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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Hundreds of Thousands of Smart Meter Billing Issues in the U.K.

Error with SM ClipartAs it turns out, “smart meters” are not very smart.  Horror stories are beginning to emerge in the U.K. where customers are being left in “billing limbo.”

As reported today at the Daily Mail:

Hundreds of thousands of households left in billing limbo by clever gadgets” …

  • Customer given an 11-month wait to fix faulty smart meter
  • Then smart meter company cancelled three days before appointment
  • Wild swings in energy usage measured by smart meters and in-home displays
  • Energy giants left with backlog of complaints from updating systems

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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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Court Appeal to Maine Regulator’s Decision that Smart Meters Are ‘Safe Enough’

Court GavelYesterday, May 12th, 2015, anti-smart meter activists in Maine filed an appeal to a December Public Utility Commission decision with the Maine Supreme Judicial Court.

In December 2014, the Maine Public Utility Commission (PUC) issued a decision concluding that smart meters were ‘safe enough’ for the public reflecting a lower standard than the Court or law allows.

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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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Michigan Court Orders Justification of Smart Meter Refusal Fees

Court GavelLast week a Michigan Court of Appeals ruled that key issues remain regarding Consumers Energy Company being able to charge customers a fee for refusing to allow installation of smart meters on their homes.  The Court ordered that the Michigan Public Service Commission (PSC) “conduct a contested case hearing on this significant issue.”

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Smart Cities: Called “Smart” and Condemning Others as Stupid

Rio Smart City Control Centerby K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

A few days ago, I wrote an article that painted a scenario where the continued pursuit of so-called “smart cities,” due to irresolvable cyber security threats, would likely lead to civilization threatening events.  To be clear, I do view a city where “everything is wirelessly connected to everything else” as a recipe for disaster.

Since posting that article, I became aware of a presentation by professor and architect Rem Koolhaas in September 2014 where he outlined his thoughts on “smart cities.”  Of note is that in 2008, Rem Koolhaas was named by Time as one of the most 100 influential people on the planet Earth.

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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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Cyber Hackers Can Now “Harm Human Life” Through Smart Meters

Cyber Attack Threat..AUtilities and the smart grid industry tout only the hypothetical benefits of smart meters, never seriously discussing the tremendous risks and costs to our society.  On the subject of cyber security, they hardly discuss it at all.  For example, the industry group, so-called  “Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative,” addresses the cyber security issue with basic uninformative “happy talk” as follows:

“The performance of security measures are tested and reviewed regularly to guard against unauthorized access to systems.  Moreover, utility companies are working with federal agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Energy, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), to strengthen privacy and security standards to provide even more safeguards for consumer protection.” [1]

The above propaganda type language reveals nothing of the catastrophic risks involved with the deployment of smart meters and smart grid systems.  Although you won’t receive meaningful cyber threat risk-related information from the smart grid industry, it is not hard to find elsewhere.  Continue reading

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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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Increased Risk of Smart Meter Fires Remains despite Receiving ‘Passing Grade’ for Nevada Test Samples

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions 

Reno Smart Meter Fire DamageUnderwriters Laboratories (UL) last week gave a passing grade for a sample of 72 smart meters that were previously provided by the utility company NV Energy for product testing.

Yesterday, the Associated Press ran with a story reporting “NV Energy is using safe smart meters,” based upon the UL testing results.  This leap from compliant test sample results to “safe smart meters” is nonsensical.

As I stated last year in a comprehensive article:  Smart Meters Increase the Risk of Fires!

Nothing has changedFor a number of reasons, smart meters inherently increase the risk of fires to homes as compared to analog metersContinue reading

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Customer Calls, Not Smart Meters, Still Primary Source of Power Outage Notification for Utilities

The BRIDGE Energy Group has announced the results of its 2015 utility industry survey on outage and restoration management.  Despite the fact that 81% of surveyed utilities claim to have Smart Meters deployed, only 16% of these utilities use their smart meters as the primary source of power failure alerts on blue sky days and 12% during storms.

Outage Reports by Source

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Smart Cities: Wide Open to Cyber Attacks, Civilization Threatening Events and other Unintended Consequences

by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions

Key Point (Quotation):

Smart Cities Book CoverThe more technology a city uses, the more vulnerable to cyber attacks it is, so the smartest cities have the highest risks.” [1]

Key Point (Quotation):

If the history of city building in the last century tells us anything, it is that the unintended consequences of new technologies often dwarf their intended design.” [2]

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