Study by University of Essex asks: Are Smart Meters a Waste of Money?

 

The study, published in Energy Policy journal, questions the effectiveness in the United Kingdom of multi-billion-pound plans to replace 53 million gas and electricity meters in 30 million UK homes and small businesses by 2020.

Analysing research data from 524,479 people in 156 field trials, the researchers found that whilst in-home displays were a good way of raising awareness of energy use and linking consumption with cost, customers only saved on average about 2% – which on an average home energy bill of £1,284 would mean only £2-3 savings per month.

The study can be found at: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421514006739

The UK is not the only place where the smart meters have yet to deliver the promised savings. In Ontario on December 9, the Auditor General said the benefits of the smart meter project were yet to be realised:

“The Ministry submitted a business case to cabinet, but only after the government announced the rollout in April 2004. And the analysis was flawed; its projected net benefit of $600 million was overstated
by at least $512 million,” she added. “The Ministry has neither updated the projected costs and benefits
nor tracked the actual costs to determine the actual net benefits realized.”

Also in the UK, the Public Accounts Committee warned that smart meters may be “out-of-date” by the end of the £10.6 billion rollout project.

“Evolving technology suggests that customers could receive the information on their smart phones, making the in-home display redundant. Energy suppliers will be required to offer in-home displays, even though customers may not want or use them. Consumers will have to pay for them even though they might already be out of date.”

The PAC also reported that the Department of Energy and Climate Change had spent considerable sums on consultancy rather that developing in-house expertise:

In 2013-14, the department spent £14 million of £19.3 million spent on managing the programme on external commercial and technical expertise. It expects to spend around half of its 2014-15 budget on external expertise.

If you are interested in the smart meter issue, please sign up for the email list at www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz.  This link also includes a search facility to allow you to search the website for topics of interest.

Are you (or a friend) eligible to vote in the Victoria State Elections

If you live in Victoria and want to support the party that has been formed to oppose smart meters, People Power Victoria, this page gives you information about how you can do this.

If you would like to learn more about why you may want to consider voting for this party, please see this link: https://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/government-and-electricity-industry-positions/do-you-live-in-victoria-australia-or-have-friends-or-family-there/

If you are not in Victoria but have friends and family there please consider letting them know about People Power Victoria.

 

Information about People Power Victoria and How to Vote for People Power Victoria

 The information below has been supplied by People Power Victoria.

Here is the link to PPV’s most recent flier –

http://www.peoplepowervictoria.org.au/uploads/files/People_Power_A5_Flyer_v2.pdf

On Election Day you have a decision to make. Consider your Vote carefully.
Vote 1 People Power Victoria!

The voice you need … The change you deserve!

How to Vote Cards for all electorates are available on the PPV website – simply select the underlined candidate listed in your electorate. Click here to go to PPV site

Select the underlined candidate in your electorate to find your how to vote card, print it to use to place your vote.

Please share this with others who may be interested, or print off and hand to others prior to voting.

Marc Florio
Secretary
People Power Victoria

Do you live in Victoria (Australia) or have friends or family there?

If you live in Victoria, Australia, you may well be aware of the controversy surrounding the smart meter issue since the State Government mandated electricity companies to use their “best endeavours” to install smart meters.  In practice, as anyone who reads www.stopsmartmeters.com.au will be aware, electricity companies’ “best endeavours” to install smart meters have included a variety of bullying tactics.

One well known case was that of Sofia Telemzouguer, who became suddenly and acutely ill after a smart meter was installed in the cavity of  her bedroom wall while she was away on a business trip.  After being discharged from hospital she subsequently found out that the smart meter had been installed and asked the company to remove it.  Her electricity company refused to do so, so in desperation, Sofia organised for an electrician to remove the smart meter.  This relieved many of Sofia’s symptoms but left her with a new problem because her electricity company cut off her power in apparent retribution for removal of the smart meter. (You can read about Sofia’s story here)  After 155 days without power,  Sofia finally managed to get her power turned back on, see here; however her problems are not over as she developed electrohypersensitivity (EHS) from the exposure to the radiation from the smart meter and is now unable to work and suffers debilitating symptoms from involantary exposure to EMR (such from municipal wi-fi routers etc.)

Instances such as these has led to the formation of a new political party in Australia called People Power Victoria which has as its key platform the overturning of the smart meter mandate for the State.

If you are concerned about the smart meter situation please let friends and family who may live in Victoria know about People Power Victoria so they know there is a party that opposes smart meters.

The party website is below:

http://www.peoplepowervictoria.org.au/

 

 

NB: If you are interested in the smart meter issue, please sign up for the email list at www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz.  This link also includes a search facility to allow you to search the website for topics of interest.

 

 

Mike Mitcham lecture on smart meters and the smart grid

Don’t miss this compelling video of a lecture and power point presentation by Mike Mitcham from www.stopsmartmeters.org.uk on smart meters, the smart grid and the “internet of things”.  Health, privacy and other important issues are covered in an engaging and  informative presentation.

 

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_detailpage&v=-wlOhGcwm1Y

 

If you are interested in the smart meter issue, please sign up for the email list at www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz.  This link also includes a search facility to allow you to search the website for topics of interest.

Smart Metering Projects Map

This map shows smart metering initiatives around the world, including details of technology used; dates, volumes, etc.

Created and updated regularly under the auspices of the smart metering project in the United Kingdom.

Key: red=electricity, green=gas, blue=water and triangle=trial or pilot where circle=project


View Smart Metering Projects Map in a larger map

Please note that the information on this map is not guaranteed to be accurate or up to date.

Companies all around the world are trying to install smart meters, which has led to many grassroots groups opposing them such as www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz, www.stopsmartmeters.com.au, www.stopsmartmeters.org.uk, www.stopsmartmeters.org, and many more are listed on www.takebackyourpower.net.

If you would like to get updates on the smart meter issue in New Zealand please join the free email list at www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz.  There is also a search option at www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz to allow you to find articles about other topics of interest on this website

Saskatchewan Power CEO resigns after report on smart meter safety

A report commissioned by Saskatchewan’s Crown Investments Corporation (CIC) after eight incidences of Sensus smart meters catching fire were reported earlier this year.

The report, released on Monday, found that customer safety was not given enough priority.

Directly following the report’s release, SaskPower CEO Robert Watson resigned. Canadian Economy Minister Bill Boyd said that Watson “won’t be receiving severance pay.”

NB:  To the best of my knowledge Sensus brand smart meters are not being used in NZ. For information on smart meter fires in NZ please see this link:  https://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/latest-news/are-smart-meters-causing-fires-in-new-zealand/

If you would like to get updates on the smart meter issue in New Zealand please join the free email list at www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz. There is also a search option at www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz to allow you to find articles about other topics of interest on this website.

For more information visit:
http://www.saskatchewan.ca/government/news-and-media/2014/october/27/smart-meter-review

Sources:
http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/saskatchewan/smart-meter-safety-not-enough-of-a-priority-for-saskpower-review-1.2814283
http://www.ctvnews.ca/canada/saskpower-ceo-resigns-after-smart-meters-report-1.2072954

Hamilton City Council has been considering water meters, including smart water meters since 2012 – documents obtained under Official Information Act

Documents obtained under the Official Information Act show that Hamilton City Council has been considering installing water meters, including smart water meters, since 2012.

Below you can read the reply I received when I made a request under the Local Government Official Information Act for information regarding the Hamilton City Council’s plans regarding water meters, and supporting documentation is attached below the text of the email.

If you live in Hamilton and do not want water meters in general or smart water meters in particular you may wish to make your views known to the Council.  The water meters that have been trialled to date in NZ produce pulses of radiofrequency radiation (RFR) in the microwave range every 8 seconds.  This radiation has been classified as a possible carcinogen.  (You can read about the health and environmental concerns with smart water meters at this link:

If smart water meters were installed in Hamilton they could add considerably to the “EMR” smog in the city.

It appears likely that the WEL Network Ltd so-called “smart box” (actually a smart meter) may be able to be teamed up with “smart” water meters to collect the data from “smart” water meters.  (See this link for a discussion of this issue.)  It is NOT compulsory to have a smart box if you do not want one.  Please see these links for information on the smart box issue:

https://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/government-and-electricity-industry-positions/is-the-wel-smart-box-a-health-hazard/

https://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/government-and-electricity-industry-positions/did-you-agree-to-have-a-wel-networks-smart-box-installed-because-you-thought-it-was-compulsory/

 

 

Email received in response to request for information on water meters, including smart water meters

Sent: Friday, 19 September 2014 2:50 p.m.
To: Katherine Smith
Subject: FW: OFFICIAL INFORMATION REQUEST RESPONSE – KATHERINE SMITH – WATER METER BOXES IN FAIRFIELD

 

Dear Katherine,

 

Please find below Hamilton City Council’s (HCC) response to your Official Information request, dated 6th August 2014, in respect of the water meter boxes installed in Fairfield.

 

Request 1)

Regarding the recently installed water meter boxes in Fairfield, Hamilton

  1. i)                    What are the names of the streets in which these boxes were installed
  2. ii)                   What is the total number of water meter boxes installed?

iii)                 Were the boxes installed by staff employed directly by the Council?

  1. iv)                 If yes, what was the cost of the actual water meter boxes? 
  2. v)                  If yes, what was the estimated cost of the Council staff labour used in installing the water meter boxes?
  3. vi)                 If the Council contracted out the installation of the water meter boxes to another party what is the name of the company to which this contract was awarded?

vii)               What is the total value of this contract?

viii)              Please supply a copy of the contract for the installation of the water meter boxes.

 

Toby Boxes, which can be utilised to house water meters, have been installed in Sare Cresent, Fairfield. There were a total of 51 boxes installed. The installation was completed by HCC staff at an estimated labour cost of $11.25 per box. HCC did not contract out the installation of water meter boxes in Fairfield.

 

HCC is unable to disclose the cost of the Toby boxes, as these were supplied under contract and the cost is considered commercially sensitive.  Consequently, the Information in respect of the cost of the Toby Boxes is withheld under Section 7(2)(b)(ii) of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987  – in that release would be likely to unreasonably prejudice the commercial position of a person who supplied or is the subject of the information.

 

Request 2)

Please supply copies of all other documents including but not limited to, email correspondence, minutes of meetings, internal memos, advice received, etc. relating to the installation of the water meter boxes in Fairfield.

 

The only correspondence Council has on record is your Official Information Request.

 

Request 3)

Please supply copies of all correspondence between Council staff and/or councillors with WEL Networks Ltd, or their agents, regarding possible integration of WEL Networks Ltd “smart boxes” with Council infrastructure.

 

Request 4)

Please supply copies of all Council documents (including but not limited to, minutes of meetings, internal memos, advice received, etc.) regarding possible integration of WEL Networks Ltd “smart boxes” with Council infrastructure.

 

Please find attached copies of information, as requested, which HCC considers can be made available to you in accordance with the purposes of LGOIMA and the principle of availability.

 

Copies of some information has been withheld under the following sections of the of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987 as follows:

 

Section 7(2)(b)(i)  – in that release would disclose a trade secret.  The information is withheld on the grounds that providing this information would disclose a trade secret belonging to WEL.

 

Section 7(2)(b)(ii) – in that release would be likely to unreasonably prejudice the commercial position of a person who supplied or is the subject of the information. The information is withheld on the grounds that it would unreasonably prejudice the commercial position of WEL.

 

Please be advised that the withheld information is in the form of a proposed MOU and confidentiality agreement that WEL has put to HCC relating to HCC being an observer and having the opportunity to learn from a technology trial with Smart Metering.

 

If you have any concerns with the decisions referred to in this letter, you have the right to request an investigation and review by the Ombudsman under section 27(3) of the Local Government Official Information and Meetings Act 1987. For your information, the Ombudsman’s contact details are:

 

Email: info@ombudsman.parliament.nz

Post: PO Box 10152, Wellington 6143

Telephone:0800 802 602

 

I must apologise that there was a delay in replying to your request.

 

If you have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact me.

 

On Behalf of the Privacy Officer

Other documentation supplied by the Hamilton City Council

In addition to the email above, the following document was supplied by Hamilton City Council.

Communications between HCC and WEL (3)

Comparing analogue (Ferraris) meters with smart meters which have had the modem removed

Traditionally, in NZ as around the world, electricity meters have been purely electromechanical devices that did not contain any sort of electronics.  Until recently, most NZ homes had the type of analogue meters known as “Ferraris” meters.  That began to change a few years ago when companies began to install electronic smart meters which produce radiofrequency radiation (RFR) in the microwave range to transmit information about electricity use.

Currently, when people in NZ tell their electricity company that they do not want a smart meter, or want an existing smart meter removed, the first option offered by many electricity companies is for the modem (which produces the RFR) to be removed from the smart meter, rather than for the entire smart meter to be removed and replace with a non-smart meter.

There are a variety of alternatives to smart meters  in use in NZ including the Itron ACE 1000 SMO meter – which is an electronic meter with an analogue barrel display* – and  analogue (purely electromechanical meters otherwise know as “Ferraris” meters).

People who want a purely electromechanical meter (a Ferraris meter) are often told that these meters are no longer available on the NZ market by their electricity retailer, however, this is not true.  You can see at  the appropriate page of the company Legacy Metering Group that there are still purely electromechanical (Ferraris) meters available in NZ. (Please click HERE to be directed to the appropriate page of Legacy Metering Group’s website. The Ferraris meter is the one with the spinning disc.)

Electricity companies frequently make claims to the effect that removing the modem from a smart meter makes it into a normal meter.

The purpose of this post is to discuss the differences between a traditional analogue (Ferraris) meter and a smart meter which has had its modem removed.

Basic facts about a Ferraris analogue meter

In terms of its functionality, a Ferraris meter simply measures electricity use and this use can be read from the mechanical register by a home owner or meter reader and this information supplied to the electricity company so that the household or business can be billed correctly.  Ferraris meters have no electronics and therefore no ability to store data.

In terms of the health risks, it is important to keep beds and other furniture where you may spend a considerable amount of time at least one metre away from a Ferraris meter (and preferably 2-3 metres) due to the high magnetic fields in close proximity to the meter.  The meter works by creating two opposing magnetic fields which then drive the disk depending on power usage.  Other than the high magnetic fields from the household wiring and the metering coils, the Ferraris meter has no health risks.

A Ferraris meter cannot produce radiofrequency radiation (RFR),  and as it does not have any switch mode power supply or any other electronics, it cannot produce high frequencies or transients known as “dirty electricty” (DE).  (For a discussion of the health issues with the RFR and DE please see this page.)

 How a smart meter which has had its modem removed differs from a Ferraris meter

Some* (but not all) smart meters on the NZ market had a removable modem (also known as a “chip” or occasionally “network interface card” or the “comms” device within a smart meter ).

The modem is responsible for sending information about electricity use back to the electricity company and/or lines company at about the 900 MHz frequency for meters connected through the cellular network. Removing the modem prevents the smart meter from being able to transmit data wirelessly, and in most cases will stop the smart meter from producing the RFR that poses health risks.

However, some smart meters in NZ also contain ZigBee chips or modems which also create radiofrequency radiation (RFR) in the 2.4 GHz frequency range.  (The purpose of a ZigBee is to communicate with any smart appliances that are in a home.) In some smart meters, such as the Landis+Gyr E350 series in which a “silver springs” network interface card has been fitted, the main modem and ZigBee chip are part of the same network interface card, so removing the network interface card will solve the problem of the RFR from both sources.  In other smart meters, such as the EDMI Mk7A, there is apparently an option for a ZigBee chip; however, it is my understanding that most smart meters in NZ currently do not have a ZigBee chip included.

Regardless, in order to prevent a smart meter from producing RFR, the modem must be removed or disconnected, and any ZigBee chip (if separate from the modem/network interface card) should also be removed as well.

A smart meter with its modem removed may still produce dirty electricity (DE). NB: Any meter with electronic components may produce DE – Please see this page for details on DE and health: https://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/health-issues/

One slight advantage of an electronic meter over a Ferraris meter is that there could be slightly lower magnetic fields, but this is not a good enough reason to recommend an electronic meter over a Ferraris meter.

Smart meters (with or without their modem) and electricity bills

Another issue that is also of interest is the possible increase in electricity charge that is often noticed when an electronic meter is installed.  The older style Ferraris meters, due to the way it measures current flow by the two opposing magnetic fields, is reasonably slow reacting to surges of power use.  A surge or inrush of current is common when an appliance is turned on, particularly if it has a motor.  The electronic meter on the other hand very accurately measures these very brief surges of high power consumption that were not normally registered in the older Ferraris meter and this can lead to significantly higher billing, often 20% or more.  It is debatable whether this extra billing is fair as it can be a considerable increase in billing for no increase in actual usage.  Also, the so called “energy saving” appliances and lights that we are being encouraged to use may actually have higher inrush currents and increased billing over older appliances, increasing the billing even further.

Removing the modem from a smart meter will not change how it measures electricity or decrease your bill if your bill went up after the smart meter was installed.

Smart meters have the capacity to measure reactive power as well as usable electricity and if reactive power (which is useless to the consumer) is added to the bill, the bill would rise without any change in  electricity consumption.  I do not know whether any domestic customers are currently being billed for reactive power in NZ. Hopefully changes in billing transparency should prevent companies from charging for non-usable reactive power, if any NZ companies are presently doing this.

Having a smart meter that has had its modem removed may also leave your vulnerable to Time Of Use (TOU) pricing, should your electricity company choose to institute this, because the smart meter can store data at regular intervals and this data can be used to charge different rates for electricity used at different times of the day. 

In practice TOU pricing is likely to mean you would have to pay more for electricity when you most need it, for example on winter evenings when you want to turn on the heater and have a hot meal – and perhaps also a hot shower if you arrive home wet from a walk back from the bus or train station.)  Most companies in NZ do not currently use TOU pricing but more are likely to institute TOU pricing in the future. (Please see this link for details about how Time Of Use (TOU) pricing may increase your power bill: https://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/government-and-electricity-industry-positions/the-advantages-of-smart-meters/

and

https://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/latest-news/what-is-time-of-use-tou-pricing-and-how-could-it-affect-you/)

Analogue (Ferraris ) meters and those brands of  electronic meters which DO NOT have not capacity to store data provide protection against Time Of Use Pricing being inflicted on consumers.

 

Smart meters (with or without their modem) and your privacy

Smart meters which have had their modems removed may still pose privacy concerns. Please see this link for details:  www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/government-and-electricity-industry-positions/network-tasman-there-are-no-privacy-concerns-with-smart-meters-yeah-right/

 

Conclusion

If you value your health, privacy and financial well-being, a Ferraris meter is the best sort of electricity meter.

However if you are having difficulty getting your electricity company to agree to remove your smart meter, accepting the offer of the removal of the modem (plus any ZigBee chip it may contain) from the smart meter will reduce the health risks from a smart meter as the meter will no longer produce pulses of microwave radiation.

If you want the modem removed from your smart meter, you may want to follow the following steps:

1) Find out if your smart meter contains a ZigBee as well as a smart meter.  (It is best to do this in writing as people in the contact centres of electricity companies frequently know nothing about the technical aspects of smart meters and may inadvertently give you incorrect advice if you phone your company.)

2) Organise to be present when the technician calls at your home to ensure the job is done properly.[1]

3) Get an agreement in writing that the modem (and any ZigBEE chip) will be removed and will not be replaced.

4) Put a lock on the meter box after the modem has been removed to prevent it from being reinstalled. [2]

 

Website editor’s note: If you would like to get updates on the smart meter issue in New Zealand please join the free email list at www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz. There is also a search option at www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz to allow you to find articles about other topics of interest on this website.

 

 

*Meters on the NZ market which can have a removable modem include EDMI series meters, Landis+Gyr E350 series smart meters and General Electric (GE) SM110. To the best of my knowledge, the Elster gREX meter CANNOT have its modem removed.

 

[1] I have not heard of cases where this has not been done properly but I have received reports of contractors installing smart meters against home owners/occupiers express permission so I think it prudent for people who want the modem to be disconnected and/or removed to be present to witness that this has actually been done.

[2] I have not heard of any confirmed cases in which modems have been replaced without customers’ permission but the standard Terms and Conditions on some NZ companies’ websites include statements to the effect that companies can install smart meters or remote meter reading equipment.  Possibly these may allow a company to re-install the modem without consulting you unless you have an agreement that the company will not do this.  (Please note that I am not a lawyer;  you may want to ask your lawyer about the standard Terms and Conditions for  your company if you want a qualified opinion on this matter.)

Locking your meter box also protects you have from having the modem re-installed by another party (such as the smart meter owner, which is often a different company from the electricity retailer) if the meter owner or its agents is unaware of the agreement you have with your electricity company.

If you lock your meter box and there is no window to allow a meter reader to read your meter, you may need to make an agreement with your company that you will phone in or email meter readings to your company on a regular basis.  You could offer to include a photo of the meter (as proof that you are providing an accurate reading) if you have a digital camera and can email or otherwise send this image to your electricity company.

 

 

Smart meters, heat pumps and “demand response functionality”

Smart meters, heat pumps and “demand response functionality”

An earlier post on this website (since corrected) erroneously stated that having a smart meter could mean that householders could have their heat pump turned off remotely by their electricity company.  (In actual fact, some smart meters may be able to turn down heat pumps down to their lowest setting, but they should not be able to turn them off  altogether… please read on for more details and to learn whether you may be affected if you have a heat pump that may be able to be controlled via a smart meter.)

My initial error (in stating that a smart meter with a ZigBee chip* could potentially be used to remotely turn off a heat pump) was kindly pointed out to me by Graeme Purches from Trustpower.  In an email he wrote:

“There are probably less than 20 meters in NZ that are equipped for this [turning off  heat pumps and other devices remotely], and they are installed as part of field trials to test their capabilities.”

He added:

“At the end of the day, the direction the industry is headed is that people will in the future be able to determine at which price point they want their appliances to start and stop. The control will be in the hands of the consumer, unlike controlled hot water, which is a network load issue and can legitimately be controlled in return for lower price because those using the option have hot water storage. You can’t  ‘store’ the heat from a heat pump so the industry would never want to control those.”

I decided to investigate the issue of how smart meters may be used to remotely control heat pumps (without the householder’s consent) in more detail.

My initial (and as it turned out, incorrect) information about heat pumps having mandatory “demand response functionality”  came from the website of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment.

In following up on this issue, I first tried to access the current  standard for heat pumps and found that while there was one in existence, I could not access it unless I either went to the central library in Auckland (not very practical) or paid a couple of  hundred dollars (not feasible either).

I therefore sought the advice of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Agency (EECA). 

A helpful staff member wrote an email that explained the following:

1)  That having “demand response functionality” is not currently mandatory in NZ.

2)  That some of the heat pumps on the NZ market do have “demand response functionality”.  This “demand response functionality” cannot be used to turn the heat pump off altogether but it can be used to turn the heat pump down to its lowest setting.

3)  That manufacturers can choose to show that their heat pump has demand response functionality on the label on their heat pump.  You can click on the image to make it larger.  The tick mark which is circled in red indicates that the appliance has “demand response functionality”.

Photo of labelling showing demand response functionality

Presumably heat pumps that have “demand response functionality” will contain a ZigBee and/or some other radiofrequency radiation (RFR) producing device to allow the appliance to communicate with a smart meter.   I have no idea whether appliances which have “demand response functionality” will be producing RFR all the time or intermittently or whether the default setting for the appliance will have the “demand response functionality” switched off.

However, if you do not want extra RFR in your environment and/or you do not want to risk your electricity company being able to control your heat pump via a smart meter in your home,  it would seem prudent to avoid buying items with “demand response functionality” indicated by the label.

Please note that I do not know whether it is mandatory for manufactures that make appliances that have “demand response functionality” to declare this capability on the label.  For this reason it would be prudent to ask the retailer whether any appliance you would like to buy has any “demand response functionality”, regardless of the label.  If you already have a heat pump and it not longer has its label, please see the info at the bottom of this post.

Conclusion

So there you have it.  It does appear that some smart meters in NZ (those than contain ZigBee chips*) may have the capacity to remotely control some heat pumps, although this feature may not yet be active.  It also appears that there are heat pumps on the NZ market which have “demand response functionality” which could allow them to be controlled via a smart meter.

 

*In NZ,  smart meters that contain ZigBee chips include:

WEL Networks Ltd “smart box” (actually a Landis+Gyr smart meter) and the Landis+Gyr smart meters being installed by Network Tasman Ltd  and Counties Power in South Auckland/Franklin.  These contain a “silver spring” brand “network interface card” which includes a  modem and a ZigBee.  The default mode for the ZigBee on the “silver spring” brand “network interface card” has been stated to be inactive, so these ZigBee chips, may not yet be functional.  (Presumably they could be activated remotely by a power or lines company should the company with an active link to the smart meter modem decide to do this.)

It is possible other smart meters contain ZigBee chips; some EDMI smart meters which are very common in NZ have the potential to include a ZigBee chip. 

If  you are in any doubt about whether the smart meter at your home has a ZigBee chip,  your electricity retailer should be able to tell y0u.

 

If your heat pump no longer has its label you can find out about its “demand response functionality” through the following procedure:

 

1)  Go to this link: 

http://www.energyrating.gov.au/for-industry/regulation-information-for-industry/meps/

 2) Scroll down the link above until you come to this text:

Next steps for households and businesses

3) Click on the word “Compare energy ratings”…as above and you will get to this link:

http://reg.energyrating.gov.au/comparator/product_types/

 

4) At the link above you will see a list…pick “Air Conditioners” by clicking on this link Air Conditioners – AS/NZS 3823.2 and you will get through to this link:

http://reg.energyrating.gov.au/comparator/product_types/64/search/

 

At the link above you will see a row of black buttons…one is Download CSV. 

Click on this and you will get an Excel file. Open the file.

The field that indicates whether a heat pump has “demand response functionality” is labelled “BE” at the top of the column. The word “TRUE” in the “BE” column indicates the heat pump has “demand response functionality”.  The word “FALSE” in the “BE” column indicates that a heat pump does not have “demand response functionality” .

 

 

Did you agree to have a WEL Networks “smart box” installed because you thought it was compulsory?

A statement on WEL Networks Ltd’s website gives the impression that it is compulsory to accept a WEL “smart box”.

In actual fact, a WEL  Networks “smart box” is actually a Landis+Gyr smart meter and there is NO government requirement for WEL Networks to install these so-called “smart boxes” and there is NO government requirement for anyone to accept the installation of a “smart box’.

These “smart boxes” can expose people in a home or business to a considerable amount of radiofrequency radiation (RFR) in the microwave range.  (See this link for details of how much microwave radiation a WEL “smart box” can produce: https://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/government-and-electricity-industry-positions/is-the-wel-smart-box-a-health-hazard/

WEL smart boxes may eventually produce microwave radiation more frequently than they do at present, since if Councils in the Waikato area adopt wireless so-called “smart” water meters (see this link and this link for details) the WEL smart boxes could be used to collect and send on the information from the “smart” water meters.

If you agreed to the installation of a WEL “smart box” because you believed it was compulsory but do not want to be exposed to the microwave radiation that it produces, you may want to contact WEL Networks Ltd to arrange the removal of the smart box.

If you do ask for WEL Networks to remove a smart box, please email through this link  to let me know how the company responds. Thank you.

 

Letter sent to Mayor and Councillors of the Waikato District Council

On Friday, August 16, having learned that the Waikato  District Council had an item relating to “smart” water meters on its agenda for an extraordinary meeting scheduled for August 19, I emailed the Mayor and Councillors to express concern about the potential adverse effects of “smart” water meters on human health, water quality, wildlife and people’s  privacy and home security and to ask that they do NOT pass any resolution in favour of adopting “smart” water metering technology.

(You can read background information about the item on the Council’s agenda (including its wording and background information on “smart” water meters in NZ) at this link https://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/uncategorized/urgent-smart-water-meter-alert-for-waikato-district-council-area/)

My reason for writing was that I thought it unlikely that the Mayor or Council members would have been provided with information relating to the potential risks posed by “smart” water meters to human health, wildlife or privacy by “smart” water meter proponents.

The letter that I wrote may be downloaded from the link below:

Letter to Waikato District Council v2.

The Council voted in favour of introducing water meters to Ngaruwahia, Huntly and Raglan and to continue to monitor “smart” water metering technology with a view to adopting it when it is considered “proven” and “cost effective”.  Please see this link for details: https://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/uncategorized/waikato-district-council-vote-on-water-meters-and-smart-water-meters/

 

September 13 award-winning smart meter documentary to screen in Marton

Just a reminder that a special community screening of the award-winning smart meter documentary Take Back Your Power will take place in Marton on September 13. Full details are at this link: www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/uncategorized/award-winning-smart-meter-documentary-to-screen-in-marton-on-september-13/

If you are not in this area, you can stream or purchase the documentary from www.takebackyourpower.net

Investigate magazine tackles smart meter issue

One of the cover stories for the the August-September issue of Investigate magazine is “Smart Meters: What do you really know about the new electricity meters”.  The article includes a discussion of what may be the world’s first case of a “smart” meter-linked cancer as well as a discussion of other health problems associated with exposure to the radiofrequency radiation from smart meters and privacy and financial issues with these new meters.

This issue of Investigate features many other stories that health conscious readers will appreciate including one of how LEDs used in electronics and now, increasingly in lighting, may cause eye damage and new research on how the “dinosaur tree” Gingko biloba offers hope for stroke sufferers.

Investigate magazine is available through bookstores, supermakets and other magazine outlets.

Investigate magazine’s website is http://www.investigatemagazine.com/

Live in the Matamata-Piako Council area? Please tell your Council that “smart” water meters are not acceptable

Matamata-Piako District Council is  currently seeking public input into water issues, including water meters.  The consultation includes a discussion of whether water meters should be adopted.  (See this link for details http://www.mpdc.govt.nz/component/content/article/105-news-a-events/news-a-have-your-say/2455-water-supply?Itemid=647)

If you live in this area and do not want water meters or “smart” water meters, please make your opinions known;  Please make a submission by August 22.  (The link above has details how to do this.)

Please also let friends and family in this area know about the consultation.

 

INFORMATION TO HELP YOU MAKE A SUBMISSION

 
The links below provide information on the current status of “smart” water meters in NZ.  (Like “smart” electricity meters, “smart” water meters use radiation frequency radiation in the microwave to send information about water use.)

The lower of the two links also includes information about the potential downsides of water meters in general.  If you would like to make a submission regarding water meters in general and/or smart meters, you may find the information at these links helpful.
https://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/uncategorized/urgent-smart-water-meter-alert-for-waikato-district-council-area/

https://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/uncategorized/some-ideas-to-help-you-write-to-the-mayor-and-councillors-of-waikato-district-council/

Please encourage friends and family in the Matamata-Piako area to also contribute to the consultation.  A short statement outlining your concerns about water meters in general and/or your about the potential health impacts of “smart” water meters is all that is required to contribute to this consultation.

NB:  If you email Councillors about the smart water meter issue, please consider emailing through the Contact form at this link  https://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/contact-us/ to me know what response you receive. Many thanks.

Some ideas to help you write to the Mayor and Councillors of Waikato District Council

URGENT: The Waikato District Council is having an extraordinary meeting on August 19 during which they will decide (among other things) whether to accept a resolution relating to “smart” water meters.  (See this post for details: https://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/uncategorized/urgent-smart-water-meter-alert-for-waikato-district-council-area/.)

 

If you oppose the introduction of “smart”  water meters to  the area served by Waikato District Council (and/or oppose the introduction of water meters in general, here are some ideas you may like to use when emailing the Mayor and Councillors to express your opposition.

Please share this link and encourage everyone you know to do likewise. Thank you.

 

The email adresses for the Mayor and Councillors are at this link:
http://www.waikatodistrict.govt.nz/Your-Council/Mayor-and-councillors.aspx

 

A suggested format for the letter will be detailed below.

 

REASONS TO OPPOSE THE INTRODUCTION OF WATER METERS (REGARDLESS OF TYPE)

If you oppose the introduction of water meters in general, you may want to express one or more of the following reasons for your opposition:

* Cost to Council:  You may think that the money spent buying and installing water meters could be better spent by the Council in other areas (please give examples, if you know of a local Council service which has not been funded or is under-funded where the money could be better spent.)

*  Cost to Rate Payers:  You may wish to express concern that spending money on water meters will be reflected in your rates bill, in terms of increased charges for water and/or a general increase in rates to cover the capital expenditure involved in installing water meters.  If any rates increase may adversely affect your personal budget and/or viability of your business (if it is one that uses a lot of water, for example, a cafe or other business that provides toilet facilities for the public) you may wish to discuss this.

*  Public health reasons:  You may wish to express opposition to water meters as this increases the cost of living for everyone and low income families may be adversely affected by having to cut back on water use, and consequently being more at risk of developing impetigo, scabies and other communicable skin conditions as a consequence of being  unable to afford to pay for sufficient water to bathe and to wash clothes, towels, bedding etc. as often as necessary.  (If you work in an early childhood centre or school or other provider of education and care to children which may be adversely affected by changes in families’ water use patterns, you may wish to add this.)

*  Impact on home gardening: Installing water meters and making water expensive may reduce people’s ability to enjoy planting flowers to beautify their neighbourhood and also restricts people’s ability to  grow their own fresh fruit and vegetables, potentially reducing their nutrition and impacting adversely on their general health.

*  Impact on education and community facilities:  If you work in an early childhood centre, school or tertiary education provider that is already on a tight budget how will having to pay extra for water impact on the services that you offer? Will it mean cut-backs in terms of what you can offer chidlren and/or students?  or increased fees?  Or both?

* Other reasons:  You may have other reasons for opposing the introduction of water meters, for example that once water meters are instlled it may be easier for future Councils to privatise the water supply:  Please express these in any email you may write.

 

REASONS TO OPPOSE THE INTRODUCTION OF  “SMART” WATER METERS SPECIFICALLY

* Health reasons:

1) “Smart” water meters use radiofrequency radiation (RFR) in the microwave range to send information about water use and this radiation is considered a “possible carcinogen” by the International Agency on Cancer. (See: http://microwavenews.com/short-takes-archive/iarc-publishes-rf-cancer-review.)

2)  People who are sensitive to electromagnetic radiation may suffer from increased symptoms if “smart” water  meters are introduced given that these meters produce RFR.  For more information about how people who are sensitive to electromagnetic radiation and the challenges they face, please see these links:

https://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/latest-news/what-is-it-like-to-live-with-electrohypersensitivity-ehs-one-womans-story/

https://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/latest-news/electrohypersensitivity-a-short-film-by-time-magazine-free-to-watch-online/

https://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/latest-news/retired-ceo-speaks-out-on-electrosensitivity/

http://www.scribd.com/doc/87308119/Guideline-of-the-Austrian-Medical-Association-for-the-diagnosis-and-treatment-of-EMF-related-health-problems-and-illnesses-EMF-syndrome

NB:  There is no information on how many people are affected in NZ because NZ does not keep statistics.  However, in Sweden where good statistics are kept, three percent of the adult population is known to be affected by sensitivity to electromagnetic radiation, also variously known as EHS, ES or EMS.  As you will see from the links above, life is very difficult for people who are sensitive to electromagnetic radiation and they certainly do not deserve to be further burdened with extra EMR from “smart” water meters when analogue meters are available, if the Council wants to introduce water meters.

 

* Potential adverse impacts on wildlife: 

The US Department of the Interior has cited substantial research that shows RFR has an adverse effect on wildlife and that current US standards (which, like the comparable National Standard in NZ are designed to protect ONLY against thermal injuries and shocks) provide in inadequate protection for wildlife. (Please see this link for details: http://www.takebackyourpower.net/news/2014/03/27/us-department-of-interior-attacks-fccs-exposure-standards-out-of-date-and-inapplicable/

If the Waikato District Council plans to link up “smart” water meters with WEL Network Ltd’s “smart boxes” there will likely be an increase in the use of 900 MHz frequencies that have been cited by the US Dept of the Interior as harming birds.

 

GENERAL ADVICE FOR WRITING AN EMAIL

1)  Start with your name and address

(If you are not in the Waikato District Council but are writing, for example,  because you are concerned about friends or family in the area, or because you are a health professional with an interest in public health issues or you or your environmental group are concerned about adverse effects on wildlife, etc. please specify, this when you introduce yourself at the beginning of the email.)

 

Suggested format for rest of email:

 

 

Dear Sirs/Madams, [if you are writing the same email to everyone]

I am a resident of [your town] OR I am writing on behalf of [your business/community organisation]

I am writing to ask you to vote against any proposal to introduce water meters and/or smart water meters because

[List your reasons]

[Add any other comments you may want to make;  bearing in mind that short emails are more likely to be read than long emails.]

Thank you for taking the time to read this email.

 

Yours sincerely/ Naku noa, na,

 

[Your name]

[Your organisation, if writing on behalf of an organisation]