Steven Weller

B.Sc. Monash

20th May 2015

Mission statement

What is EHS? A misunderstood condition

My experiences – A personal journey of discovery

What research really says

Problems with most studies

Public Concerns

Lack of support and the implications

How ARPANSA and NHMRC can help

Closing Statements

Click to access steves-emerg-ehs-presentation.pdf

Smart meter removal costs man $11,500

Smart meter removal costs man $11,500

June 16, 2015 – 6:30PM
by Steve Butcher

DateJune 16, 2015 – 6:30PM By Steve BuchterA man opposed to smart meters who filmed himself removing one at his home has been convicted and fined $1500 — with $10,000 costs — after admitting the crime on camera to a Powercor manager.

Jason McAuley attended the Powercor office in Adeer with supporters after he removed an AMI metre at his house in Albanvale in October, 2013.

Robert Squirrell, for Energy Safe Victoria, told Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday it was “unusual” that McAuley had “put it all in YouTube”.

In an opening to the video, McAuley is described as a “young father who became very concerned about the way his daughter’s health was being affected by the smart meter fitted to her bedroom wall”.

It said he had asked Powercor to remove it but that plea “brought no satisfaction”, so he carried out his promise to remove it himself and replace it with an analogue meter.

The video also shows McAuley with supporters, before attending the office, holding the removed meter and stating that the device had been “spiking” at a “dangerous radio frequency radiation” level.

“As a concerned parent I had to do what I had to do,” he said before he was filmed at the front counter of the Powercor office meeting a staff member and then a manager.

McAuley did not appear in court to answer four charges that included removing an AMI meter when not licensed and exposing live parts of the meter to cause a risk.

Mr Squirrell, instructed by solicitor John Murphy, for Energy Safe Victoria, told Magistrate John Doherty that recently a similar offender was fined with an order to pay about $15,000 costs.


Smart Meters Ripping Off Customers?

Smart Meters Ripping Off Customers?

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome


Smart water meters used in the Chicago suburb Tinley Park are overcharging customers, according to an investigation by the Chicago Tribune.

The probe found that the meters, which the village bought for $1.8 million, “regularly overstate how much water has gone through them, resulting in overcharges.”

The village has failed to adequately address the problem, according to the investigation.

“When the village found bad meters, it repeatedly did not fully refund residents. It has tried to explain away the problem in ways contradicted by its own records, including understating by at least half the number of overbilling meters it has documented. And those records lack details on how thousands more meters have failed — making it impossible to determine the true number of meters the village has discovered with the problem,” the report said.

Bob Soga, a retired Public Works employee, summarized the situation like this: “This was a disaster from the first day.” Officials downplayed the extent of the problem, saying it is isolated and insignificant. They said they catch most errors.

“The meters don’t overcharge. They misrecord what’s going through,” said Public Works Director Dale Schepers. Officials “don’t just take the numbers and send out bills and then, you know, actually overcharge people.”

Here are a few additional findings from the Tribune investigation, per Patch, which noted that $90,000 has been refunded to customers:

  • at least 355 meters were issuing faulty readings, more than twice the number the village told residents about
  • residents say they have a difficult time getting the village to acknowledge the overcharges, as long as 16 months in one case
  • when the village discovers faulty meters, it hasn’t issued accurate refunds
  • village records lack details on meter failures, which could number in the thousands

The village issued a statement in response to the investigation, noting that it is considering an audit of its water meters:

The Village of Tinley Park is aware of the questions raised about its water meters and billing procedures, and staff is in the process of seeking input from the Village Board on the possibility of utilizing one or more independent, external experts to review its water meters and billing procedures.

“Our goal is to reinforce the confidence Tinley Park citizens have in their government, and an independent study has the potential to do that,” Acting Mayor David G. Seaman said. “We want to make sure the study reviews our water meter and billing system from top to bottom, and we want them to make recommendations on best practices where appropriate.”

Image credit: “The Detective,” paurian © 2009, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/


Why Smart Meters Don’t Make A Smart Grid

Why Smart Meters Don’t Make A Smart Grid

Credit: Stephanie Joyce / Wyoming Public Media

Power transmission lines march across the Shirley Basin in central Wyoming in this undated photo.

On an overcast Florida afternoon five years ago, standing in front of an array of solar panels, President Barack Obama pledged to modernize the nation’s power grid. He compared its current state to the road system before interstate highways.

“It was a tangled maze of poorly maintained back roads that were rarely the fastest or the most efficient way to get from point A to point B,” Obama said.

Credit: White House

President Obama announcing $3.4 billion in stimulus funds to modernize the electric grid, Oct. 27, 2009.

On that Friday, Obama promised $3.4 billion dollars of stimulus money from the 2009 Recovery Act to do for power what the Eisenhower administration did for the roads. The new grid would be smart and efficient, bringing the tech revolution to electricity. It would incorporate more renewable energy. It would have the ability to fix blackouts more quickly. And, it would save customers a whole lot of money.

So whatever happened to that plan?

In practice, the President’s lofty goals have taken shape mostly in the form of a technology called smart meters. Like a FitBit for your house, the meters collect data about a home’s electricity use several times an hour and then send that data to your power company. In his Florida speech, Obama declared they would lay the foundation for a modern grid—and be good for customers too.

“Coupled with other technologies, this is going to help you manage your electricity use and your budget at the same time,” Obama said.

Those are things Cole Manlove would like to do. He’s a high school math teacher, married with two kids — an average American guy. He is also a customer of Cheyenne Light Fuel and Power, which like many other utilities, received stimulus money to install smart meters for all of its nearly 40,000 customers.

At his house on a recent snowy spring afternoon, I told him about smart meters and he pulled out his electricity bill to see what kind of information it contained about his electricity use. Not much. The bill displayed a graph of his family’s month-to-month usage, but nothing to indicate the availability of the treasure trove of data promised by Obama. So, Manlove decided to call up his utility and ask: Was there somewhere else he could access that data?

The young man who answered the call was helpful, if perhaps slightly surprised by Manlove’s interest. It turned out that Manlove could log onto the Cheyenne Light Fuel and Power website to see his electricity use, by the hour. Initially, that seemed exciting, at least for a math teacher.

“I can go on it and see my peak usage during the day and maybe I can adjust my power usage. That would be cool,” Manlove said. After looking at the data though, he was less enthused. “[I] was expecting more. [It’s] the bare minimum on daily usage. That’s it,” he said later.

Even so, just accessing the data puts Manlove in a very select crowd — just 5 percent of all Cheyenne Light Fuel and Power’s customers have looked at their usage on the website.

Smart meters may not have delivered the promised revolution for customers, but they’ve proven a boon for the utility companies.

“For the past 128 years or 129 years, we’ve been going out and manually reading meters,” said Matt Seidel who is charge of the Utility of the Future vision for Black Hills Corporation, which owns Cheyenne Light Fuel and Power. “Now we’re able to gather significantly improved data.”

Moreover, Seidel notes that the smart meters save the company money by eliminating the need for human meter readers. Moreover, smart meters let the the utility know quickly when there’s an outage, instead of depending on a customer phone call as in the past. When it comes to the bigger goals outlined by Obama, though, like transforming how we receive and consume energy, Seidel is less sure.

“As far as what we can and can’t do with it, I think we’re still in the infancy stages of seeing that,” Seidel said.

Therein lies the rub. The government spent a lot of the stimulus money on installing hardware—the smart meters—but focused less attention on the next steps, like making sure that that hardware would be useful for customers and integrating the data into the operations of the entire grid. Which is not to say there isn’t enormous potential.

“People talk about the internet of things, and what the smart grid is really about is the internet of energy,” says Tom Seibel, CEO of C3 Energy, a company that helps utilities use all the new data they’ve collected from devices like smart meters.

But such a web is still a long way off. It requires huge, systemic changes to the way utilities work, and right now, there’s little business incentive to make those changes in the absence of government grants.

If all smart meters accomplish, though, is cutting costs for utilities and telling us when the power is out, then maybe the smart grid isn’t so smart after all.

Credit: Corporation for Public Broadcasting

This story was produced by Inside Energy, part of a collaborative reporting project made possible by a grant from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

http://www.kpbs.org/news/2015/jun/16/why-smart-meters-dont-make-smart-grid/ation for Public Broadcasting.