UK Institute of Directors – will Smart Meters be the next Government IT Disaster?

 

On 27 March 2015, the Institute of Directors (IoD) released the following:

 

IoD calls for Smart Meters scheme to be ‘halted, altered or scrapped’ to avoid ‘unjustified, over-engineered and expensive mistake’

The Government’s rollout of Smart Meters, digital energy meters designed to provide real-time usage statistics, should be “halted, altered or scrapped” to avoid a potentially catastrophic government IT disaster, the Institute of Directors warns today.

In a major new report entitled “Not too clever: will Smart Meters be the next Government IT disaster?” the IoD brands the £11bn scheme, the largest government IT project in history, “unwanted by consumers, devoid of credibility and mind-blowingly expensive”. The business group calls on an incoming government to review the project and “consider a fresh start”.

The Smart Meter programme, which has the hugely ambitious target of installing 100 million new pieces of kit in homes and business by 2020, was initiated by Ed Miliband as energy secretary in 2008, following an EU Directive, and confirmed by the Coalition Agreement in 2010.  The report’s author, Dan Lewis, Senior Infrastructure Advisor at the IoD, calls the political consensus “a conspiracy of silence among politicians in thrall to big ideas and even bigger budgets”.

Lewis continues:

“The professed aims of the Smart Meter programme are laudable, and we all recognise the benefits of reducing consumption and increasing energy awareness. But there is little credible evidence to suggest that a scheme of this size and complexity will achieve those goals.”

The IoD report highlights a number of key concerns:

  • Despite the EU Directive, 11 nations have ruled out electricity smart meters and only 5 are pushing ahead with the 2020 target for gas meters. In contrast, as is so often is the case, the UK has gold-plated the Directive.
  • The government refuses to publish any of the reports on the programme by the Major Projects Authority.
  • The cost-benefit analysis conducted by the Department for Energy and Climate Change is so heavily redacted as to be almost unreadable.
  • The Smart Meter network would be vulnerable to cyber-attack and disruption.
  • Introducing time-of-day pricing to shift consumer demand will only work with price increases that are not politically realistic. Retail consumers really can’t change their energy consumption that much.

The report places the rollout of Smart Meters within the context of previous large-scale IT fiascos, including the infamous NHS National Programme for IT, the eBorders Programme and the BBC’s disastrous Digital Media Initiative.  Furthermore, a recent survey shows that 80 per cent of IoD members rate the ability of government to manage large IT projects as “poor or very poor”.

Dan Lewis adds:

“This scheme is far from smart. The dishonourable roll call of government IT projects that have haemorrhaged vast amounts of taxpayers’ money to no discernible effect needs no further additions. Consumers will not forgive the already unpopular energy companies for a costly programme which fails to deliver and ends up making them poorer. Without a change of direction, whoever wins the general election is at risk of overseeing a spectacular failure in the next parliament. They would be well-advised to consider a fresh start.

“Consumers do not want the meters, they have proved a costly mistake in countries where they have been rolled out, and the Government is withholding key details about their costs and benefits. This makes for a programme which is devoid of credibility, over-engineered and mind-blowingly expensive. Perhaps the only reason why the cost and ambition of this project has not become a national scandal already is because of a conspiracy of silence among politicians in thrall to big ideas and even bigger budgets.”

A key area of concern outlined in the report is that the technology behind the scheme is untested and some parts will likely be obsolete by the scheduled switch-on date of 2020. The new wireless standard, ZigBee, which is being developed for Smart Meters is complex and expensive compared to the better-known Wi-Fi or Bluetooth. Each property will also get an in home display, but there is scant evidence of consumer demand. British Gas found that only 60% of customers looked at their displays even once a month a year after installation.

Recommendations

An incoming government should consider the following changes:

  • Stop the smart gas meter deployment – only a handful of EU nations are planning to deploy gas smart meters by 2020. This would save billions of pounds.
  • Remove the requirement for an in home display – expected to cost £800m in total, the displays will be out of date in a few years. Far better to connect smart meters to people’s phones, tablets and PCs
  • Limit the rollout to homes with high energy usage – those who use more than 5,100 kWh of electricity, and 23,000 kWh of gas a year have much more to gain. This would reduce the scale of the rollout by 80%.
  • Abandon attempts to stretch  the rollout to tower blocks – the most technically challenging aspect of the project with the lowest potential returns. This would remove seven million homes from the scheme.
  • Make the programme genuinely voluntary – offered to customers at their own expense, not subsidised by all.
  • Abandon the whole programme and develop a smart phone app instead – look into developing a smart app which would convert a photo of their current mechanical meter into a meaningful number for the suppliers. This would cost tens of thousands of pounds rather than billions.

Lewis added:

“We know that an incoming government will be under intense financial pressure, having to find further cuts to public spending. This does not fit well with increasing energy bills for a project that has such unrealistic targets, such large costs and such uncertain benefits.”

Read the full report here.

Source: http://www.iod.com/influencing/press-office/press-releases/smart-meters-a-government-it-disaster-waiting-to-happen

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.

Free EMR and Health newsletter: New edition out now

EMR Australia’s free quarterly newsletter is now available.

This issue is particularly good and features an interview with Melbourne physician Dr. Federica Lamech whose article on adverse health effects from smart meters was recently published in a peer-reviewed journal.

The issue may be downloaded from this link:

htttp://emraustralia.com.au/EMR_and_health.html

 

The other topics for this issue are listed below:

  • France’s new law to reduce exposure to wireless radiation;
  • how mobile phones affect the brain and fertility;
  • a recent Australian study on smart meters and how they’re affecting people;
  • an interview with the study’s author, Dr Federica Lamech;
  • the European Union’s new position on electromagnetic hypersensitivity;
  • sleeping on spring coil mattresses – is it a good idea?
  • chemical sensitivity;
  • how digital technology affects sleep;
  • a new Australian book on chemical and electromagnetic sensitivity by Diana Crumpler;
  • the latest news and research and items of interest from around the world.

SOURCE: http://www.naturalmedicine.net.nz/news/free-emr-and-health-newsletter-new-edition-out-now/

Smart meters, the “Internet of Things” and your privacy

What impact could smart meters and the “Internet of Things” have on your privacy? This topic is explored on the link below:

http://www.globalresearch.ca/digital-electronic-internet-of-things-and-smart-grid-technologies-to-fully-eviscerate-privacy/5428595  

In the meantime, if you want to retain control of the appliances in your home (rather than cede it to your electricity retailer and/or lines company) you may wish to consider doing the following:

1)  Refuse to get a smart meter or getting an existing smart meter removed

2) Making sure that any appliances that you may purchase or already have in your home are not s0-called smart appliances.

Please see the link below for information on how a smart meter may allow your electricity company to take control over your heat pump or air conditioner – and how to choose a model that should not be vulnerable to this type of corporate hijacking:

http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/government-and-electricity-industry-positions/smart-meters-heat-pumps-and-demand-response-functionality/

NB:  If you are interested in the smart meter issue, please sign up to the free email list on www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz  Thank you.

Commissioner’s private emails show he knew smart meters were causing harm but did not act to protect the public

The website of the award-winning smart meter documentary Take Back Your Power (www.takebackyourpower.net) has reported on how emails of the former president of the California Public Utilities Commission show that he was aware of adverse health effects from smart meters from as early as 2010 but chose not to do anything to protect public health. He was similarly aware of the problems with high bills after smart meter installations but did nothing to stop the smart meter roll out from going ahead.

You can read excerpts from key emails at this link:

http://www.takebackyourpower.net/news/2015/02/13/utility-commissioners-private-emails-reveal-conspiracy/

 

NB:  If you are interested in the smart meter issue, please sign up to the free email list on www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz  Thank you.

How “smart” water meters invade privacy

“Smart” water meters are currently being trialled in Tairua on the Coromandel and are being considered by the Waikato District  Council (see links below for details).

The report at this link http://smartgridawareness.org/2015/02/13/how-smart-water-meters-invade-privacy/

outlines how smart water meters can infringe people’s privacy.

 

NB:  If you are interested in the smart meter issue, please sign up to the free email list on www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz  Thank you.

 

 

Tairua smart water meter trial

http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/uncategorized/tairua-smart-water-meter-update/

Waikato District Council plans for smart water meters

http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/smart-water-meters-2/waikato-district-council-vote-on-water-meters-and-smart-water-meters/

General smart water meter information in NZ

http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/latest-news/smart-water-meters-in-nz-the-situation-so-far/

See Take Back Your Power for free on February 24!

Your chance to see the award winning smart meter documentary Take Back Your Power is coming up on February 24 in Auckland.  (If you are not in Auckland, the film may be streamed or purchased from www.takebackyourpower.net.)

This highly recommended documentary covers health, privacy and other issues with smart meters.

Details of the screening are here: http://www.naturalmedicine.net.nz/news/a-chance-to-see-the-award-winning-documentary-take-back-your-power-for-free/

NB: If you are interested in the smart meter issue, please sign up to the free email list on www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz and you will receive updates on the situation in NZ.

Prana Festival to feature electropollution workshops

The Prana Festival which takes place at Opoutere on the Coromandel over the New Year (30 December 2014 – 3 January 2015) features music, workshops on subjects as diverse as nutirition, yoga, massage therapy, dance ecology and more.

This year electropollution expert Paul Waddell from www.safespace.net.nz has been invited to give two workshops on electropollution.

The workshops will be –

Are Eco Technologies Actually Safe for Humans?  (45 minutes and 30 + minutes questions and discussion)

  • Brief description of Electro-Pollution & the associated health effects
  • Are modern “Eco” technologies actually safe for humans?
    (You may be very surprised by the answers to this question)
  • What are the health risks associated with Solar Photovoltaic systems,
    and how to have a truly safe energy-efficient home

How to Live More Safely in our Modern Techno World  (1.5 hrs + 30 minutes questions and discussion)

  • What are the possible health effects of electric and magnetic fields, microwave radiation and dirty electricity
  • How to measure your environment, a demonstration of test equipment and methods
  • Practical ways to lower your exposure and for you and your family to be safer

Details of the Prana Festival are available here

December 17: Electropollution information evening

Earlier in the year Joey Moncarz, then a teacher at the local school, organised a presentation evening at Waiuku where we both spoke about the hazards of Wi-Fi in schools.

This time Joey has an evening planned for this week on Wednesday night at the Onehunga Community Centre.  Both Joey and Paul Waddell will be talking about Electro-Pollution and particularly the hazards of Microwave Radiation in all of the forms that we are exposed to.  It is short notice but hopefully either you or someone you know can make it along.
Wednesday 17th December at 6.30 pm
Onehunga Community Center
83 Church Street, Onehunga

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: http://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.

 

 

Is electropollution the worst health threat we face?

If you have been wondering why there are so many people that you know battling cancer or some other degenerative disease, perhaps the answer may be as close as the DECT cordless phone base on your friend’s bedside table,  the smart meter on their bedroom wall,  the wi-fi router on their work desk, or the smart phone in their breast pocket…or perhaps all of these things  in combination…?

Modern wireless technologies that produce radiofrequency radiation (RFR) that can damage DNA (with high enough exposures) are in common use and believed by most people to be safe?

A new post on the website of the award-winning smart meter documentary Take Back Your Power* examines the proliferation of wireless technologies and asks whether we are unwittingly putting our health at risk through uncritical adoption of new high-tech gadgetry.

Here’s the link:

http://www.takebackyourpower.net/news/2012/10/07/electropollution-and-the-decline-in-health-of-a-nation/

 

NB: 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

 

*If you are inspired to want to run a screening of the award winning documentary  Take Back Your Power (www.takebackyourpower.net) in your community or local cinema please contact us through this link.  Thank you.

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:  http://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

Does the modem for this smart meter produce more radiation than is legal in NZ? Read the test data and decide for yourself

A test of a smart meter modem (Sierra Wireless EWM GRPS 100) carried out in Auckland, New Zealand showed that the level of microwave radiation it produced might exceed the level allowed under NZ’s national standard NS 2772.1:1999.

The test equipment was located 20cm away and the amount of microwave radiation when the modem was operating at its highest power was 4,458.886 microwatts per square metre.  (NS2772.1:1999 is 4,500,000 microwatts per square metre for the 900 MHz frequency band at which the modem was transmitting.)

This suggests that microwave exposure at a distance of less than 20cm might exceed NS 2772.1:1999.  (When the calculations are done which show the microwave radiation exposure at less than 20 cm have been done, I will add the results to this post.)

Website editor’s note:  Since post was published an engineer friend has confirmed to me verbally that the amount of RF at produced by the smart meter would be well in excess of 4.5 million microwatts per square metre at the antenna.  However, he has not yet supplied a graph to illustrate this.

Given that the scientists who compiled the BioInitiative Report (www.bioinitiative.org) consider that  1,000 microwatts per square metre is a suitable upper limit for human exposure, the level of radiation produced by the modem is a serious concern.

The limited test data that is available for smart meters in use in NZ has shown that they transmit intermittently rather than constantly. Also, they may not operate at full power in many situations.  However, a home owner has no way of controlling how much radiation is produced other than having the modem removed or the smart meter replaced.

You can see the test report here:

EMC Report for AMS Sierra Wireless EWM100 GPRS Modem Meter (3)

 

End Note: Unfortunately, even though this modem would be capable of exceeding 4.5 million microwatts output (the approximate legal limit for a cell phone tower transmitting at 900 MHz) I have been informed that the modem is still compliant with the NZ National Standard, the reason being that time-averaging of smart meter pulses over a six minute (360 seconds) period is allowed.  This means that because under normal operating conditions, the type of modem used in the test would produce radiation intermittently rather than constantly, the times at which it is not producing radiation (a zero level) can be counted in the assessment with its compliance with the standard.

 

NB: If you would like to keep up to date with the smart meter issue in NZ, please sign up to the free email list at www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz Thank you

 

October 16, Take Back Your Power Marton!

Just a reminder that there will be a second community screening of the award-winning smart meter documentary Take Back Your Power in Marton on October 16.  Full details are at this link:

http://www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz/uncategorized/october-16-take-back-your-power-marton/

Please let family and friends in this area know about this screening.

Also:  If you are on Facebook you may like to visit this new group and let your friends know about it.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Rangitikei-Smart-Meter-Watch/1472539493022803

Thank you!

 

 

Are smart meters causing fires in New Zealand?

Are smart meters causing fires in New Zealand?

A spate of fires involving “smart” electricity meters overseas (and subsequent recalls of some smart meters) has increased interest in the potential of smart meters to cause fires in NZ.

There was a spate of smart meter associated fires in Christchurch in 2010, as you can see from this link:  http://www.3news.co.nz/nznews/fireprone-meter-boxes-causing-concern-2010060317

I asked the NZ Fire Service for information about meter box fires in NZ and below you can see the information kindly supplied to me.  However, it does not differentiate between the type of meter from which a fire originated as the NZ Fire Service does not keep this level of details in its statistics, as you can see from the comment by the officer who supplied the data. The statistics go until 2010, similar to other statistical data on the NZ Fire Service website.

(Click on the table to make it bigger.)

 

Meter box fire table

If you have suffered a fire originating from your meter, please consider letting me know the brand and model meter that you had, and whether your meter was mounted outside in a meter box or inside as part of your meter board. You can contact me through this link:

If the meter was destroyed beyond recognition in the fire and you did not previously know what sort of meter you had, your electricity retailer should be able to supply you with this information.

 

A good source of information about smart meter-associated fires is this link:

http://www.takebackyourpower.net/news/category/fires-damage/

 

UPDATE: Since this post has been written, www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz has been notified of a fire at a school in Northland as well as a house fire in NZ.  Please see this link for details.

 

To stay up to date with the smart meter issue in NZ, please sign up to the free email list at www.stopsmartmeters.org.nz