An email has been received by www.stopsmartmeters,org.nz relating to a large bill increase following the installation of a so-called “smart” water meter to measure water use at a home. The new “smart” meter does not appear to be measuring the household’s water usage accurately.
The water bill for the household has approximately quadrupled since the installation of the smart water meter despite no increased water consumption and no leaks able to be detected by a plumber.
Do you live in an area where smart water meters are being trialed?
Have you (or a friend) had an excessively high water bill following the installation of a smart water meter?
If you email www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz through the contact form that you can access by clicking HERE you can report your smart water meter problem in confidence. (Information is posted on this website only in cases where permission has been given to do this.)
You can refuse to have a smart water meter installed or get one removed if it has been installed
Roll outs of wireless so-called “smart” electricity meters are ongoing in many areas of NZ. (Some electricity companies may describe smart meters as “advanced” meters in their letters to customers or simply state that the company plans to install the “next generation” meter or upgrade or a replace the existing meter.)
If you live in an area where smart meters are being installed you may receive a letter stating that your meter will be upgraded or replaced, however sometimes letters get lost in the mail and do not arrive prior to a planned installation.
You can click HERE for information on how to avoid getting a so-called smart electricity meter.
Please note that while some electricity company representatives tell customers that smart meters are “compulsory” or are a “government requirement” or use other words to this effect, this is not true. The legal situation regarding electricity meters is explained at this link.
How to get updates on the NZ smart meter situation
Website editor’s note: The piece below was contributed by a retired nurse, who had previously reported how a smart water meter had been installed outside her home without her permission.
Her latest contribution to this site shows the power of a simple letter refusing a smart water meter.
If everyone in Waiuku were to refuse to participate in the smart water meter trial this could have a big positive impact for the Auckland region.
Retired nurse succeeds in having smart water meter removed
Earlier this week, I saw Watercare personnel in the street. [Ed note: Watercare is the “Council Controlled Organisation” that provides water and waste water services to most people who live in the Auckland region.]
On enquiring what they were doing, three Pacifica/Maori guys said they were changing all the [water] meters to “smart” meters.
When I said to the men that I didn’t want one and said why, a Pakeha older man “flew” out of the truck and proceeded to tell me that I didn’t know what I was talking about – the meters were akin to cell phones. He just about had an apoplectic fit when I remarked that cell phones are not safe either. [Ed see this link for a discussion of some of the research on cell phones and brain and other cancers.]
He calmed a little when I explained the two cards in my mail box within four days, the first saying the water meter outside my fence didn’t need to be changed, the second saying that a “smart” one had been fitted as part of a trial.
He told me that the meter wasn’t mine and it wasn’t on my property. I replied that it served my property; also that Counties Power’s meter wasn’t mine either, but it served my property, and the outcome of my letter to them. [You can read about how this contributor successfully avoided the installation of a smart electricity meter at this link.
I emphasised that smart meters are not compulsory, and those of us who are knowledgeably informed about them shouldn’t have them forced on us.
[Ed note: Please note that since this template letter was posted, the email addresses for the Minister of Health and some other people have changed; these will be updated as my time allows or you can google them.]
I found that most of the politicians/email addresses are now outdated – had to find the relevant ones. The Auckland Council’s CEO’s email [was] nowhere to be found and I told someone at Council that such info should be on the website and easy to find. I was given Stephen Town’s email address.
I received acknowledgments from Auck. Council people within 24 hours – nothing from any of the politicians.
I included in my letter a copy of most of my letter to Counties Power in 2014 (which may be read at this link), including their subsequent intimation that my address had been removed from their installation list.
Yesterday, hand-delivered to my mail box was a letter from Watercare Project Mgr, Waiuku Smart Meter Trials, confirming that the smart meter has been removed.
Ed note: This is a great example of how one person is making a difference.
A successful trial of smart meters by Watercare in Waiuku could potentially lead to smart water meters being foisted upon everyone in the Auckland region.
This retired nurse has paved the way for successful refusal of a smart water meter, please share this link with everyone you may know in the Waiuku and encourage them to do likewise.
This morning www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz received an email from a concerned resident of Huia Street in Waiuku to say that on Monday (February 29, 2016) she found a card in her letter box informing her that a smart water meter had been installed for her home as part of a trial.
This home owner did not consent to the installation of this device which is designed to produce microwave radiation to send data about water use. In fact just the previous Friday she had received notification from the company that her “water meter did not need to be replaced.”
According to Watercare’s website the smart water meters that it is installing will transmit only once per day; however this information cannot be independently verified at this stage as the company did not state the make and model of the meter on its website. (The type of smart water meter trialed in Tairua transmits every eight seconds.)
The type of radiation produced by smart water meters (and smart electricity meters) has been classified as possible carcinogen (class 2B) by the World Health Organisation’s International Agency for Research on Cancer.
More information about the situation in Waiuku will be posted on this website (in the smart water meters section) soon as it is available.
If you are in Waiuku(or live anywhere in the Auckland region as a whole, since if the Waiuku trial is considered to be successful, the smart water meters may be rolled out to other parts of the area administered by Auckland Council) and wish to refuse to have a smart water meter installed at your home,there is a template letter you may like to consider adapting for your own use at this link:
Documents on the website of the City of Nelson and also on the Auckland “Council Controlled” organisation “Watercare” show smart water meters are under consideration for parts of NZ.
Smart water meter alert for Waiuku
In the case of the Auckland region, a trial of smart water meters has been announced. The meters are claimed to transmit once a day (compared to other smart water meters which have been trialed in NZ which transmit as often as every eight seconds – See; http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/latest-news/smart-water-meters-in-nz-the-situation-so-far/) However as the Watercare website does not disclose the name or model of the smart water meter there is no way to independently confirm this claim.
Waiuku is in the part of the South Auckland/Franklin region where Counties Power has been installing Landis+Gyr smart meters which may provide another means of collecting data from smart water meters.
Please note that in other parts of the country where smart water meters have been trialed, people have refused to be part of the trial. If you wish to refuse to be part of this trial, there is a document that you may like to consider for use at this link.
Please encourage your neighbours to refuse, too. If everyone who was offered the opportunity to be part of a smart water meter trial refused, then this could potentially stymie efforts to impose this unnecessary technology on people.
The letter at the link below describes some of the health and privacy concerns about smart water meters and may be useful in educating your neighbours.
A document on the website of the City of Nelson shows that smart water meters are being considered for the city and the brand and model of meter under consideration.
From the document, it appears that the meter being considered is the Neptune E-CODER R900 smart meter. This type of smart meter transmits on 910-920 MHz band and produces pulses of microwave radiation every fourteen seconds.
You can see a youtube of this meter being tested below.
If you are offered a trial of this type of smart water meter (or any other type of smart water meter, for that matter), you may like to refuse to have it installed.
UPDATE on NELSON SMART WATER METER ISSUE (MARCH 4 2016)
The coordinator for www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz has received an email from a Nelson resident who has been informed by a Council staff member that the type of smart water meter that will be used for a trial of smart water meters in Nelson is a Sensus 640MC smart water meter. As more information about this type of smart water meter is available, this website will be updated to reflect this.
In other parts of the country where smart water meters have been trialed, people have refused to be part of the trial.
If you are in an area where smart water meters are being trialed, please encourage your neighbours to refuse the installation of these meters, too. If everyone who was offered the opportunity to be part of a smart water meter trial refused, then this could potentially stymie efforts to impose this unnecessary technology on people.
The letter at the link below describes some of the health and privacy issues with smart water meters and may be useful in educating your neighbours. You may also like to recommend the smart water meter archive of our site at this link.
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 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.”
“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.
Tairua is currently the location of a trial of smart water meters, so it’s especially appropriate that the town is going to have a screening of Take Back Your Power (see www.takebackyourpower.net); the award-winning documentary that gives all the facts about smart meters.
The date for the screening is: Tuesday 25th November
Venue: Tairua Community Library
Time: 6:30 – 8:30pm
Donation/Koha requested to help cover the organiser’s costs, please.
To be put in touch with the local organiser, please email through this link and with your permission your enquiry will be forwarded on. Thank you.
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.
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:
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
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.
Regarding the recently installed water meter boxes in Fairfield, Hamilton
i) What are the names of the streets in which these boxes were installed
ii) What is the total number of water meter boxes installed?
iii) Were the boxes installed by staff employed directly by the Council?
iv) If yes, what was the cost of the actual water meter boxes?
v) If yes, what was the estimated cost of the Council staff labour used in installing the water meter boxes?
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.
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.
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.
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:
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’.
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.
In mid-August 2014 I found out that the Waikato District Council was planning to vote on adopting water meters in Huntly, Ngaruwahia and Raglan and that the Council also would also vote on whether to continue to monitor smart water meters in NZ “with a view to implement when the technology when it becomes cost effective and proven in NZ.”
I subsequently wrote to the Council to inform the Mayor and Councillors about the potential health risks from wireless “smart” water meters, and encouraged other people to write as well.
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.
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:
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.)
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.
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.
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
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:
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.
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 organisation, if writing on behalf of an organisation]
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.
The wording of the relevant portion of the item on the agenda is “that the Council continue to monitor the progression of smart water metering technology with a view to implement the technol0gy when it becomes cost effective and proven in NZ.”*
and a trial is ongoing in Tairua (see this link: http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/uncategorized/tairua-smart-water-meter-update/ ) it may not be long before the Council may consider that the technology is proven for NZ – and the Council may consider it cost effective, given that “smart” water meters can potentially be integrated with the so-called “smart boxes” (actually Landis+Gyr smart meters) being installed by Waikato lines company WEL Networks Ltd.
The Council will also be discussing whether to pass a resolution regarding the installation of water meters in Ngaruwahia, Huntly and Raglan.
Water meters of any type are controversial because they usually result in an increase in the amount of money home and businesses end up paying to their Council each year.
Charging for water potentially has public health impacts, especially for low income families who may have to cut back on water use and consequently be more vulnerable health problems associated with poorer hygiene such as impetigo, scabies and other communicable conditions that can be spread via towels, clothing and bedding that are not washed sufficiently regularly.
If you would like to do something to help:
* Please email the mayor and Councillors stating your opposition to “smart” water meters
* Please alert all your friends and family in the Waikato region to this issue by sharing this post.
* Please tell all friends and family in the Waikato region that it is NOT compulsory to have a WEL smart box installed and to refuse its installation. Without WEL smart box installations to collect the data from “smart” water meters, it may not be economically feasible to install “smart” water meters. (Please see this link for information on WEL smart boxes and how they are NOT compulsory: http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/uncategorized/shame-on-you-wel-networks-ltd/
A story in last year’s Nelson Mail begins like this:
“Network Tasman will invest $15 million installing electronic meters to homes and businesses.
“It will allow the company to better manage its load, and will enable consumers to not only see how much electricity they are using but potentially also use them to provide information on their electric car, rooftop solar power system or check their water consumption.” [emphasis added]
The article further states:
“Because the electronic meters would be read by radio signal or wireless system they might have other uses, such as remote reading of water meters.” [emphasis added]
It also quotes Network Tasman Ltd’s chairman Ian Kearney as saying;
“If the council wanted to have their water meters read they could use our wireless system to do that and have some benefits from a council point of view, and from the consumer’s point would be able to look at their water consumption.”
There is no by-line for the article which suggests it may be a press release from Network Tasman Ltd.
It is salutary to note that the types of “smart” water meters which have been installed in limited numbers in NZ produce pulses of radiofrequency radiation capable of traveling for half a kilometre – and that each “smart” water meter produces these pulse every eight seconds. These so-called “smart” water meters have the potential to add to the electromagnetic pollution in the communities where they are installed and are likely to cause problems for people who suffer from electrohypersensitivity
If Network Tasman Ltd’s planned roll out of “smart” (or “advanced” meters) and the local “smart grid” goes ahead, this will mean that the infrastructure to receive the signals from “smart” water meters is already in place, ready and waiting for “smart” water meters. Contracts to collect the data from such “smart” water meters and supply it to Councils (or possibly even other parties) could be one way that Network Tasman Ltd plans to recoup the 15 millions dollars it plans to spend establishing a network of “smart” meters and a “smart grid”. A “smart grid” may potentially also be able to supply the data from “smart” water meters in real time which raises privacy concerns.
It appears that Network Tasman Ltd is as keen on “smart” water meters as it is on “smart meters” for electricity. That’s understandable given that there is potentially lots of money in contracts for providing remote “smart” water meter “reading” services. However, just because Network Tasman Ltd thinks it can make money from a technology, that does not mean the company has the right to foist that technology on its community. Especially not a technology like “smart” metering which poses risks to health.
For more information on “smart” water meters in NZ and on Network Tasman Ltd, please see these links: