Concerned Vermonters Can Now Opt-Out for Free
On Friday the Vermont Legislature provided final approval to language that prohibits Vermont utilities from charging fees to customers who choose not to have a wireless smart meter installed at their home or business. Read This Article
Text below, see official Journal entry here.
§ 2811. SMART METERS; CUSTOMER RIGHTS; REPORTS
(a) Definitions. As used in this section, the following terms shall have the
following meanings: Read This Article
Nearly 73 Million Smart Meters Were Shipped in 2011, But Deployments Slowed in the Fourth Quarter, According to Pike Research
This press release has been reposted from Business Wire.
BOULDER, Colo., Mar 28, 2012 (BUSINESS WIRE) — Overall, 2011 was a huge year for smart grid deployments, as global full-year shipments of smart meters reached nearly 73 million endpoints. Deployments in China drove most of this annual volume (71%), as the Asian juggernaut continued to build out its electrical infrastructure. Meanwhile, utilities in other countries made significant smart meter announcements during 2011. In Canada, Hydro-Quebec chose Landis+Gyr to supply most of its planned 3.75 million smart meters, while BC Hydro selected Itron to provide 1.8 million OpenWay meters over the next two years. In the United States, Consumers Energy announced that it would use SmartSynch’s communications network technology for 1.8 million smart meters to be deployed starting in August 2012. The pace of smart meter and smart grid deployments slowed in the fourth quarter of 2011, however, as some projects wound down and fewer new big projects were announced. According to a new tracker report from Pike Research, overall smart meter shipments in the last three months of the year slipped nearly 8% from 3Q 2011. Global smart meter shipments reached 17.8 million in 4Q 2011, the cleantech market intelligence firm found, with China accounting for 12.3 million of these.
“There’s a combination of good news and caution in these latest numbers,” says senior analyst Neil Strother. “For the full year, shipments of smart meters were strong, and that’s the good news for the industry. However, there is also a cloud in this picture as the volume of new deployment announcements was relatively weak, indicating that perhaps for the first time we’ve arrived at a market peak.”
Several new smart grid deployments announced during 4Q 2011 came from medium-sized and smaller utilities. For example, in the United States, Lafayette Utilities System chose Elster as its vendor for a smart grid deployment to 66,000 of its customers. And in North Carolina, Wake Electric chose a Sensus AMI system for its 35,000 members who span a seven-county area surrounding the state’s capital city of Raleigh. But these are rather small volumes when compared to projects announced in previous quarters of 2011, when millions of endpoints were involved. Meanwhile, in the United Kingdom, British Gas said it was halting further installations of smart meters until the government clarified its smart meter plans.
Pike Research’s report, “Smart Grid Deployment Tracker 4Q11”, updated quarterly, provides detailed analysis of worldwide utility smart grid and smart meter programs including tracking of customer endpoints, metering vendors, communications vendors, and systems integrators. The tracker includes a tactical examination of technologies, deployment timeframes, and vendor selections for each utility deployment, along with vendor market share analysis. An Executive Summary of the report is available for free download on the firm’s website.
Pike Research is a market research and consulting firm that provides in-depth analysis of global clean technology markets. The company’s research methodology combines supply-side industry analysis, end-user primary research and demand assessment, and deep examination of technology trends to provide a comprehensive view of the Smart Energy, Smart Grid, Smart Transportation, Smart Industry, and Smart Buildings sectors. For more information, visit www.pikeresearch.com or call +1-303-997-7609.
SOURCE: Pike Research
Reposted here from the Rutland Herald.
Published: March 26, 2012
My wife and I intend to opt out of the smart meters that Central Vermont Public Service is promoting. Read This Article
Saturday March 17, 2012
As the one who presented the resolution requesting a moratorium on the CVPS’ smart meter rollout in Bennington, I was dismayed to see that citizen interests appear to have no bearing on the company’s plan to install the devices. From my perspective, CVPS has failed to address people’s concerns about privacy, safety and cost. Read This Article
|Reposted from the Calidonian Record
The old technology electric meters, attached to the front of houses, may soon be a thing of the past. Utilities across Vermont are installing “Smart Meters” that will allow electric companies and their customers to more precisely track how a customer uses electricity.
“Smart meters,” coupled with a “Smart Grid” will allow utilities to fine tune electric load, measuring shifts in power demand depending on time of day, weather and customer behavior.
Vermont’s largest utilities, Central Vermont Public Service and Green Mountain Power, are installing RF meters. RF meters are wireless transmitters that use radio frequencies. Radio towers, similar to cell towers, will be built to enable RF meters to transmit signals to a utility. Estimates are 160 RF towers may be required to accommodate smart meters.
Other utilities, including Washington Electric Cooperative and Vermont Electric Cooperative, are also installing smart meters, but the meters used are hardwired meters which transmit data on customer electrical usage. In both cases, the meter replaces the old mechanical one.
The new meters will no longer have to be manually checked by roving readers, who travel from meter to meter recording usage. Instead, the usage information can be transmitted directly to the utility. Utilities will be able to reduce operating costs by eliminating the job of reading meters and the transportation costs.
The new technology will allow consumers to go online and track their energy usage. Customers may change the time of day when certain chores requiring high energy use, such as doing laundry, are done. Customers may one day choose from rate structures that reward changing a customer’s usage patterns by using power during off peak periods. In effect, customers can choose from among voluntary rate structures. In essence, a household could begin using the same tools currently used by heavy electrical users, like manufacturers, who work with utilities to customize power usage and control costs.
Congressional economic recovery act legislation will give Vermont a $69 million matching grant to implement the smart meters, with utilities matching 50 percent of the amount awarded to install the smart meters. Statewide, the utilities will spend approximately $30 million dollars raised through borrowing and repaid through revenues.
Vermont Electric Cooperative, with 35,000 customers statewide in eight counties, including Caledonia, Essex and Orleans, has installed smart meters for all but about 3,000 customers, according to Liz Gamache, manager of Corporate Services for the VEC. Washington Electric Cooperative, with 10,500 customers in 41 towns, is still awaiting approval of the Public Service Board of its installation plan. Avram Pratt, GM of VEC said installation of the new meters should begin in early 2013.
Central Vermont Public Service, Vermont’s largest utility, has begun installing the meters and will work from the Rutland area north. According to Steve Costello, a spokesman for CVPS, the utility should begin installing smart meters in the Kingdom by this fall. Some small, municipal utilities have not decided to install smart meters.
Reposted from The Manchester Journal
Brandon Canevari – staff writer
Posted: 03/14/2012 03:54:43 PM EDT
MANCHESTER – Despite anti-smart meter votes that were passed by the public in the towns of Bennington, Dorset, Manchester, and Sandgate at this year’s Town Meeting, CVPS (Central Vermont Public Service) officials said the smart meter rollout will continue as scheduled.
According to Director of Public Affairs for CVPS, Steve Costello, it is expected that the installation of smart meters will begin in the Northshire sometime in the next couple of months and continue into the winter. The program has already received approval from the state’s Public Service Board, which has jurisdiction over it. However, Clerk of the Vermont Public Service Board, Susan Hudson, said that an investigation was currently underway that was examining the health risks and security and privacy issues posed by the use of smart meters. Depending on the outcome of the investigation, Hudson said there could be consequences for the parties – such as CVPS – who were installing smart meters.
“Whatever the final ruling is by the board, they would be subject to whatever requirements are in the board’s final ruling,” Hudson said.
Bennington, Dorset, Manchester, and Sandgate passed advisory votes at Town Meeting this year opposing the installation of smart meters for a variety of reasons.
One of the opponents of the smart meters, Dorset resident Justine Cook, said she – like some other people – had concerns centering around health, security and privacy.
Cook said in California there are people who are complaining of nausea, dizziness, and lack of focus because the radiofrequency radiation (RF) being emitted from the smart meters located on homes to the collection boxes placed on utility poles is exceeding FCC (Federal Communications Commission) guidelines and she is concerned similar effects could be felt in Vermont once the smart meters are installed.
While Cook said she and many others are concerned about the health risks, Costello said that there is a lot of misinformation related to the health risks associated with the use of smart meters.
“The reality based on all the science that’s been accumulated by multiple peer review studies and examinations by the World Health Organization, different agencies of the US Federal Government and the Vermont Department of Health all show the same thing. There is no health risk from these meters,” Costello said. “We think these are safe. All the experts we consulted within the industry and within the health community, including the Vermont Department of Health, have determined that they are safe.”
Costello added that if people were concerned about the smart meters they should be even more concerned about devices such as cellular and cordless phones, which emit thousands of times more RF than smart meters do. Additionally, he said CVPS would not be installing the smart meters on the homes of their families, friends, and neighbors if they thought they were unsafe.
The health risks are only one concern though. Security and privacy are among the other issues that Cook said she – as well as some others – are worried about.
“[The] US Inspector General and The Washington Post said grants to encourage the smart meters were hasty and the utilities were not equipped to prevent cyber attacks nor to protect personal data that is being transmitted now in a wireless fashion through radio frequency,” Cook said. “I find that alarming, the cyber attack potential and the lack of privacy.”
Another point of contention among some residents is the $10 fee that will be charged to those people who choose not to use a smart meter. “There is a lot of anger about that,” Cook said. “The opt out fee is not something people are happy about. I think it’s completely unfair.”
The fee, which was set by the Vermont Public Service Board, is related to the cost of the meters they will have to read manually in the future, Costello said. Earlier this week, the PSB granted its approval to the $10 per month fee, but CVPS will not start collecting the “opt-out” fee until April 2013, when all the smart meters are scheduled to have beeen installed, he said.
Costello said CVPS is investing about $60 million dollars in the smart meters system, about half of which is being paid through a federal grant. Even with spending that money – which Costello said they would do over the next two or three years – the company would see a savings a result of things such as fuel costs, vehicle purchases and maintenance, and insurance costs, among other things, because they would not be manually checking as many meters.
As a result of CVPS’s overall costs decreasing through use of the smart meters, Costello said customer costs will decrease as well.
“We expect this will save us and our customers over $100 million dollars,” said Costello. “Plus whatever an individual customer might save himself using the tools. And again that’s over a 20 year period.”
There is currently a bill in the State Senate, introduced by State Senator Robert Hartwell (D – Bennington) to require the public service board to establish terms and conditions related to the installation of smart meters. If passed, the bill aims to require electric companies to receive a customers written consent before installing a smart meter on their property or to remove one that had previously been installed – at no cost to the customer – if it is requested.
In a telephone interview Wednesday afternoon, Hartwell said this week’s decision by the PSB to approve CVPS’s $10 opt-out fee would not change his plans to push the bill forward, which was reported out of the Senate finance committee this week. The bill would overturn the fee until the system is fully deployed and the true cost of implementing the system can be fully determined, he said.
Reposted from the Bennington Banner.
Thursday March 15, 2012
NEAL P. GOSWAMI
BENNINGTON — A bill originally introduced by Bennington County Sen. Robert Hartwell, seeking more oversight of smart meters being deployed by electric utilities, has cleared the Senate Finance Committee and will hit the Senate floor.
The bill, S.214, was approved Tuesday by the Finance Committee by a unanimous vote. The bill was changed some, Hartwell said, but he favors the changes.
“I’m really glad that it got as far as it did. I hope to get it passed in the Senate,” Hartwell said.
The legislation spells out customers’ rights, including a requirement that utilities provide written notice to customers that wireless smart meters use “radio or other wireless means for two-way communication between the meter and the company.” The bill also states that customers who choose not to have a wireless smart meter installed can do so at no additional monthly charge, unless the charge is approved by the state’s Public Service Board.
Customers could also have a wireless smart meter removed without incurring a charge.
“It’s got some provisions about getting rid of the fee and how to opt out,” Hartwell said.
The legislation also calls for several reports to be delivered to the Legislature. Two reports would be due on Jan. 1, 2014, and Jan. 1, 2016, on the energy savings realized through smart meters and any breaches to utilities’ “cyber security infrastructure.”
A third health report would be due by Jan. 15, 2013, that includes an update on the Department of Health’s current report on “Radio Frequency Radiation and Health.”
Hartwell said he remains skeptical of the claims made by utilities that wireless smart meters are harmless. “I think there are some health issues that are associated with it, which the power companies have done a poor job researching. They make a lot of blanket statements,” he said.
Hartwell said he also sees “a potentially serious invasion of privacy” from the smart meters. The meters will allow utilities to know how much power households are using at certain times. Because most of the money being used to deploy smart meter systems is from the federal government, that raises privacy issues with the government, Hartwell said.
“I think they are perilously close to being able to tell what you’re doing in your own home,” he said.
Follow on Twitter: @nealgoswami
Reposted here from the Bennington Banner.
Thursday March 15, 2012
NEAL P. GOSWAMI
BENNINGTON — A bill originally introduced by Bennington County Sen. Robert Hartwell, seeking more oversight of smart meters being deployed by electric utilities, has cleared the Senate Finance Committee and will hit the Senate floor.
Reposted from VT Digger.
For immediate release
March 15, 2012
The EMR Policy Institute, Inc.
Open letter to Vermont Health Commissioner Harry Chen MD from The EMRadiation Policy Institute in rebuttal of the February 10, 2012 Vermont Department of Health (VDH) Report – Radio Frequency Radiation and Health: Smart Meters.
March 14, 2012
Open Letter to Dr. Harry Chen MD, Commissioner
Vermont Department of Health
108 Cherry Street
Burlington, VT 05402
Re: Deficiencies in Vermont Department of Health (VDH) February 10, 2012 Smart Meters Report
Dear Commissioner Chen:
The February 10, 2012 VDH Report – Radio Frequency Radiation and Health: Smart Meters – gives this statement of its findings:
After extensive review of the scientific literature available to date and the current FCC regulatory health protection standards, we agree with the opinion of the experts:
The thermal health effects of RFR are well understood, and are the current basis for regulatory exposure limits. These limits are sufficient to prevent thermal health effects.
Non-thermal effects have been widely studied, but are still theoretical and have not been recognized by experts as a basis for changing regulatory exposure limits.
The EMRadiation Policy Institute (EMRPI) respectfully requests that VDH revise the findings of its 2012 Smart Meters Report because of the deficiencies explained below.
1) Data Collection for VDH Report was Flawed
The VDH Report states that “the surveyor” who collected field data has been specifically trained by Narda Microwave to obtain these readings, but no details are provided as to what training was provided. Without more information, it is impossible for EMRPI to conclude that the training was sufficient.
The Report provides insufficient details to confirm that the VDH’s data collection protocol was appropriate and complete. For instance: The name and credentials of the “surveyor” are not provided.
No outline of the measurement protocol is laid out in the report.
No data is provided for duration of individual RF pulses or number of pulses over time for all meters in the mesh network system as well as those installed on buildings.***
The Narda meter 8712 that was used employs very old technology.
The model and type of the probe used is not given.
It is doubtful that the low levels reported could be measured with this equipment due to its limitations.
However, Narda Narrowband equipment does have the dynamic range to perform this type of measurement (SRM-3000 or SRM-3006) but was not used.
The report mentions “contact” of the meter and the Central antenna with the probe. A Narda-trained person would not allow this contact to occur because the resulting capacitive coupling would provide a false reading.
This meter is very susceptible to 60Hz e-fields associated with the power near the meters, resulting in incorrect readings.
For all of these reasons, EMRPI concludes that the data collection aspect of the VDH report was flawed, and a new data set should be collected by an identified credentialed RF technician to provide a more accurate basis for analysis.
2) Current regulatory exposure limits are NOT sufficient to prevent thermal health effects for all subgroups of the population.
Prevention is best served by a precautionary mindset when it is demonstrable that existing safety regulations are inadequate to protect the public. The task of the 2008 National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Report, Identification of Research Needs Relating to Adverse Health Effects of Wireless Communication, was to identify any inadequacies in the research upon which the current US Radiofrequency radiation (RF) safety guidelines are based. The NAS Report did indeed find numerous inadequacies in that research record.
An inadequate research record results in safety regulations that fail to address all exposures encountered by the public. Based on the 2008 NAS findings it cannot be asserted that US RF safety policy protects all members of the public from all mechanisms of harm in all exposure scenarios.
There is no mention in the VDH Report of the 2008 NAS Report.
Inadequacies named in the NAS Report (www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=12036) are:
a) Exposure of juveniles, children, pregnant women, and fetuses both for personal wireless devices (e.g., cell phones, wireless personal computers [PCs] and for RF fields from base station antennas.)
b) Variability of exposures to the actual use of the device, the environment in which it is used, and exposures from other sources.
c) Multilateral exposures.
d) Multiple frequency exposures.
e) Exposure to pulsed radiofrequency radiation.
f) Location of use (both geographic location and whether a device is primarily used indoors or outdoors).
g) Models for men and women of various heights and for children of various ages.
h) Exposure to others sources of RF radiation such as cordless phones, wireless computer communications, and other communications systems.
i) Exposure to the eyes, hand or the human lap or parts of the body close to the device.
j) RF exposure in close proximity to metallic adornments and implanted medical devices (IMDs) including metal rim glasses, earrings, and various prostheses (e.g., hearing aids, cochlear implants, cardiac pacemakers, insulin pumps, Deep Brain Stimulators).
k) Sufficiently long exposure and follow-up to allow for detection of effects that occur with a latency of several years.
l) Lack of information concerning the health effects associated with living in close proximity to base stations.
m) Research that includes children, the elderly, and people with underlying diseases.
n) Research on possible adverse RF effects identified by changes in EEG (electroencephalogram) activity.
o) Lack of information on possible neurophysiologic effects developing during long-term exposure to RF fields.
p) Studies focusing on possible adverse RF effects identified by changes in cognitive performance functions.
q) Effects of RF exposure to the sensitive biological targets of neural networks.
r) Possible effects of RF exposure on fetal and neonatal development.
s) Possible influences of exposure on the structure and function of the immune system, including prenatal, neonatal, and juvenile exposures.
t) Possible influences of RF exposures on the structure and function of the central nervous system, including prenatal, neonatal, and juvenile exposures.
3) Non-thermal effects are NOT theoretical and HAVE been recognized by experts as problematic.
Among the other Smart Meter reports VDH mentions in its report is the 2011 “comprehensive review” authored by the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST). CCST’s Report has been roundly criticized by many stakeholders, in part because the report’s authors chose to ignore expert comments submitted during the public comment period that pointed out weaknesses in the draft report.
For example, the California Public Utilities Commission’s Division of Ratepayer Advocates (DRA) questioned the CCST Report conclusion that there was “no clear evidence” that additional standards were needed to protect the public from smart meters or other electronic devices. In fact, DRA stated that the CCST should, “explain more clearly why it concluded that the available evidence does not indicate a need to limit non-thermal impacts of RF emissions.”
The response from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH), which was solicited by CCST, stated that CDPH, “suggests further review of the literature on non-thermal effects, which is complicated and controversial, but does not support a claim of no non-thermal health effects from radio frequency electromagnetic fields.”
De-Kin Li, MD, PhD Senior Reproductive and Perinatal Epidemiologist at the Kaiser Foundation Research Institute was also asked to comment by CCST. He stated that, “when it comes to non-thermal effects of RF, which is the most relevant effect for public concerns, FCC guidelines are irrelevant and can not be used for any claims of SmartMeter safety unless we are addressing heat damage.”
He concluded, “The bottom line is that the safety level for RF exposure related to non-thermal effect is unknown at present and whoever claims that their device is safe regarding non-thermal effect is either ignorant or misleading.”
Raymond Richard Neutra MD, Dr. PH, former Director of the California EMF Program, submitted comments stating that, “There is lots of evidence that would suggest that RF and ELF exposures well below the current standards may be capable of causing added lifetime risk that exceeds the benchmark which triggers health-based regulation.” He criticized the CCST, stating that the CCST was perpetuating a pattern of, “language use, hidden assumptions and making the uncertain seem certain so as to provide cover for policy.”
Other scientific investigations of issues raised by wireless smart meters found substantive basis for concern. The BioInitiative Report (www.bioinitiative.org) reviews more that 2,000 peer-reviewed published scientific papers that demonstrate biological effects and negative health effects resulting from RF radiation exposures at “non-thermal,” i.e., low-intensity, levels.
It should be noted that at a meeting with VDH’s Report author William Irwin in May 2011, EMRPI offered him Pathophysiology 2009 Volume 16 which provides a peer review of The BioInitiative Report. Dr. Irwin declined to accept.
On January 19, 2012, The American Academy of Environmental Medicine, an international association of physicians and other professionals that provides research and education in the recognition, treatment and prevention of illnesses induced by environmental exposures, called for the California Public Utility Commission (CPUC) to place an immediate moratorium on Smart Meter installation and to hold hearings on Smart Meter health impacts, stating that:
As representatives of physician specialists in the field of environmental medicine we have an obligation to urge precaution when sufficient scientific and medical evidence suggests health risks which can potentially affect large populations. The literature raises serious concerns . . .
AAEM’s position statement also called for CPUC to provide immediate relief to those requesting it and to restore the analog meters. It states that FCC guidelines are “inadequate for use in establishing public health standards.” See: http://aaemonline.org/images/CaliforniaPublicUtilitiesCommission.pdf
VDH’s report mentions in passing the IARC’s May 2011 finding that RF Radiation is a Group 2B possible human carcinogen. VDH failed to communicate directly with IARC to ask for a clear explanation of the scope of its finding. A very significant explanation of IARC’s finding was obtained from Robert Baan, the author of the IARC statement on RF, in response to an e-mail request from Dr. Connie Hudson of California. In an email to Dr. Hudson, Mr. Baan wrote:
Although the key information came from mobile telephone use, the Working Group considered that the three types of exposure entail basically the same type of radiation, and decided to make an overall evaluation on RF-EMF, covering the whole radiofrequency region of the electromagnetic spectrum.
In support of this, information from studies with experimental animals showed that effects on cancer incidence and cancer latency were seen with exposures to different frequencies within the RF region.
So the classification 2B, possibly carcinogenic, holds for all types of radiation within the radiofrequency part of the electromagnetic spectrum, including the radiation emitted by base-station antennas, radio/TV towers, radar, Wi-Fi, smart meters, etc.
Based on EMRPI’s review, the VDH’s Smart Meter study uses measurement protocols and equipment that are questionable.
While no reference list is found in VDH’s Report, it appears to ignore the wealth of peer-reviewed scientific literature that demonstrates adverse biological effects at exposure levels well below the US FCC RF exposure guidelines.
VDH’s Report ignores the analysis of the 2008 NAS Report that delineates the flawed scientific record upon which FCC’s RF safety guidelines are based. Instead VDH finds that “current regulatory standards for RFR from smart meters are sufficient to protect public health.”
VDH’s Report did not carry out an in-depth analysis to determine if its reliance on the current US FCC RF radiation exposure limits based on science published prior to 1986 fulfills VDH’s stated first priority to “focus on prevention, which is perhaps the best investment that can be made in health.”
Smart Meters are the latest RF-emitting device to be placed in Vermonter’s everyday environment. They are the newest RF emitters whose radiation characteristics are not contemplated in the US FCC RF safety guidelines. Rather than investigating the implications of this reality for human health, VDH’s Report rubber stamps previous reports that also failed to carry out this analysis.
For these reasons The EMRadiation Policy Institute requests that VDH revise its findings on this issue.
Agency of Human Services Secretary Douglas Racine
Department of Health Radiological and Toxicological Sciences Program Chief William Irwin
Department of Public Service Commissioner Elizabeth Miller Department of Public Service Telecommunications Director James Porter
Members of the Vermont Senate Finance Committee
Members of the Vermont House Commerce and Economic Development Committee