SAUDI ARABIA-New study links cell phone tower radiation to diabetes

Arab News

Wednesday, 30 December 2015 | 19 Rabi’ul Awwal 1437 AH

New study links cell phone tower radiation to diabetes



Smart meters have failed, melted and caused fires in British Columbia. While BC Hydro continues to deny that these devices pose risk of fires, Underwriters Laboratory admits it in its introduction of a “voluntary” standard:

… design flaws in smart meter units have been known to cause serious fire hazards and spotty performance. This has caused a lot of concern for utilities and manufacturers of smart meters.”

It is doubtful that the “voluntary” certification will address all of the fire-causing features of these devices which are mandated by the BC Liberals for every home and business. For example, legal testimony in Texas stated that the smart meters do not fit properly into the  meter base, a base that was certified to hold an analog and nothing else. The smart meters’ blades leave a gap which causes arcing and fires.

“Childers explained that part of the problem was a loose connection between the meter and the meter base because the smart meters had thinner “blades” than the previous analog meters. (JD slip op. at 12, LL 36-38; Tr. 265, LL. 3-6).  Childers told Reed that the loose connection caused heat, which, in turn, caused an electrical arc, which resulted in “two pallets of burned up meters” in CenterPoint’s meter shop. (Tr. 265, LL. 13-22).”  (  pg. 8)  

The meters used by Houston’s CenterPoint Utility are the very same model, ITRON Openway,  used by BC Hydro and FortisBC. ( )

Months ago BC Utilities Commission (BCUC), BC Hydro, Energy Minister Bill Bennett,  and BC Hydro critic Adrian Dix were given this information and more,  yet these fire hazards remain on our homes.

What more is needed to have these meters declared defective? Why are the BC Liberals, the BCUC, and the utility companies playing Russian roulette with our safety?


Motion for Reconsideration Filed with Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct

Motion for Reconsideration Filed with Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct
Information & Perspective by Warren Woodward
Sedona, Arizona ~ December 30, 2015

Last November I filed a complaint with the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct regarding two Maricopa County Superior Court judges involved in my appeal of the Arizona Corporation Commission’s “smart” meter decision made earlier in the year.

In my opinion, the judge in my case (Judge McClennen, someone with previous ethics violations) acted unethically by doing the work of the Defendants by asking me to prove jurisdiction. I tried to change judges but was incorrectly denied that option by Superior Court Presiding Judge Warner.

Last week I received notice that the Arizona Commission on Judicial Conduct dismissed my complaint against the two judges, finding “no evidence of ethical misconduct” or that the judges violated the Code of Judicial Conduct.

Total nonsense!

Actually, five Rules of the Code plus a Section of the Arizona Constitution were violated. So yesterday I filed a Motion for Reconsideration with the Commission on Judicial Conduct.

Here’s what I wrote:

Motion for Reconsideration of Commission Order re Complaint 15-320

           Under Commission Rule 23(b)(1) I ask that you reconsider your Order dismissing my Complaint # 15-320.

In my opinion you have shirked your responsibility, and are not paying attention to either the Arizona Constitution or the Code of Judicial Conduct.

           I looked up Article 6.1 of the Arizona Constitution that you mentioned. You could actually retire both Judge McClennen and Judge Warner if you had the resolve to do what’s right.

Article 6.1, Section 4. On recommendation of the commission on judicial conduct, the supreme court may retire a judge for disability that seriously interferes with the performance of his duties and is or is likely to become permanent, and may censure, suspend without pay or remove a judge for action by him that constitutes wilful misconduct in office, wilful and persistent failure to perform his duties, habitual intemperance or conduct prejudicial to the administration of justice that brings the judicial office into disrepute.

           McClennen’s and Warner’s conduct was “prejudicial,” and as far as I am concerned their offices are in disrepute as a result. Others I know feel the same way, that McClennen and Warner have brought disrepute upon their “judicial office.” In fact many see it as “business as usual.”

           You said the judges did not violate the Code of Judicial Conduct. Nonsense!

RULE 1.1. Compliance with the Law
A judge shall comply with the law, including the Code of Judicial Conduct.

           Warner did not comply with the law. I should have been granted a new judge. McClennen did not even understand the law under which I was appealing. And neither of them were in compliance with other Rules in the Code of Judicial Conduct.

To wit:

RULE 2.2. Impartiality and Fairness
A judge shall uphold and apply the law, and shall perform all duties of judicial office fairly and impartially.

McClennen was not being impartial or fair by doing the work of the Defendants. Warner was not being impartial or fair by backing McC and not letting me change judges, and by not even getting the case law right (which I proved to you previously).

RULE 2.3. Bias, Prejudice, and Harassment
(A) A judge shall perform the duties of judicial office, including administrative duties, without bias or prejudice.

           Of course McClennen was biased, else he would not have done the Defendants’ work! Of course Warner was biased, else he would not have backed McClennen.

RULE 2.5. Competence, Diligence, and Cooperation
(A) A judge shall perform judicial and administrative duties competently, diligently, and promptly.

           McClennen, by doing the work of the Defendants and by not understanding the law under which I was appealing, was neither competent nor diligent. Warner, by not allowing me to change judges and not knowing the law thereof, was neither competent nor diligent.

RULE 2.15. Responding to Judicial and Lawyer Misconduct
(A) A judge having knowledge that another judge has committed a violation of this code that raises a substantial question regarding the judge’s honesty, trustworthiness, or fitness as a judge in other respects
shall inform the appropriate authority.

(C) A judge who receives information indicating a substantial likelihood that another judge has committed a violation of this code shall take appropriate action.

           I showed Warner that McClennen was biased by doing the work of the Defendants but he did not “inform the appropriate authority” or “take appropriate action.” According to this Rule, he should have been the one to file a complaint, not me!

So that’s five Rules plus the Arizona Constitution that were violated, and you are telling me in your Order that the judges did nothing wrong? You need to reconsider, or explain how a judge doing the work of the Defendants is ethical, or how another judge covering up for that judge is ethical, or how it’s ethical for either one of them to sit on the bench and not know the law.


Warren Woodward

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BC Hydro Supreme Court battle over smart meters begins

BC Hydro Supreme Court battle over smart meters begins

by Kenny Mason

Posted Dec 7, 2015 6:57 pm PST

(iStock Photo)

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – A Supreme Court battle between BC Hydro and a group concerned with radiation emitting technology began today.

Director of the Coalition Against Smart Meters, Sharon Noble, is concerned about some of the health risks associated with the radiation emitted from these meters.

There are similar kinds of radiation from common items, but Noble says with those, there’s at least a choice.

“I choose not to have a WiFi modem, I choose not to use a cell phone, I choose not to have a cordless phone, but I haven’t been given a choice about having a smart meter.”

Noble says this case is directly related to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and 96 per cent of customers are not able to opt out.

“If we allow BC Hydro to trample on our freedoms, it sets a very dangerous precedent for the next time the government decides it wants to do something like this.”

The case is scheduled to run through Friday.

AP Investigation: US power grid vulnerable to foreign hacks

EXCERPT:….The hackers have gained access to an aging, outdated power system. Many of the substations and equipment that move power across the U.S. are decrepit and were never built with network security in mind; hooking the plants up to the Internet over the last decade has given hackers new backdoors in. Distant wind farms, home solar panels, smart meters and other networked devices must be remotely monitored and controlled, which opens up the broader system to fresh points of attack.


AP Investigation: US power grid vulnerable to foreign hacks

2015-12-27T07:31:00Z AP Investigation: US power grid vulnerable to foreign hacksThe Associated Press The Associated Press
December 27, 2015 7:31 am  • 

SAN JOSE — Security researcher Brian Wallace was on the trail of hackers who had snatched a California university’s housing files when he stumbled into a larger nightmare: Cyberattackers had opened a pathway into the networks running the United States power grid.

Digital clues pointed to Iranian hackers. And Wallace found that they had already taken passwords, as well as engineering drawings of dozens of power plants, at least one with the title “Mission Critical.” The drawings were so detailed that experts say skilled attackers could have used them, along with other tools and malicious code, to knock out electricity flowing to millions of homes.

Wallace was astonished. But this breach, The Associated Press has found, was not unique.

About a dozen times in the last decade, sophisticated foreign hackers have gained enough remote access to control the operations networks that keep the lights on, according to top experts who spoke only on condition of anonymity due to the sensitive nature of the subject matter.

The public almost never learns the details about these types of attacks — they’re rarer but also more intricate and potentially dangerous than data theft. Information about the government’s response to these hacks is often protected and sometimes classified; many are never even reported to the government.

These intrusions have not caused the kind of cascading blackouts that are feared by the intelligence community. But so many attackers have stowed away in the largely investor-owned systems that run the U.S. electric grid that experts say they likely have the capability to strike at will.

And that’s what worries Wallace and other cybersecurity experts most.

“If the geopolitical situation changes and Iran wants to target these facilities, if they have this kind of information it will make it a lot easier,” said Robert M. Lee, a former U.S. Air Force cyberwarfare operations officer. “It will also help them stay quiet and stealthy inside.”

In 2012 and 2013, in well-publicized attacks, Russian hackers successfully sent and received encrypted commands to U.S. public utilities and power generators; some private firms concluded this was an effort to position interlopers to act in the event of a political crisis. And the Department of Homeland Security announced about a year ago that a separate hacking campaign, believed by some private firms to have Russian origins, had injected software with malware that allowed the attackers to spy on U.S. energy companies.

“You want to be stealth,” said Lillian Ablon, a cybersecurity expert at the RAND Corporation. “That’s the ultimate power, because when you need to do something you are already in place.”

The hackers have gained access to an aging, outdated power system. Many of the substations and equipment that move power across the U.S. are decrepit and were never built with network security in mind; hooking the plants up to the Internet over the last decade has given hackers new backdoors in. Distant wind farms, home solar panels, smart meters and other networked devices must be remotely monitored and controlled, which opens up the broader system to fresh points of attack.

Hundreds of contractors sell software and equipment to energy companies, and attackers have successfully used those outside companies as a way to get inside networks tied to the grid.

Attributing attacks is notoriously tricky. Neither U.S. officials nor cybersecurity experts would or could say if the Islamic Republic of Iran was involved in the attack Wallace discovered involving Calpine Corp., a power producer with 82 plants operating in 18 states and Canada.

Private firms have alleged other recent hacks of networks and machinery tied to the U.S. power grid were carried out by teams from within Russia and China, some with governmental support.

Even the Islamic State group is trying to hack American power companies, a top Homeland Security official told industry executives in October.

Homeland Security spokesman SY Lee said that his agency is coordinating efforts to strengthen grid cybersecurity nationwide and to raise awareness about evolving threats to the electric sector through industry trainings and risk assessments. As Deputy Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas acknowledged in an interview, however, “we are not where we need to be” on cybersecurity.

That’s partly because the grid is largely privately owned and has entire sections that fall outside federal regulation, which experts argue leaves the industry poorly defended against a growing universe of hackers seeking to access its networks.

As Deputy Energy Secretary Elizabeth Sherwood Randall said in a speech earlier this year, “If we don’t protect the energy sector, we are putting every other sector of the economy in peril.”

The Calpine breach

The AP looked at the vulnerability of the energy grid as part of a yearlong, AP-Associated Press Media Editors examination of the state of the nation’s infrastructure. AP conducted more than 120 interviews and examined dozens of sets of data, government reports and private analyses to gauge whether the industry is prepared to defend against cyberattacks.

The attack involving Calpine is particularly disturbing because the cyberspies grabbed so much, according to interviews and previously unreported documents.

Cybersecurity experts say the breach began at least as far back as August 2013, and could still be going on today.

Calpine spokesman Brett Kerr said the company’s information was stolen from a contractor that does business with Calpine. He said the stolen diagrams and passwords were old — some diagrams dated to 2002 — and presented no threat, though some outside experts disagree.

Kerr would not say whether the configuration of the power plants’ operations networks — also valuable information — remained the same as when the intrusion occurred, or whether it was possible the attackers still had a foothold.

According to the investigation, the hackers got:

—User names and passwords that could be used to connect remotely to Calpine’s networks, which were being maintained by a data security company. Even if some of the information was outdated, experts say skilled hackers could have found a way to update the passwords and slip past firewalls to get into the operations network. Eventually, they say, the intruders could shut down generating stations, foul communications networks and possibly cause a blackout near the plants.

—Detailed engineering drawings of networks and power stations from New York to California — 71 in all — showing the precise location of devices that communicate with gas turbines, boilers and other crucial equipment attackers would need to hack specific plants.

—Additional diagrams showing how those local plants transmit information back to the company’s virtual cloud, knowledge attackers could use to mask their activity. For example, one map shows how information flows from the Agnews power plant in San Jose, near the San Francisco 49ers football stadium, to the company headquarters in Houston.

Wallace first came across the breach while tracking a new strain of noxious software that had been used to steal student housing files at the University of California, Santa Barbara.

“I saw a mention in our logs that the attackers stored their malware in some FTP servers online,” said Wallace, who had recently joined the Irvine based cybersecurity firm Cylance, Inc., fresh out of college. “It wasn’t even my job to look into it, but I just thought there had to be something more there.”

Wallace started digging. Soon, he found the FTP servers, typically used to transfer large numbers of files back and forth across the Internet, and the hackers’ ill-gotten data — a tranche of more than 19,000 stolen files from thousands of computers across the world, including key documents from Calpine.

Before Wallace could dive into the files, his first priority was to track where the hackers would strike next — and try to stop them.

He started staying up nights, often jittery on Red Bull, to reverse-engineer malware. He waited to get pinged that the intruders were at it again.

Months later, Wallace got the alert: From Internet Protocol addresses in Tehran, the hackers had deployed TinyZbot, a Trojan horse-style of software that the attackers used to gain backdoor access to their targets, log their keystrokes and take screen shots of their information. The hacking group, he would find, included members in the Netherlands, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

The more he followed their trail, the more nervous Wallace got. According to Cylance, the intruders had launched digital offensives that netted information about Pakistan International Airlines, the Mexican oil giant Pemex, the Israel Institute of Technology and Navy Marine Corps Intranet, a legacy network of the U.S. military. None of the four responded to requests for comment.

Then he discovered evidence of the attackers’ most terrifying heist — a folder containing dozens of engineers’ diagrams of the Calpine power plants.

According to sources, the drawings contained user names and passwords that an intruder would need to break through a firewall separating Calpine’s communications and operations networks, then move around in the network where the turbines are controlled. The schematics also displayed the locations of devices inside the plants’ process control networks that receive information from power-generating equipment. With those details, experts say skilled hackers could have penetrated the operations network and eventually shut down generating stations, possibly causing a blackout.

Cylance researchers said the intruders stored their stolen goods on seven unencrypted FTP servers requiring no authentication to access details about Calpine’s plants. Jumbled in the folders was code that could be used to spread malware to other companies without being traced back to the attackers’ computers, as well as handcrafted software designed to mask that the Internet Protocol addresses they were using were in Iran.

Circumstantial evidence such as snippets of Persian comments in the code helped investigators conclude that Iran was the source of the attacks.

Calpine didn’t know its information had been compromised until it was informed by Cylance, Kerr said.

Iranian U.N. Mission spokesman Hamid Babaei did not return calls or address questions emailed by AP.

Cylance notified the FBI, which warned the U.S. energy sector in an unclassified bulletin last December that a group using Iran-based IP addresses had targeted the industry.

Whether there was any connection between the Iranian government and the individual hackers who Wallace traced — with the usernames parviz, Alireza, Kaj, Salman Ghazikhani and Bahman Mohebbi — is unknown.

A ‘lucrative’ target

Cyberattacks designed to steal information are steadily growing in scope and frequency; there have been high-profile hacks of Target, eBay and federal targets such as the U.S. Office of Personnel Management. But assaults on the power grid and other critical infrastructure aim to go a step further.

Trained, well-funded adversaries can gain control of physical assets — power plants, substations and transmission equipment. With extensive control, they could knock out the electricity vital to daily life and the economy, and endanger the flow of power to mass transportation, military installations and home refrigerators.

In the summer of 2014, a hacker of unknown origin, using masking software called Tor, took over the controls of a large utility’s wind farm, according to a former industry compliance official who reviewed a report that was scrubbed of the utility’s name. The hacker then changed an important setting, called the automatic voltage regulator, from “automatic” to “manual,” he said.

That seemingly simple change to any power plant can damage the generator and destabilize parts of the nearby grid if the plant’s output is high enough.

Last year, Homeland Security released several maps that showed a virtual hit list of critical infrastructure, including two substations in the Bay area, water and gas pipelines and a refinery. And according to a previously reported study by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, a coordinated attack on just nine critical power stations could cause a coast-to-coast blackout that could last months, far longer than the one that plunged the Northeast into darkness in 2003.

“The grid is a tough target, but a lucrative target,” said Keith Alexander, the former director of the National Security Agency who now runs a cybersecurity firm. The number of sophisticated attacks is growing, he said. “There is a constant, steady upbeat. I see a rising tide.”

No one claims that it would be easy to bring down the grid. To circumvent companies’ security, adversaries must understand the networks well enough to write code that can communicate with tiny computers that control generators and other major equipment. Even then, it’s difficult to cause a widespread blackout because the grid is designed to keep electricity flowing when equipment or lines go down, an almost daily occurrence that customers never see.

Because it would take such expertise to plunge a city or region into darkness, some say threats to the grid are overstated — in particular, by those who get paid to help companies protect their networks. Still, even those who said the risks of cyber threats can be exaggerated agree it is possible for cyberattackers to cause a large-scale blackout.

And nearly everyone agrees that there are weaknesses that open the door to malefactors.

Traditional central power stations and transmission systems include equipment that is decades old and physically unable to handle electronic threats. Some run on machines that use software that is so old that malware protections don’t exist, such as Windows ‘95 and FORTRAN, a programming language developed in the 1950s.

At the Tennessee Valley Authority, a corporation owned by the federal government that powers 9 million households in the southeastern U.S., a former operations security expert said in recent years he saw passwords for some key operating systems stored on sticky notes.

“Some of the control systems boot off of floppy disks,” said Patrick Miller, who has evaluated hydroelectric dam cybersecurity for the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation and Army Corps of Engineers. “Some dams have modeling systems that run on something that looks like a washing machine hooked up to tape spools. It looks like the early NASA stuff that went to the moon.”

The rush to tie smart meters, home programmable thermostats and other smart appliances to the grid also is causing fresh vulnerabilities.

About 45 percent of homes in the U.S. are hooked up to a smart meter, which measures electricity usage and shares information with the grid. The grid uses that information to adjust output or limit power deliveries to customers during peak hours.

Those meters are relatively simple by design, mostly to keep their cost low, but their security is flimsy. Some can be hacked by plugging in an adapter that costs $30 on eBay, researchers say.

FERC recently raised concerns about another area that is not covered by federal cybersecurity rules: contractors that sell energy companies software and equipment. As is evident from the Calpine incident, attackers have used outside companies to pull off hacks against energy companies.

“We’ve got these vulnerable systems out there that are old and never had security built into them, and now we’re exposing them to a wider audience,” said Justin Lowe, a utility cybersecurity expert at PA Consulting Group.

“That wider audience is getting much more hostile.”

Defending the grid

The full extent of the attacks on the grid is not public knowledge. A Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request by the AP for information regarding any FBI investigations of such hacks was not fulfilled. The Department of Justice said that agency kept no record of how often any such cases had been prosecuted.

The North American Electric Reliability Corporation, which oversees the reliability of the electrical sector, collects information about cyber incidents involving utilities and other users, owners, and operators of the bulk power system — but it is scrubbed of identifying information and details are confidential and exempt from disclosure under FOIA.

Authorities say they take the threat seriously. In response to an FOIA request, Homeland Security said it had helped more than 100 energy and chemical companies improve their cyber defenses, and held both classified and unclassified briefings in June 2013 and late 2014 on threats to companies associated with power grid operations.

A small Homeland Security team compiles statistics about hacks and vulnerabilities on control systems powering the grid and other public infrastructure, and responds to some attacks. But former federal employees who spoke on the condition of anonymity because the information was sensitive said government red tape kept the team from thoroughly responding to the smaller municipal and rural utilities that most needed their help, and that the statistics overstated the agency’s grasp of the problem.

The companies themselves say they are vigilant — though they caution no fortifications are foolproof.

Early this year, an operations supervisor in Virginia for a subsidiary of American Electric Power (AEP) — the nation’s largest power grid operator, with operations in 38 states — opened a personal email on a company laptop and unwittingly downloaded a piece of malware called CryptoLocker.

Known as “ransomware,” CryptoLocker is a relatively common type of malware that reaches to outside servers, usually overseas, and downloads encryption instructions that scramble a computer’s contents, making them inaccessible to anyone without a specific “key.” The malware then moves through a computer — and computer network — and encrypts all the files it can, keeping users from accessing anything.

In exchange for a fee, the hackers provide the victim a key that allows the files to be unlocked.

Members of AEP’s cyber-security team — housed in the company’s Columbus, Ohio, headquarters behind an unmarked door that unlocks with a fingerprint scanner — saw the strange network behavior as soon as it started.

“When you see this (code) attempting to hit thousands of systems outside of the AEP network, that’s a ‘holy crap’ moment,” said Sean Parcel, AEP’s lead cyberinvestigator.

Had CryptoLocker wormed its way into AEP’s system, the business and operations networks could have locked up, experts say.

But Parcel said AEP’s cyberteam already had blocked the foreign addresses that the malware needed to reach to start encrypting files, part of a policy of systematically blocking hundreds of Internet Protocol addresses each week to keep employees from inadvertently downloading malicious code.

AEP said the team remotely isolated and erased the supervisor’s computer before its systems were affected.

Like most big utilities, AEP’s power plants, substations and other vital equipment are managed by a network that is separated from the company’s business software with layers of authentication, and is not accessible via the Internet. Creating that separation, and making sure that separation is maintained, is among the most important things utilities can do to protect the grid’s physical assets.

But cybersecurity experts say the protective gaps between computer systems that manage utilities’ business operations and machines that manage their grids are not always as wide or as unbridgeable as utilities say they are. And even the utilities’ own experts, who maintain it would be extraordinarily difficult for a hacker to knock out power to customers, admit there is always a way in.

“If the motivation is high enough on the attacker side, and they have funding to accomplish their mission,” Parcel said, “they will find a way.”

NEW MEXICO-Problems with city’s new ‘smart’ water meters generate numerous written complaints

Posted: Monday, December 28, 2015 10:45 pm | Updated: 6:53 am, Tue Dec 29, 2015.

Stanley Gairey couldn’t understand how he had gone through 2,700 gallons of water at his home in one day.

But his $400 water bill said he had.

“He claimed he was on hold with the Water Div. at the same time he was speaking to me and has been on hold for over 15 minutes,” Therese Prada of the city’s Office of Constituent Services wrote in a Nov. 16 email to Diana Catanach, the utility billing director. “He also mentioned that this happened right after the new meter was installed (he was very unhappy).”

Gairey’s complaint is among more than two dozen logged in writing against the city’s Utility Billing Division in the last six months, about the same time the city started to replace defective meters with a new “smart” meter-reading system.

The New Mexican first reported a spike in complaints over water bills last month, most of which stemmed from the installation of new water meters. But the complaint documents, including one laced with profanity, illustrate a deep level of frustration felt by utility customers over a range of issues beyond billing errors, including unusually long wait times over the phone, failures to notify customers about service cutoffs and the City Council’s practice of siphoning money from water ratepayers in recent years to shore up the general fund.

“The water folks did a terrible job regarding notification of homeowners about replacing water meters with ‘smart’ meters. Our water went off in the middle of the afternoon, and I had no idea whether it was a problem in our house or from the street,” Craig Campbell wrote in an email to City Councilor Joseph Maestas, who told Campbell he was also “disappointed” in the lack of notification.

“Secondly,” Campbell added, “I am in the camp that believes the Water Department should have been required to return at least 50 percent of the huge overcharge rather than assign it to other City functions. Probably too late to affect that situation, but there should have been clear evidence of the overcharge LONG ago.”

Gairey, who got a $400 water bill, echoed a similar sentiment, saying in a telephone interview that he has no faith in the people running the Water Division.

“I just don’t trust the people running that damn place,” he said. “The other thing that really frosts my [obsenity] is that they’re overcharging the hell for water and then they’re taking it to run other city divisions. … The city, under David Coss, he was a bleeding freaking heart, they’ve should’ve gotten rid of the damn managers who couldn’t maintain their damn budgets and they would’ve nipped the problem in the bud.”

Gairey said he had “a situation” years ago in which his water meter wasn’t working properly despite denials from the Water Division. At his insistence, the water meter was changed, and “everything was fine,” he said.

“I can go on and on and on, but when I start talking about it, I get really pissed off because it’s a bureaucratic freaking nightmare,” he said.

Like Gairey, other water customers also complained about wait times on the phone.

“I’m a lifelong Santa Fe resident and this … is ridiculous,” Thomas Griego wrote in a profanity-laced email Nov. 18. “Someone in this city department better learn a thing or two about customer service, and answer the [obscenity] phone in a decent amount of time.”

Amanda Vigil, the customer service representative who received Griego’s email, forwarded it to Catanach.

“I believe this needs to be taken care of at your level,” she wrote.

Last month, Nick Schiavo, the city’s public utilities director, said the Water Division was dealing with a spike in complaints, many of which were tied to the installation of the new water meters. The influx of complaints, plus a staffing shortage, created longer wait times on the phone, a problem that persists.

Schiavo, who on Monday referred questions about the complaints to Catanach, said last month that the new Badger Meter Inc. devices are much more accurate than the old meters, giving a true reading of customers’ water usage. In cases in which customers’ bills are much higher than normal, Schiavo said, the old and defective Firefly data-transmitting devices have been “underreading for months.” After the new meters are installed, the system “is trying to true up that read,” he said.

That’s what happened in Gairey’s case, Catanach said in an interview.

When his meter was exchanged Oct. 6, the new meter did a “catch-up read,” she said.

“He was billed for 16,900 gallons,” she said, adding that the city adjusted his bill based on last year’s rate.

“It was underreading for a few months, so we went back and did an adjustment based on last year’s read,” she said.

Gairey didn’t believe his bill was accurate even after it dropped to about $187, but he paid it anyway.

“I still think that was probably $100 too high, but I was tired of arguing,” he said.

The complaints against the Utility Billing Division, obtained by The New Mexican under an open-records request, raise a host of concerns from various people, including City Council candidate Marie Campos, who said in May that her water bill had doubled. In an email to Schiavo, Campos said her attempts to the get the problem resolved at the Water Division offices were fruitless.

“There must be an error in the meters or when the company was working on Maez Rd created a problem,” Campos wrote. “I do not own a hot tub, swimming pool or have a major leak. I don’t water my lawn, there are not more household members or any reason for my water bill to double.”

Campos also complained about lack of notification, saying the water was turned off and on “without warning,” as well as problems with the water once it had been turned back on.

“A number of people in our neighborhood have broken out in rashes, including myself,” she wrote.

Schiavo forwarded Campos’ complaint to Catanach, who promised to send field techs to her home “to get a read as well as checking for consumption that could detect a leak.”

Two days later, Campos contacted Catanach again.

“I have not heard back from you, and just found a cut-off notice posted on my fence,” Campos wrote May 14.

On July 21, Campos received another cut-off notice, according to city emails.

Catanach apologized for the delay, writing that she thought the issue had been resolved.

“I am going to halt disconnect proceedings right now, and I am going to allow an adjust to the lower tier of consumption for the January and February 2015 bills and I will remove the finance charges that have occurred,” she wrote.

Some complaints were resolved right away.

After Frans Trouw received a bill six times higher than normal after his water meter was replaced, he asked the city to investigate “this rather large discrepancy.”

“The bill is for my residence, and it is hard for me to see how my wife and I … could possible [sic] have used 31,500 gallons in one month, which is about 40 gallons an hour,” he wrote.

In an interview, Trouw said the Water Division responded “right away.”

“They explained to me that the meter had been not reporting properly for quite a while. So, we looked back through our records and it all made sense,” he said. “It was just unfortunate that it took them a while to fix it, that’s all.”

Catanach said about half the complaints logged against the Water Division were valid. But many of the customers who complained that their bills were too high were responsible.

“The reason their bill is so high is just because of nonpayment,” she said. “They just haven’t even paid the bill for the last three or four months.”

Catanach said the Water Division saw a bump in complaints following newspaper reports about billing and other issues.

“All of a sudden, we got everybody in here,” she said.

The complaints have since tapered down.

Catanach asked customers to be “patient and understanding.”

“I hate to put it this way, but a lot of times people will come in yelling and screaming at staff who are really trying to help them,” she said. “If they could just be patient with us, we certainly are willing to help reach resolution. I’d say 90 percent of our customers, if not more, leave happy.”

PRESS RELEASE: Global Union Against Radiation Deployment from Space

Global Union Against Radiation Deployment from Space

For Immediate Release

Date: December 27, 2015

Contact: Ed Friedman,Maine USA, 207-666-3372 Catherine Kleiber,Wisconsin USA, 920-478-9696
Marcey Kliparchuk, Edmonton,AB, Canada, 780-760-0872

Past Congressional Corruption Jeopardizes American Health Today

Technology, aerospace, and telecommunications corporations are all rushing to saturate the planet with microwave radiation—a class 2B carcinogen.Microwave radiation is the invisible platform that allows modern wireless devices, including cellphones and WiFi to communicate. Microwave (MW) radiation is part of the radio frequency (RF) portion of the electromagnetic spectrum.

A citizen action group—Global Union Against Radiation Deployment from Space (GUARDS)—

contends that these projects, which include projects by SpaceX, Facebook, and Google’s Project

Loon, violate important human rights conventions due to the serious biological effects and involuntary nature of exposures.

Projects to launch and replace thousands of satellites to provide worldwide Internet service will blanket the earth with harmful pulsed microwave radiation, destroy ozone and worsen climate change due to the emission of black soot from so many rockets. Combined with the detrimental environmental effects RF radiation has on both flora and fauna, including bees, these global wireless projects are predicted lead to environmental devastation and even widespread starvation.

RF radiation limits are now the sole responsibility of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), which is the subject of a recent report published by Harvard University’s Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics—Captured Agency: How the Federal Communications Commission Is Dominated by the Industries It Presumably Regulates by NormAlster. On February 7, 2014, in reference to these very RF radiation limits, the U.S. Department of Interior (DOI) stated, “the electromagnetic radiation standards used by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) continue to be based on thermal heating, a criterion now nearly 30 years out of date and inapplicable today.” This is unfortunate for the American public, but not surprising, since the FCC is not a health and safety agency and has no in-house personnel qualified to research and set RF radiation safety limits.

In 1993, the Environmental ProtectionAgency (EPA) wrote a scathing criticism of the FCC’s proposed RF/MWradiation limits . In June 1995, the EPA announced to the FCC that it would be releasing its own RF/MWradiation safety limits in early 1996. An internal EPAmemorandum regarding a meeting with the FCC and the NTIA makes it clear that the EPA was also initiating a process to develop initial

regulations pertaining to chronic RF/MWradiation exposures and non-thermal RF/MWradiation effects within a two-year time frame. But, after industry lobbying, on September 13, 1995 the EPA Radiation Division that drafted the regulations was de-funded by the SenateAppropriations Committee, which also

wrote, “The Committee believes EPA should not engage in EMF a

In 1996, telecom industry lobbyists succeeded in getting The 1996 Telecommunications Act passed. This Act prohibited states, municipalities and citizens from objecting to the placement and construction of wireless communications facilities (antennas) for reasons of health or the environment and assigned the FCC to be the sole regulator of “safety” related to wireless RF/MWradiation-emitting technology.

It is time for Congress to take their responsibility to protect the health and environmental security of Americans seriously and to put the EPA in charge of setting RF radiation safety limits that will truly protect the American public. Congress must stop these dangerous projects that intend to irradiate the entire continent with RF radiation before they start. Non-wireless Internet and communication technologies are available and can always be improve.” said Marcey Kliparchuk a spokesperson for GUARDS.

In the years since the EPA was prevented from developing biologically-based RF radiation exposure limits, millions of Americans have begun to experience effects that are well documented in the medical literature to result from exposure to radiation emitted by wireless technology—including headache, sleepiness, cognitive impairment, fatigue, depression, anxiety, facial flushing, skin rash, asthma, cardiac arrhythmia, easy bruising, infertility, insomnia, neurological disease and cancers (breast, lung, brain, lymphoma, leukemia, melanoma, and others).

In the culmination of a process begun in 1999, The National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences finally contracted in August 2005 to have toxicology research performed to assess the cancer risk and other biological effects of wireless radiation in lab animals. The results have still not been released years after completion of the research.

Over 200 scientists researching the biological and health effects of exposure to radiation from wireless devices and other sources of EMF have submitted a formal Appeal to the United Nations because “Numerous recent scientific publications have shown that EMF affects living organisms at levels well below most international and national guidelines. Effects include increased cancer risk, cellular stress, increase in harmful free radicals, genetic damages, structural and functional changes of the reproductive system, learning and memory deficits, neurological disorders, and negative impacts on general well-being in humans. Damage goes well beyond the human race, as there is growing evidence of harmful effects to both plant and animal life.”

GUARDS is an international coalition of diverse groups that have joined together in order to stop the implementation of global WiFi from space, which threatens all life on earth.

# # #


Global Union Against Radiation Deployment from Space (GUARDS)

CapturedAgency: How the Federal Communications Commission Is Dominated by the Industries It Presumably Regulates

Department of Interior on FCC RF limits

EPA comment about proposed FCC RF limits

EPA letter to FCC

EPA internal RF safety limits memorandum

SilentWireless Spring Microwave News – Institute of Environmental Health Secrets: NIEHS Mum on $25 Million RF Animal Project http://

EMF ScientistsAppeal to the United Nations


Regulators hire lawyer to serve as ‘ethics officer’

But what they really need is a moral compass!

Regulators hire lawyer to serve as ‘ethics officer’

, The Republic | 2:34 p.m. MST December 28, 2015
PNI regulators calendars
(Photo: Tom Tingle/The Republic)

Story Highlights

  • Arizona regulators hired an attorney to serve as an ethics officer.
The Arizona Corporation Commission announced Monday the hiring of an attorney to serve as an “ethics officer,” helping the embattled agency deal with conflicts of interest and other matters, such as complying with public records laws.
The hiring comes on the heels of Chairwoman Susan Bitter Smith’s resignation amid a conflict-of-interest investigation and other regulators facing scrutiny, mostly tied to the ongoing debate over rooftop solar panel subsidies.
The commission hired Christopher Kempley, an attorney adviser for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. He is a former chief counsel for the commission from 2002 to 2008 and assistant chief counsel from 1985 to 2002.
Christopher Kempley

Christopher Kempley (Photo: Provided by the Corporation Commission)
In his new job, which will pay $130,000 annually, Kempley will serve as special counsel to the commission, an executive job that reports to director Jodi Jerich.
Kempley also will assist the five statewide regulators as they address broad public policy debates, according to the announcement.
Kempley is a member of the State Bar of Arizona, and practiced before the Federal District Court for the District of Arizona, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.
The commission rarely deals with many public records requests but had to hire outside legal assistance earlier this year amid a flurry of records requests from the media and a clean-energy group known as the Checks and Balances Project. [Actually, they would not have “had to hire outside legal assistance” if they’d just turned over the public records in Stump’s phone. Instead they hired “outside legal assistance” to try to stonewall.]
The commission reports it has spent more than $50,000 on outside legal assistance this year.
Checks and Balances has complained that many records requests have gone unanswered and continues to await the release of text messages deleted from former chairman Bob Stump’s phone. The messages were extracted after the state Attorney General got involved, and a former judge is reviewing them.
“This new position will reduce the commission’s need for outside legal counsel,” Jerich said.  “It will relieve our current legal staff of duties they have been forced to undertake that are outside their core duties.”
Kempley’s hiring came with the endorsements of former commissioners Marc Spitzer and Jeff Hatch-Miller, as well as current commissioner Doug Little.
“His experience will be an asset to all of us as we move forward with the important and often complex issues that come before the commission,”  Little said in a prepared statement.

NEW ZEALAND-Kuia worried smart meter is affecting her health

Kuia worried smart meter is affecting her health

By Dean Nathan 5:20pm, Sunday 27 December 2015
  • Northland

click on link to see video:

In the Northland region there are growing concern over the introduction of smart meters by power companies into homes. The smart meters measure power usage with some consumers experiencing a hefty rise in their power bills as well as certain illnesses believed to be caused by these machines.

Her kettle is switched on, but Marama Waddell says she’s been experiencing bad health since the installation of this new smart meter at her residence.

“It’s been affecting my body and mind and I’ve been very sick. I can’t even sleep.  Every day and every night, it’s not good and it’s not just me as I’ve spoken to other families experiencing similar problems to me’ says resident, Ms Waddell.

Due to the increased concern, her smart meter is being tested for the rate of radio frequency radiation emitting from it.

Close friend to Ms Waddell, Clare Swinney says “I think people should be aware that they do not have to accept a smart meter they’re not compulsory. The NZ safety standards unfortunately don’t protect people from the effects of these microwave radiation omitting devices.”

Te Kāea are yet to receive a reply from power companies we contacted today about the concerns over the smart meter. Even though it’s the middle of summer customers are also feeling the bite of a sharp rise in their power bills.

Former smart meter user Nellie Rata says “I’m no longer using my electric blanket because winter has long passed and yet I’ve received a hefty power bill. And I don’t want it cut off because I want to live with dignity and not have to worry about that.”

It’s a warning to do your research before agreeing to have smart meter installed at home.

In the Northland region there are growing concern over the introduction of smart meters by power companies into homes. The smart meters measure power usage with some consumers experiencing a hefty rise in their power bills as well as certain illnesses believed to be caused by these machines.

Her kettle is switched on, but Marama Waddell says she’s been experiencing bad health since the installation of this new smart meter at her residence.

“It’s been affecting my body and mind and I’ve been very sick. I can’t even sleep.  Every day and every night, it’s not good and it’s not just me as I’ve spoken to other families experiencing similar problems to me’ says resident, Ms Waddell.

Due to the increased concern, her smart meter is being tested for the rate of radio frequency radiation emitting from it.

Close friend to Ms Waddell, Clare Swinney says “I think people should be aware that they do not have to accept a smart meter they’re not compulsory. The NZ safety standards unfortunately don’t protect people from the effects of these microwave radiation omitting devices.”

Te Kāea are yet to receive a reply from power companies we contacted today about the concerns over the smart meter. Even though it’s the middle of summer customers are also feeling the bite of a sharp rise in their power bills.

Former smart meter user Nellie Rata says “I’m no longer using my electric blanket because winter has long passed and yet I’ve received a hefty power bill. And I don’t want it cut off because I want to live with dignity and not have to worry about that.”

It’s a warning to do your research before agreeing to have smart meter installed at home.

TEXAS-Bastrop implements smart meters

Some area cities that have implemented a similar automated meter reading system include Brenham, Lockhart, New Braunfels and Schertz. Smithville is considering a move to smart meters, but officials have received push back from several residents concerned with health issues, higher rate charges during high-usage times, fire hazards, personal information being stolen, potential for cyber-attacks to the electric grid and remote disconnect.


Bastrop implements smart meters