document is how strongly it was acknowledged that traditional analog meters were “an amazing of piece of engineering work.”

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FCC: ‘Prime Example of Institutional Corruption’

Captured AgencyIn a new publication just released from Harvard University, Norm Alster examines how the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is dominated by the industries it presumably regulates.  What follows are selected quotations which are organized in a way to effectively create a synopsis version of the original 59-page document. [1]

“Consumer safety, health, and privacy, along with consumer wallets, have all been overlooked, sacrificed, or raided due to unchecked industry influence.” [2]

“The Federal Communications Commission sits at the heart of a bipartisan Washington web of institutional corruption that has for many years championed corporate interests, typically at public expense.  Echoing industry, the FCC has ignored the growing evidence that wireless technologies pose serious health risks.” [3]

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U.S. Power Grid Being Hit With ‘Increasing’ Hacking Attacks as Smart Meter Deployments Continue

Cyber Attack Threat..AMajor attacks on the U.S. power grid system are “increasing,” with hackers stepping up efforts to penetrate critical systems and to implant malicious software that could compromise the power grid and result in a nationwide crisis.  This is according to a new report from the Congressional Research Service (CRS).

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Fighting Smart Meters Requires More Effective Engagement with Politicians

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

Fighting Smart Meters with PoliticiansThis article outlines a sometimes overlooked strategy for fighting the forced installation of smart utility meters and which would help reestablish the boundaries of governments and corporations, specifically with regard to the intrusiveness of smart grid technology and its ability to “get inside the home.”  It is possible that the approach outlined in this article may offer a more effective route to ultimate victory as compared to other options currently be utilized by many concerned consumers and activists.

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Privacy is a ‘Cause for Concern’ with Smart Meters

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

Big Data Privacy IssuesWGN News in Chicago recently did a news story about smart meters [1].  The broadcast was primarily focused on the biased theme of “What’s Slowing the Savings on Smart Meters?”  This makes the naïve presumption that there are savings to eventually be gained with smart meters as customers pay additional dollars each month to have them installed.

However, there was some truth in the story that was somewhat glossed over on the subject of privacy.  In an interview with a CEO of an energy start-up company, Mark Handy stated:

The idea that you are now giving access to a granular amount of data about your consumption of energy and potentially about your activities is a cause for most people to be concerned.”

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Safety Authority Rules Ontario Smart Meter Explosion and ‘Ball of Fire’ Not Caused by Smart Meter

Collingwood Smart Meter FireIn a press release on June 10th, Ontario’s Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) announced that it has ruled out the smart meter as the source of an explosion and fire that occurred on the exterior of a Collingwood house on Sunday, May 31, 2015.

Without much additional information, the ESA states:

“It is clear from the pattern of the fire and damage to equipment that the fire originated outside the electrical meter,” and that a “review continues to try to determine source” of the fire.

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Smart Meters May Not Be Part of New York’s Electric Grid Vision

Gallagher PhotoAt this website we have many times discussed how Smart Meters Don’t Make a Smart or Wise Grid.  We have also highlighted the fact that Northeast Utilities in a submittal filed with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities in 2014 stated that “There is no rational basis for …  mandated implementation of [smart meters]” and that “many customers have a deep aversion to technology that links them to the ‘grid’ in a way that they perceive as an invasion of their privacy and/or detrimental to their health.”

Today there is new hope that more states are beginning to recognize that Smart Meters Are Not the Silver Bullet Many Seem to Think.  On May 28th, there was an article posted at the website for the Association for Demand Response & Smart Grid.  This article reports that AMI (or smart meters) may not be part of New York’s Reforming the Energy Vision (REV) program: Continue reading

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Doublespeak: Chicago Suburb Claims Smart Water Meters Don’t Overcharge. “They Misrecord.”

SmartMeter for Water ImageAn extensive investigative report was published this week by the Chicago Tribune dealing with so-called ‘smart’ water meters.  The report deals primarily with accuracy and billing problems for the Chicago suburb of Tinley Park but also raises concerns as other utilities transition towards meters that measure and record quantities electronically.

One of Chicago’s largest suburbs, Tinley Park, uses a type of smart water meter that it knows  regularly overcharges residents — sometimes by hundreds of dollars while failing to give the public accurate information about the scope of the problem.

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Regional District in BC Canada Calls for Immediate Rollback of Smart Meters

RDOS MapAs reported today by CBC/Radio-Canada, the Regional District of Okanagan-Similkameen (RDOS) is calling for an “immediate cessation” of smart meter installations and to “remove those meters already installed.”

The district’s board chair, Mark Pendergraft, said a recent report from 200 scientists about radiation from wireless devices, including smart meters, has convinced the board that they are a danger.

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Smart Meters Don’t Make a Smart or Wise Grid

Smart Meter Not So SmartThere has recently been increased recognition that smart meters are “not so smart.”  People are finally catching on everywhere to the clever use of “smart” semantics that was more hype and propaganda than reality.  Just within the past couple of days there have been two insightful articles/ news stories that will be summarized below.

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Utilities ‘Very Excited’ about Mining Smart Meter Data and Invading Your Privacy

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

Big Brother Graphic with SMLast week at a conference, Dr. Stephen Pratt, Chief Technical Officer for CenterPoint Energy, stated the following during an interview:

“We have an entire organization that’s gotten behind data as an asset

We get a lot of data.  We do 221,000,000 meter reads a day …

We can do nothing with that data, or we can mine that data and use what we find from mining that data …

That is very exciting to me today.”

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“Smart Meters Are Not the Silver Bullet Many Seem to Think”

No Silver BulletThe latest issue of Metering & Smart Energy International devoted two pages to utility industry specialists answering “The BIG Question:  Are smart meters living up to their promise?”

The featured story was prompted by the Washington Post report in January that while more than 50 million smart meters were deployed across the United States, the technology itself is failing to live up to the high hopes that proponents had advertised.

Somewhat surprisingly for a “metering” and “smart energy” magazine, the majority of responses were negative towards smart meters having any residential consumer benefits.  Continue reading

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Indiana Regulators Reject Smart Meters for Duke Energy

Smart Meter DeniedINDIANAPOLIS – State regulators have rejected a proposal from Duke Energy to raise customers’ rates.  The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission said Friday in a ruling that the company didn’t provide enough details for its $1.9 billion, seven-year plan.

The proposal would have put Duke Energy’s Indiana customers on smart grid technology and have installed privacy invading digital smart meters in every home, tracking detailed energy consumption and transmitting that data using potentially harmful radiofrequency emissions.

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Scientists Submit Appeal for Protection from EMF Exposures and Wireless Technologies

Source:  EMFscientist.org

emfscientist_logoNew York, NY, May 11, 2015.  Today 190 scientists from 39 nations submitted an appeal to the United Nations, UN member states and the World Health Organization (WHO) requesting they adopt more protective exposure guidelines for electromagnetic fields (EMF) and wireless technology in the face of increasing evidence of risk.  These exposures are a rapidly growing form of environmental pollution worldwide.

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Consumer Organizations’ Grave Concerns on Smart Meters Ignored

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

Introduction

In June 2011, a resolution regarding smart meters was issued by the Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD).  The Transatlantic Consumer Dialogue (TACD) is a forum of US and EU consumer organizations which develops and agrees on joint consumer policy recommendations to the US government and European Union to promote the consumer interest in EU and US policy making.

Due to “grave concerns” with smart meters, here is the formal guidance that was provided to the US government and utility operators as part of the TACD resolution:  “Forbid utilities from installing smart meters without consumers’ informed consent.”

Why was this crucial guidance ignored?  Was it a matter of willful ignorance (or blindness) or willful negligence?

TACD Logo with Added SM

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Fort Collins, Colorado Provides Consumer Choice on Smart Meter Privacy Invasions

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

Invasion of Privacy with SMUtility smart meters invade consumer privacy.  The degree of privacy invasion is directly proportional to the granularity and nature of the data collected by the meters.

Most utilities in the United States and Canada appear to be oblivious to these privacy invasions or intentionally deceive the consumers by telling them just the opposite, i.e., that smart meters do not affect personal privacy.  However, during the development of its smart meter program, one major municipal utility did recognize the possible privacy implications of collecting granular energy usage data.

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We Have a “Totally Vulnerable” Electric Grid Infrastructure

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

Cyber Security Clipart with Smarrt MeterCybersecurity.  Critical, critical issue.  Totally unfunded.  Totally vulnerable grid infrastructure.  Somebody’s going to bring it down.  And then it will get funded.”

Those were the words yesterday of Thomas Siebel at the Energy Thought Summit (ETS) held in Austin, Texas.  Mr. Siebel is the CEO for C3 Energy, a smart grid analytics software company and the founder of Siebel Systems, which was acquired by Oracle in January 2006.

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Smart Meters Spiral Out of Control and “Livin’ on a Prayer”

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

Smart Meters Out of ControlThis past week has been one of the worst ever for “smart meters” in terms of critical news reporting and negative revelations about these devices.  Clearly, things are quickly spiraling out of control worldwide in terms of anybody believing that the smart meters are anything more than a giant and costly albatross hanging around the necks of consumers.

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RF Fields Promote Tumors Below Human Exposure Limits

The results are “worrying,” say the authors of a newly published study (in press article) [1] dealing with the exposure of mice to radiofrequency (RF) radiation fields.

According to Professor Alexander Lerchl, who conducted the new investigative study together with his colleagues from Jacobs University and also the University of Wuppertal in Germany, Our results show that electromagnetic fields obviously enhance the growth of tumors.”

Graphical Abstract for RF Article

Article/ Study Highlights (as summarized by the authors)

  • Tumor-promoting effects of RF-EMF exposed mice have been [previously] reported in 2010.
  • We have replicated the study with higher numbers of mice per group.
  • We could fully confirm the previous results, thus the effects are reproducible.
  • Apparently, no clear dose-response relationship is evident.
  • We hypothesize that metabolic changes are responsible for the effects observed.

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How Smart Water Meters Invade Privacy

Most of the focus in the media has been on smart electric meters and the many risks that these devices pose for customers and their families.  Another risk relates to privacy invasions associated with smart water meters.  A growing number of utilities are installing these devices.

Smart Water Meter System.RF1

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Smart Meter Rollout a Waste of Money Says New Study

Waste of MoneySmart meters have been advertised as a means to “empower” consumers with information that will somehow save customers money despite the fact that the deployment of the meters themselves cost billions and billions of dollars.

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‘Smart’ Meters Have Failed and Were a Dumb Investment

Failed Smart Meter ProgamHaving reached the end of 2014, there is no doubt it has been a devastating year for utility smart meters and smart grid advocates.  Whether all utility executives yet realize it or not, smart meters have failed.  They have failed miserably to the deliver the promised benefits.  We are left with nothing but the increased costs and risks associated with boondoggle projects reminiscent of pork barrel spending bills approved in the middle of the night by a Congress wanting to get home for the Christmas holidays.

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Published Article: Symptom Development from Exposure to Wireless Smart Meters

Smart Meter Graphic AAn article was just published in the November/ December 2014  issue of the journal Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine, entitled:

Self-Reporting of Symptom Development from Exposure to Radiofrequency Fields of Wireless Smart Meters in Victoria, Australia: A Case Series,” by Dr. Federica Lamech, MBBS.

No health impact studies were ever performed prior to the deployment of  wireless smart meters.  This new article showing a correlation between the introduction of smart meters and the onset of adverse health outcomes strengthens the need for independent research on the potential health impacts of this technology on the population.

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Illinois Commerce Commission Mistreats Consumers Refusing Smart Meters

Introduction

Unfair ICCThe vehement and persistent opposition to utility “smart” meters has given rise to programs across the nation where customers are allowed to refuse installation of those meters and typically keep their traditional analog meters.  In most cases, a fee is required to be paid by the customer for this “service.”  This service is sometimes called an “opt-out” program.

The primary purpose of this article is to highlight how the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) has perpetrated unequal, unfair, and unjust treatment of citizens in the state of Illinois who choose to refuse installation of smart meters.

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“Why Privacy Matters” by Glenn Greenwald

Greenwald PhotoJournalist Glenn Greenwald  has broken many stories on the  global surveillance being conducted by the NSA and GCHQ.  As one of the first reporters to see Edward Snowden’s files, he faced personal repercussions for his professional work — yet continues to speak publicly about mass surveillance.  In this searing talk, viewable below, Greenwald makes the case for why you need to care about privacy, even if you’re “not doing anything you need to hide.”

The presentation by Glenn Greenwald is particularly important to remind us on “why privacy matters” in a world threatened by more and more intrusive monitoring of our activities, whether it be from recording of telephone calls, tracking of Internet activity, surveillance drones, or utility smart meters.

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Ralph Nader’s Viewpoint on Smart Meters: A “Step Toward Technological Despotism”

Nader PhotoWith a career as a strong consumer advocate, Ralph Nader’s views on selected issues can many times bridge the gaps between the major political parties.  Such is the case on so-called “smart” meters.

This article highlights a portion of a recent program on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour.  The program aired on Saturday, September 27, 2014, on KPFK in California.  About 15 minutes were devoted to the issue of “smart” meters, focusing primarily on the aspect of invasion of privacy.

What follows are selected quotes from Ralph Nader on the topic of utility smart meters, complete with two (2) audio files.  One 4-minute audio focuses primarily on the statements by Ralph Nader himself as a part of the radio program.  The second audio provides the entire 15-minute smart meter segment broadcast on the Ralph Nader Radio Hour.

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“Microwaves, Science and Lies” Documentary Reveals a Product Defense Strategy

Introduction to the Documentary Film

Waves DVD Jacket. Front“When business leads research, can we still trust science?”

For the past ten years worldwide, questioning on the safety of mobile phone antennas has been increasing.  Numerous scientific studies have revealed the adverse effects of electro- magnetic waves on health.  Yet, most health agencies, industry representatives, and a portion the scientific community claim that current health standards adequately protect the public.

Earlier this year journalist Nancy Meritens  and film director Jean Hèches completed their documentary Ondes, Science et Manigances [or Microwaves, Science and Lies], that demonstrates how the telecommunications industry creates doubt about harmful radiofrequency waves through the manipulation of science.

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U.S. Department of Interior Declares FCC Exposure Standards “Out of Date and Inapplicable”

The U. S. Department of Interior (DOI) has declared that exposure standards used by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) are “out of date and inapplicable today.”

Cell Tower ClipartAfter reading the information provided in this blog article, maybe we can start a campaign to have some personnel transferred from the Department of Interior to the FCC.  The people at the DOI seem to have a better grasp on the hazards of radiofrequency (RF) radiation and might be more inclined to take measures to protect humans as well as fauna and flora.

What follows are excerpts from a letter dated February 7, 2014, from the United States Department of the Interior and addressed to the National Telecommunications and Information Administration of the United States Department of Commerce.  This letter highlights the Interior Department’s concern that cell tower RF radiation emissions have had negative impacts on the health of migratory birds, their offspring, and other wildlife species.

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The Smart Meter Canard

The Promise of the Smart Grid vs. the Smart Meter Canard …

As stated by Timothy Schoechle, Ph.D. in a document released in late 2012:

Getting SmarterThe smart meter is a canard — story or a hoax based on specious and grandiose claims about energy benefits ostensibly derived from the promise of ‘two-way’ communication with the customer.  … These energy benefits have not been delivered, or have been only minimally delivered by the meter networks.”

The meter has come to symbolize a ‘bait-and-switch’ situation, mainly to the benefit the utility industry and its vendors as well as to politicians and bureaucrats.  In their present form, smart meters offer few or no benefits to consumers, but pose significant risks and costs to them and to society.”

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Dr. Karl Maret Discusses Smart Meter Potential Health Effects

Sources of RF RadiationOn January 28, 2014, Dr. Karl Maret gave a presentation at the Commonwealth Club in San Francisco, California on the potential biological and adverse health effects from the radiofrequency radiation emitted by “smart meters” and other wireless devices.

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Major U.S. Utility Says “No Rational Basis” for Mandating Smart Meters

NU Position on Smart MetersNortheast Utilities (NU) operates New England’s largest utility system serving more than 3.6 million electric and natural gas customers in Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire.

In a written submittal  filed with the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities, Northeast Utilities was highly critical of a proposed state plan that would require utilization of “advanced metering” or smart meters within the state of Massachusetts as part of an electrical grid modernization plan.  In fact, the comments are quite remarkable in that they appear to reflect reality without undue political spin or bias.  Let us hope that other utilities, public utility commissions, and politicians everywhere can soon come to similar unbiased conclusions that are based upon economic realities and reflect consumers’ and societal best interests.

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Radiofrequency (RF) Fields: Possibly, Probably, or Definitely Carcinogenic — The Evidence Mounts Toward the Latter.

BrainThe International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) generally categorizes agents (e.g., substances or radiation) into four (4) categories in terms of cancer causing ability:

  • Group 1:        Carcinogenic to humans.
  • Group 2A:     Probably carcinogenic to humans.
  • Group 2B:     Possibly carcinogenic to humans.
  • Group 3:        Not classifiable as to carcinogenicity in humans.

This article will demonstrate in a step by step fashion that evidence is mounting for RF radiation being considered definitely carcinogenic.  In the paragraphs that follow, information is presented showing how research data has accumulated over the past couple of years showing a progression from Group 2B to Group 2A, and finally to Group 1.  In addition, evidence continues to mount regarding other types of adverse biological effects caused by RF radiation emissions, some of which are summarized in the final section of this article.

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Naperville Smart Meter Lawsuit Due Back in Federal Court

Source: Naperville Community Television (NCTV)

The Naperville Smart Meter Awareness (NSMA) group is in the news again, as a lawsuit they filed is due back in court this July.

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A Critical Review of the ComEd Radiofrequency ‘Fact Sheet’

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

ComEd GE Smart Meter ImageI was recently asked to respond to a question posed by a ComEd customer regarding the technical content of a ComEd “Radio Frequency Fact Sheet” on smart meters. [1]  Upon review and without taking a strong position either way on the degree to which smart meter emissions may cause adverse health effects, it can easily be demonstrated that the “fact sheet” is nothing more than biased propaganda.

Prominently featured as part of the “fact sheet’ is an “adapted” version of a chart from a report originally published by the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) in 2011. [2]  This chart is intended to compare the radiofrequency (RF) emissions for various wireless technologies.  It is evident that ComEd chose to exaggerate the already biased CCST report by removing the lower range values listed in the CCST chart and only reporting the “maximum” signal strength values as indicated on the y-axis of the chart.

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Update on Last Week’s Ontario Smart Meter Fire: “Next time we might not be so lucky.”

Smart Meter Remnants in CollingwoodLast week we reported on a ‘Ball of Fire’ from a Smart Meter Explosion at a home in Ontario, Canada.  Today the local media ran a story with a photo capturing the remnants of the smart meter for the Collingwood home.

In an Editorial Opinion for the Collinwood Enterprise-Bulletin it was concluded that:  “Next time we might not be so lucky.”

This deduction accounts for the fact that the smart meter explosion resulting in a sustained ‘ball of fire’ happened to be located on the exterior of a brick home (rather than a wooden home) and did not ignite the gas line which was situated a few feet from the smart meter.

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