An Electronic Silent Spring – April, 2016 Newsletter from Katie Singer

From: “Katie Singer”
Date: Apr 30, 2016 1:30:33 PM
Subject: An Electronic Silent Spring – April, 2016 Newsletter from Katie Singer

An Electronic Silent Spring 
April, 2016 Newsletter from Katie Singer
I end with good news.
Children & Schools
The Environmental Health Trust has compiled a spectacular, international list of schools, unions and PTAs that have taken steps to ensure healthier school environments.
          PBS’ Education Week reported on problems with students’ privacy and security when education is digitalized. Hundreds of childrens’ Social Security Number have been stolen. School-issued computers can collect info about a child’s food preferences, friends’ names, grades, discipline records and more. Corporations can use this info to create “data-mined profiles.” There’s very little, if any, regulation of the data collected by school-issued computers.
          Randi Weingarten, president of the American Federation of Teachers, explains that Pearson (a multi-national corporation that writes software for school curricula and testing) “is becoming toxic because it promotes bad policy that puts profit over what’s good for students.” She urges parents and teachers to pressure Pearson to change course.
          “10 Reasons Why Handheld Devices Should Be Banned for Children Under the Age of 12” by occupational therapist Cris Rowan has received more than two million hits. Essentially, Rowan suggests balancing tech time with time spent outdoors, cooking, talking person-to-person, etc.–and thus, tech time is reduced. See more about Balanced Tech Management at
Preserve Proven Landlines
Californians now push back from aggressive lobbying to eliminate copper legacy landlines. Legislation to this effect may already have passed in 20 states. California Democrat Evan Low recently introduced AB2395, “Telecommunications: Replacement of Public Switched Telephone Network.” AB2395 has passed one committee in the California House. It needs to pass another committee, then move to the California Senate before it’s voted on.
          Three out of five households still have a legacy copper landline.
          “Replacement phones” include Voice Over Internet Protocols (VoIPs) such as Magic Jack, U-Verse and Skype (which require a computer with Internet access)–or a router/modem that provides phone, Internet and cable access–or a cell phone.
          What’s the problem? During a power outage, cell-phone and VoIP-dependent people can’t reach 911.
          Anyone who wants a secure (less hackable) transmission of data via a fax–i.e. a physician, patient, banker, realtor, accountant, retailer, credit-card or Social Security Number user–would want landlines maintained.
          Anyone who wants less exposure to electromagnetic radiation would want landlines maintained. Many people cannot afford and/or tolerate a computer. Router/modems apparently generate tremendous dirty power. Replacing the these “black boxes'” switch-mode power supplies with analog power supplies is tricky, even for experienced engineers; and there’s no universal recipe for doing so. Pregnant women, children, people with medical implants and EHS should not use cell phones.
          So why would telecom corporations lobby to eliminate copper legacy landlines? Copper legacy landlines are heavily regulated (i.e. taxed). Voice Over Internet Protocols are much less regulated. They provide telecom corporations with much more profitability.
          After a major power outage in March, 2016, the Anchorage Police Chief advised Alaskans, “Don’t cut the cord.”
In 2013, B. Blake Levitt wrote a telling assessment about “kissing landlines goodbye” in Connecticut.
60 Minutes recently showed how strangers can hack the phone in your pocket:
          Meanwhile, a new law will require drivers involved in an accident to give their phone to officers for analysis of texting-while driving.
We all resist changing our lifestyles and reducing our energy use.
          Steven Gorelick’s review of “This Changes Everything,” Avi Lewis’s documentary based on his wife, Naomi Klein’s book of the same title, questions environmentalists’ enthusiasm for renewables like solar and wind power.
          For an introduction to installing solar power more safely:
          For reports about how electronics and the Internet contribute to climate change:
Smart Meters
Insurance companies may soon not pay for fire damage caused by a malfunctioning “smart” meter.
          In Ohio, American Electric Power must prove that “smart” meters save customers’ money before it charges to opt out.
          New Mexico’s largest electric utility, PNM, has laid out its plans to install smart meters.
          For more info about proposed “smart” meters in NM, including a showing of Josh del Sol’s “Take Back Your Power” in Santa Fe, May 15:

Good News: Argentina’s Chamber of Deputies has presented a bill, “Minimum Prevention and Control of Electromagnetic Pollution.”  It aims to provide a regulatory framework “to radio infrastructure with radiant systems, antennas and all installations capable of generating electromagnetic radiation” in order to “ensure the protection of public health” considering “both thermal effects (and) biological.” The bill would prohibit infrastructure that radiates or generates electromagnetic fields within and less than 100 meters of green spaces, health, educational, sporting and cultural institutions with public access.
Want to read An Electronic Silent Spring?  Despite claims, the book is in print.
          If you’d like ten or more copies, I can pass on the discount that my publisher extends to me. Depending on your locale, this translates to a 30 – 35% discount in the cover price ($18), including shipping. Please contact me directly to order a box of books: katie  @  katiesinger.  com
Thanks to everyone who’s using electronics as safely as possible, reducing electronics usage and EMR-emmissions.
          Please contribute to keep this newsletter going!
          To healthier ecosystems and communities,
          Katie Singer



The ACC/APS Revolving Door
Information & Perspective by Warren Woodward
Sedona, Arizona ~ April 30, 2016

Most people who are paying attention are aware that APS is the largest corporate political donor in the state — and that’s not even including the millions in APS’s “alleged” dark money contributions.

It is widely believed that APS has bought and paid for its regulators at the Arizona Corporation Commission. APS has also made massive donations to the Arizona Attorney General and Governor. Many lesser politicians, both Democrat but mostly Republican, have also been recipients of APS largess. Anyone can go to to see where the money’s going. Technically the donations are from Pinnacle West, the APS parent company, but in my opinion that’s an insignificant difference. I am sure the people getting the money know who’s buttering their bread and what’s expected.

APS also peddles influence via its so-called “charitable” donations that also total in the millions. A city council member of one Arizona town told me he doubted any of the other council members would go against APS “because of all they do for the community.”

So here is something else to consider when pondering why the ACC staff, who are not getting APS money (that we know of, LOL), also seem to be doing the bidding of APS — perhaps it’s so they can get a job with APS after they retire from or quit the ACC.

Case in point: Former ACC Utilities Division Director Steven Olea retired last year from many years at the ACC. While at the ACC he did a great job doing APS’s bidding on the “smart” meter issue. Olea is now working for APS.

Former ACC Executive Director Ernest Johnson and Amanda Ho, ACC commissioner Bob Stump’s former policy adviser, both work for APS now.

APS lawyer Thomas Mumaw used to be Chief Hearing Officer at the ACC until he was asked to resign for being “anti-consumer.” That was back when the ACC had commissioners with integrity who were real regulators looking out for the public.

So is the prospect of a second career at APS the reason why the current ACC Utilities Director, Thomas Broderick, is in favor of APS’s new rip-off scheme, mandatory demand charges? Is he also pushing for CenturyLink’s new rip-off “facility relocation fee” to show his bona fides?

Treat ’em right and there’s another cush job waiting for you on the other side of the revolving door while you collect your “public service” pension at the same time. Is that how it works?

I am a registered Republican, but I have to say that it seems like too many Arizona Republican officeholders are corrupt cronies and ignoramuses. That often happens when any party is in control for too long.

If you are as weary as I am of the corrupt Republican establishment, consider helping the campaigns of Democrats Tom Chabin and Bill Mundell who are running for the ACC. Chabin & Mundell are running a “clean elections” campaign. That means they are not taking huge corporate donations. In order to qualify they need several thousand people to give them $5 each. You can do that at their websites. Look for the “Donate a $5 Clean Elections Qualifying Contribution” button and take it from there.

I swore off giving politicians money — any money — some time ago, but I made an exception for Chabin & Mundell after hearing them speak at a recent clean elections campaign event. I truly believe they have Arizonans’ best interests at heart and will stand up to APS and the corruption at the ACC.

Smart meters will lead to standard tariffs being increased to incentivise consumers to change

Herald Scotland

Smart meters will lead to standard tariffs being increased to incentivise consumers to change

A smart meter

A smart meter

CLAIRE Maugham writes extolling the benefits and conveniences of smart meters to consumers (“Benefits to be had from roll-out of smart meters are boundless”, Agenda, The Herald, April 28). She concentrates on the ability of smart meters to provide accurate billing information but carefully avoids mentioning what I believe is the real reason that smart meters are to be forced upon all domestic consumers by 2020.

Smart meters are necessary for the energy utilities to introduce “real-time pricing” tariffs. Under these tariffs the price of electricity (or gas) is not known in advance, but varies continuously based upon supply and demand. Put simply, the price of electricity goes up during periods of high demand (in the evening), and goes down during low demand (in the night). The price is also affected by the availability of supply: if the wind is not blowing and wind farms are producing little electricity, the price will go up further. In this way, the price of electricity can vary by a factor of two to three over the course of a single day. The idea is that before having a shower or switching on the oven or washing machine, we are supposed to check the current electricity price on our smart meter and if the price is high, delay the shower, cooking or washing until the price is lower.

Ms Maugham’s organisation’s website states only “In the future, we can look forward to being rewarded with cheaper tariffs at off-peak times. This means we will pay less to mow the lawn or run the washing machine when electricity is not in high demand” but does not mention the obverse. You can be sure that when real-time pricing tariffs are introduced, standard tariffs will be increased to incentivise consumers to change. I remain to be convinced that any of this is either a benefit or convenience for consumers.

Stuart Robb,

16 Carmelaws, Linlithgow.

I HAD a smart meter installed well over two years ago and the gas reporting element has not functioned for over a year. Whilst the electricity reporting does work the small gizmo supplied to provide me with running information on use, always reports that my target for daily usage is double my current consumption, this does not exhort me to save energy, as suggested by Claire Maugham.

As for smart technology, the current price of smart gadgets such as fridges is well beyond the reach of the vast majority of the population.

I would suggest that the only people to benefit from smart metering are the companies that make and supply the meters which have also impacted on the need for meter readers thus enabling power companies to make even greater profits.

Is this just another example of IT companies persuading the government to spend money on something of no benefit?

Bill Eadie,

55 Castle Street, Dundee.





The US Consumer Products Safety Commission (CPSC) is a federal agency that will take complaints on utility smart meters from all US states.  If you have or had smart meter electrical or fire problems CALL: (800) 638-2772  Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. ET  or submit your complaint by email.    


SmartMeterFireOwen Sound3/23/2016 Smart Meter Fire in Owen Sound, Ontario  “A smart meter caught on fire at a home in Owen Sound…A member of the family inside the home was up and noticed the lights flickering…Owen Sound Fire Prevention Officer Greg Nicol tells Bayshore Broadcasting News a number of electrical issues could have caused the fire inside the meter.”


READ full article at:


Alamo Heights Hitting Pause on “Smart” Water Meter Plan

Alamo Heights Hitting Pause on “Smart” Water Meter Plan

ALAMO HEIGHTS — Dozens of people in Alamo Heights are speaking out against a plan to bring automated “smart” water meters to their city.

One by one, the residents asked city council leaders to reconsider the plan.

Similar to CPS Energy “smart” meters, data would be collected wirelessly from meters once a month and sent to a data server.

Alamo Heights is in charge of its own water supply, but for the last several years it’s been paying the San Antonio Water System to provide meter reading services.

Now, SAWS says it wants to stop that agreement, leaving Alamo Heights to figure out a new approach.

“This is what cities are moving to,” said Alamo Heights Mayor Louis Cooper. “The days of manual read systems are pretty much extinct. We couldn’t find anyone who wanted to come in and read our meters for us.”

However, the group says they’ve done their research, and what they’ve found about the system in other cities isn’t promising.

Everybody seems to have the same complaint. That bills jump up drastically,” said concerned resident John Joseph.

At an estimated cost of $1.1 million, residents have a lot of concerns and questions.

“There were some things that weren’t even mentioned tonight. How is this going to be paid for?,” asked Joseph.

Cooper says at this time, leaders haven’t figured that out, but they’re hitting pause in favor of doing more research and they may try a pilot program.

There are other cities in our area who have smart water meters including Live Oak, Shavano Park, Schertz, and Universal City.

AEP must prove ‘smart meters’ save customers money before charging to ‘opt out’

AEP must prove ‘smart meters’ save customers money before charging to ‘opt out’


AEP Ohio began installing the advanced meters in 2009.

By Dan Gearino The Columbus Dispatch  •  Wednesday April 27, 2016 4:39 PM
American Electric Power must demonstrate the financial benefits of so-called “smart meters” before it can begin charging a fee of $24 per month to customers who opt out of using them, Ohio utility regulators ruled today.

The unanimous decision is on an application filed in June 2014, one that had been opposed by consumer advocates.

Rather than accept the proposal as written, the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio added some significant conditions.

“We find that customers should not have to pay for advanced meter opt-out service if they are not actually receiving a reduction in costs resulting from the operational efficiencies created by AEP Ohio’s gridSMART Program,” the panel said in the decision.

The case deals with a new generation of electricity meters, gradually being installed in AEP Ohio territory, which allow data to be shared between consumers and the utility. Some people have privacy concerns about the devices and say want to stick with a traditional meters.

One of the financial benefits of the meters is that AEP no longer needs to do in-person readings. However, if someone refuses to use the smart meters, the company will need to make a trip to read the meter. AEP said the opt-out will lead to a one-time cost per household of $43 and then a monthly cost of $31.80.

Following negotiations with the PUCO staff in early 2015, AEP signed onto a proposed settlement that reduces the monthly charge to $24. The one-time fee remained $43. The PUCO governing board can accept, reject or modify the recommendations of its staff.

The charges had been opposed by the Office of the Ohio Consumers’ Counsel and Ohio Partners for Affordable Energy for a variety of reasons.

For now, there is no cost to opt out. Later on, after AEP has done additional filings designed to show that consumers receive financial benefits from the meters, the utility can begin charging the fees. This step will require an additional vote by the PUCO.

AEP Ohio began installing the advanced meters with a test project in 2009, covering about 110,000 customers. In 2013, the company applied to expand the program, called gridSMART, to an additional 900,000 houses in the state. That case is awaiting a decision, and its ruling will help to determine the timetable for the start of the opt-out charge.

Parties in case did not have immediate comments.


Utilities sending legal docs to release them from liability from smart meter technology!

The legal document, below, is very telling.  What do the utilities have to worry about if the technology of which they deem to be safe and healthy?  The utilities know they cannot make those claims in writing, or they would be perjuring themselves.

The utilities are sending these legal documents to customers who have sent  to them a demand letter to remove the smart meters (preferably the demand letter Jerry Day offers for free at  A removal of any and all meters relying on radio frequency transmitting and receiving to read meters. This includes water, gas and electric.

Do not be bullied or discouraged by their lies, deflections and misinformation.  Do not deal with lower level management.  Do not waste your time talking to anyone other than the top brass and legal department.  The lower level management is trained to say there is nothing they can do.  Do not believe them. Send Jerry Day’s letter certified to the utility you are dealing with and to your regulatory agency.  This will be entered into public record.  Anything else will keep you in circles; designed to frustrate and wear you down, so that eventually you just give up. Please, do not give up.  Important to remember:  DO NOT allow them to put you on the defensive.  Ignore their lies. You don’t have to prove anything to them, the underlings.  State your demands, stick to them and in those demands ask the utilities to provide in writing studies, documentation that the technology they are using for the smart metering is 100% safe and healthy.  They will not be able to do this!!…..Sandaura



WHEREAS the undersigned (the “RELEASORS“) are a customers of Liberty Utilities (New England Natural Gas Company) Corp. d/b/a Liberty Utilities (“Company“).

AND WHEREAS on ______, the RELEASORS sent a letter to the Company and the Massachusetts Department of Public Utilities’ Consumer Division raising certain issues and claims regarding an encoder receiver transmitter (“ERT”) device on the gas meter at the RELEASORS’ premises at_______________(the “Allegations“).


FOR AND IN CONSIDERATION the Company’s removal of the ERT device from the gas meter at RELEASORS’ premises at ________________and of the payment of the sum of One Dollar ($1.00) by Company to the RELEASORS, the receipt and sufficiency of which is hereby acknowledged, the RELEASORS hereby for themselves, their heirs, executors and administrators:

(i) remise, release and forever discharge Company and its affiliates and their respective officers, directors, partners, shareholders, employees, agents, successors, administrators, executors and assigns (herein referred to as the “RELEASEES“) of and from any and all actions, causes of action, suits, debts, dues, accounts, costs, legal costs, contracts, claims and demands of every nature or kind which the RELEASORS and, as applicable, the RELEASORS’ heirs, executors and administrators at any time hereafter can, shall or may have in any way arising or resulting from any cause, matter, or anything whatsoever existing as to the present time, and in particular, but without restricting the generality of the foregoing, of and from all claims whatsoever arising out of the Allegations;

(ii) agree not to make any claim or take proceedings against any person or corporation who might claim contribution or indemnity under provisions of any statute or otherwise;

(iii) agree that the said payment, actions or otherwise do not constitute an admission of liability on the part of the RELEASEES to the RELEASORS in respect of any claim which the RELEASORS presently have or hereafter can, shall or may have and any such liability by the RELEASEES is in fact expressly denied;

(iv) agree that RELEASEES may use this FINAL RELEASE as a full and complete defense to any subsequent claim or lawsuit brought by the RELEASORS or any third party arising out of the Allegations;

(v) agree not to disclose unless required to do so by law, the fact of, or the terms of, the settlement and this FINAL RELEASE between the RELEASORS and the RELEASEES;

(vi) agree that this payment and these actions are made simply to “buy the peace”, that each and every incident is evaluated independently, and that there is no obligation on the part of REALESEES to make a payment or take an action in the future should a similar incident occur or similar allegations be made;

(vii) declare that the terms of this settlement are fully understood, that the amount and actions stated herein are the sole consideration of this FINAL RELEASE, that such amount is accepted voluntarily as a full and final settlement of the Allegations, and that the RELASORS execute this FINAL RELEASE as the RELEASORS’ own free act (and has not been influenced to any extent whatsoever in executing this FINAL RELEASE by any representations or statements made by the RELEASEES, or by any person on behalf of the RELEASEES) and that the RELEASORS have read this RELEASE and are aware that he or she may take independent legal advice as to its terms and the RELEASORS acknowledge that the RELEASEES rely on this representation and declaration;

(viii) confirm that no promise, inducement or agreement not herein expressed has been made to the RELASORS, that it is understood that payment made under this FINAL RELEASE does not toll the statute of limitations, – 2 –

LABS – Legal Approved 3/18/13

and that this FINAL RELEASE contains the entire agreement between the RELEASORS and the RELEASEES and that the terms of this FINAL RELEASE are contractual, and not merely a recital; and

(ix) agree that this FINAL RELEASE shall be governed by the laws of the State of Massachusetts without regard to the conflicts of laws rules thereof that would otherwise require the laws of another jurisdiction to apply.

Dated at……………………………………………………………….. this …………………. day of ………………………………. 20…………


………………………………………………………………… ………………………………………………………………..


………………………………………………………………… ………………

Smart Meters causing tidal wave of mysterious illnesses that strike people in their own homes

Smart Meters causing tidal wave of mysterious illnesses that strike people in their own homes

Smart Meters
NaturalNews) In recent years there have been increasing reports that “smart meters” – the digitized electric meters that are designed to send usage figures to power companies wirelessly – are causing a range of health issues among a growing portion of the population where such devices are in use.

In fact, notes the EMF Safety Network, a growing number of people from around the world are beginning to report health problems they believe are related to an increased amount of wireless radiation from various devices, including smart meters.

“Utilities claim smart meters are safe, and compare them to cell phones. However, cell phones, cell towers, wi-fi and other wireless devices can also affect your health,” the organization states on its website. “Reducing your EMF exposure can benefit your overall health and wellness.”

The group also notes that the World Health Organization has classified radiation as a 2B carcinogen, and based that declaration on studies that have linked cell phone radiation to brain tumors.

Vast list of symptoms

As noted by, here is how the devices work:

“Smart meters talk to their central systems using RF transmissions, based on a cell phone, pager, satellite, radio, power line (PLC), Wi-Fi or Internet (TCP/IP) communication method. Internet and cell phone applications have become the preferred options because of their flexibility and ease of deployment.” notes further that smart meters are typically installed outside homes and places of business to measure electricity, water and gas usage. How much RF energy people are exposed to depends on how far they are from the antenna that transmits the signal.

The power and frequency of the RF signal emitted from smart meters

are similar to those of a typical cellular phone, cordless phone
or residential Wi-Fi router. These meters typically send and receive
short messages about 1 percent of the time. notes that the International Agency for Research on

Cancer (IARC) named RF radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” based on findings
of at least one study that examined a link between it and a particular
type of brain tumor.

In addition, the EMF Safety Network has identified the following

symptoms as possibly linked to RF radiation, based on a survey the group
did in 2011:

–Sleep problems (insomnia, difficulty falling asleep, night waking, nightmares)

–Stress, agitation, anxiety, irritability

–Headaches, sharp pain or pressure in the head

Learn more:


Corona Noise Considerations for Smart Grid Wireless Communication and Control Network Planning

Environmental Noise Pollution is a Crime and a Public Health Hazard….It is a weapon of mass destruction targeting us and torturing those who can hear it via the power lines 24 hours a day…..Sandaura

Corona Noise Considerations for Smart Grid Wireless Communication and Control Network Planning

1306 F3 coverAs the wireless receiver sensitivity levels surpass thermal noise levels, reliable operation of smart grid Distributed Generating System (DGS) wireless communication and control devices demands consideration of the power line produced noise spectrum. The power line noise spectrum varies based on voltage and current of transmission lines and load characteristics. The electrical-noise environment is anticipated to be more severe in a DGS than in a Conventional Electrical Power System (CEPS) due to the frequent changes in power distribution routing.

While most measurable noise occurs at frequencies less than 200 MHz, the corona noise spectrum extends up to 2000 MHz. The corona noise spectrum measured near a 26 kV substation was compared with corona generated in the laboratory. Using this data, in-band wireless receiver susceptibility levels for GSM, CDMA and LTE modulation techniques were experimentally evaluated and presented.


Reliable power distribution systems require smarter distribution and control of all accessible quality power generation resources to meet load demands with fewer interruptions. The power distribution system must withstand any loss of a transmission line or a generating station. The voltage, frequency, and steady state and transient stability of power must be within acceptable tolerances. The power distribution system should be safe, secure, low cost, and efficient [1]. An interconnected Distributed Generating System (DGS) with multi-users and multi-generators is inevitable for a smart grid power distribution system. In order to control the components of the DGS, a reliable communication
and information exchange system is necessary. The control system should have the ability to monitor and control the generating systems, transmission lines, distribution, distribution substations, and loads connected to the DGS. The control system, sensors, energy meters and communication and information exchange systems should have the ability to operate as intended and should not be susceptible to electrical noise produced either by the DGS or anticipated in the ambient environment. Electrical noise, that exceeds some threshold, will affect timely information flow, decision making processes, and control system function [2].

This article examines the electrical noise spectrum in a typical Conventional Electrical Power System (CEPS) environment. Based on the environmental noise spectrum evaluated, an analysis of the suitability of a reliable and secure wireless communication and control system for DGS operation is presented. Further, an overview of RF noise present in the transmission and distribution system environment is also discussed. Finally, the radiated frequency spectrum is presented for corona noise demonstrating how the corona noise at wireless system in-band frequencies will degrade the receiver sensitivity.

Conventional Electrical Power System (CEPS) and Distributed Generating System (DGS)

The CEPS architecture resembles an inverted tree in which the generating station is the main trunk, and the branches are transmission lines connected to loads [3]. The power transmission is unidirectional from the generating station to the loads. In contrast, the evolving smart grid DGS transmission architecture resembles a cellular or aero-mobile communication network architecture in which the power flow at any moment could be from any obtainable generating station (local or remote) to any load. Therefore, DGS transmission is characterized by frequent “make” and “break” dynamic architecture as compared to the inherently fixed or static nature of the CEPS architecture. The direction of power flow in DGS transmission lines are constantly changing.

In a DGS, the user and generator interconnected network architecture will be constantly reconfigured depending on power needs and power availability. The computation of anticipated load and available power at any instant must be known. Otherwise, any short circuit condition will lead to a voltage dip and an increase of current (10 to 1000 times) and the clearance of the short circuit condition leads to oscillations. Sudden loss of any generating station results in a drop in voltage while a loss of load results in a rise of voltage on the active part of the network. Any fault clearance typically takes two to three cycles [4], with circuit breakers clearing the fault condition producing corona and arcing for a half to one cycle. The transmission system connects a network of numerous loads and several generating sources. To restore a power system failure, an increment of generating sources must be matched to an increment of loads, then move on to next matching generators and loads. The duration of this matching process may be on the order of several seconds. The electrical noise produced by a DGS is expected to be much more severe than noise produced in CEPS because of frequent power connection and disconnection, controls, and several synchronization processes. Reactive loads in CEPS are typically corrected using centralized compensators. In a DGS, computing and compensating for reactive loads is a major challenge. The excessive reactive power creates over voltage and current conditions on the transmission lines produce corona and sometimes arcing. The transients and steady state noise produced in a power system is electromagnetic in nature and their time, location and severity of occurrence is random. A conceptual simple architecture of a DGS is shown in Figure 1.


1306 F3 fig1

Figure 1: A conceptual architecture of distributed generator system

Electrical Noise in DGS

The DGS may contain both common mode and differential mode electrical noise. Both noise types conduct and radiate through electrical circuits and associated metallic structures. The common mode noise flow is in the same direction on the live power conductors but flows differentially with respect to the ground conductors. The differential mode noise on any two power conductors is equal in magnitude but the flow is in opposite direction. The power loop area is one of the primary factors that must be considered for deciding the radiated emissions levels. The large loop areas produce the greater radiation. For differential mode noise radiation, the loop area formed between live power conductors must be considered, while, for common mode radiation, the loop area formed between live power conductors and ground conductor must be considered. In un-terminated or open circuited transmission lines, the loop area is formed through the free space similar to a monopole antenna [5]. The electrical noise source could be either from the loads, the DGS, or from natural events (for example, lightning). The noise produced in consumer loads such as electronic and digital devices connected to a DGS are regulated by government agencies (such as FCC, EU and VCCI etc.,) and will not be discussed here. Some electrical noise sources typically found in power system are noted.

  1. Power sysem that contains non-sinusoidal voltages.
  2. Voltage fluctuations, dips and interrupts.
  3. Switchgear noise due to circuit opening and closing.
  4. Oscillatory transients.
  5. Power surges.
  6. Power Line Communication (PLC) noise.
  7. Ctorona, Gap discharge and arcing.
  8. Lightning.

The electrical noise spectrum from Items (1) through (5) above is typically lower than 100 MHz [6]. The PLC produces broad spectrum of noise [7, 8]. The noise spectrum will be based on a single channel data rate and bandwidth of the transmission. The corona, Gap discharge, arcing and lightning noise spectrum extends up to 2 GHz. However, for a typical lightning event, there is significant noise below 200 MHz. Similarly the corona, Gap discharge and arcing events have significant noise below 1000 MHz. The lightning surge frequency spectrum has been studied by several researchers and is indicated in the references [6, 9]. The Gap discharge and arcing frequency spectrum details will not be discussed here. The corona radiates a periodic broadband spectrum for prolonged periods. Therefore, it is one of the interference nuisances to RF devices. The corona radiation effects on the wireless system receiver sensitivity levels are discussed below.


Corona is due to accelerated partial ionization, breakdown or discharge of gas molecules or atoms between two conductive surfaces under the influence of high electric fields that could appear as a blue luminous glow with a current typically measured in microamperes [10]. The corona occurs between conductive surfaces where there is a large concentration of charges and at smaller distance from the reference electrode.

At its onset, the corona will be intermittent or pulsating, and if the field is further increased, the corona current reaches a steady state. When the electric field is increased further there will ultimately be a transient or steady state arcing or sparking occurrence with a sudden jump in current.

The arcing voltage is typically two to six times the corona voltage. The corona does not completely connect the conductive surfaces of electrodes, but arcing bridges the conductive surfaces of electrodes. The corona inception voltage is higher for longer gap distances. But the relationship depends on the dielectric constant, temperature, pressure, and other physical variations between the gap surfaces. The corona is a high impedance phenomena occurring at high voltage and lower current. Not all corona charges from one electrode reach the other. Some portion of charges escapes from the corona and is radiated. Therefore, corona is an interference nuisance to RF devices. The corona radiates a periodic broadband spectrum. A typical corona radiation pattern is shown in Figure 2. As shown in Figure 2, the corona noise period is two times per power cycle.

1306 F3 fig2

Figure 2: Radiated corona periodic broadband spectral distribution from single phase AC power

Radiated Corona Spectrum Measurement in a GHz Transverse Electromagnetic (GTEM) Cell

Corona frequency spectrum is a well understood subject. The corona itself can directly radiate RF energy without aid of an antenna. The corona frequency spectrum data presented in most publications do not isolate the radiations from the electrical support structure used for corona simulation. The electrical structure could act as an antenna or tuned element and alter the radiation characteristics of the corona stream. The corona streams direct radiation is measured and presented in this section in its isolated form.

The radiating frequency spectrum of a corona was investigated in a GTEM cell. The GTEM Cell is a frequency extended variant of the traditional Transverse Electromagnetic (TEM) cell. The GTEM Cell is a large tapered section coaxial stub with air dielectric and a characteristic impedance of 50 Ω. One end of the stub is a feeding point and the other end is terminated by a combination of non-inductive high power resistors and RF absorbers. When a radiating object is placed between the center plane and outer ground plane, the total radiated power is directly proportional to the power measured at the apex of the GTEM. The radiated power level varies as inverse of distance ‘d’ between center plane and bottom ground plane. The GTEM supports a frequency spectrum from DC to several GHz. A 25 cm long coaxial cable mounted in the GTEM was used for generating corona. The center conductor at one end of the coaxial cable was looped back closer to the outer metallic shield as shown in Figure 3. The approximate diameter of the loop was 2 cm. The gap between the tip of the center conductor and the metallic shield of the coaxial cable was approximately 2.5 mm. The loop was placed between the GTEM center plane and the bottom ground reference plane, approximately at the center. The diameter of the loop was small enough so that the radiation contribution due to the loop was negligible up to 1 GHz. Several broadband suppression ferrites were added to the coaxial cable to prevent the cable from acting as a monopole antenna. A high voltage single phase AC generator was connected to other end of coaxial cable through the GTEM bottom ground reference plane. For these tests, voltage input applied to the coaxial cable ranged approximately from 2 to 4.5 kV. The stream of produced corona was approximately perpendicular to center plane of GTEM. The loop was rotated in its upright position 360° to provide for highest emission angle. At this angle, the frequency spectrum was measured and plotted for 2.5 mm, 7.5 mm and 10 mm gaps for frequencies between 30 and 1000 MHz. The data plot is presented for 10 mm gap in Graph 1. This setup provides a source of directly radiated corona spectrum that is mostly unaffected by the electrical supporting structures or polluted by the ambient environment. The generated energy spectrum of directly radiated corona is therefore available for use experimentally to compare against other types of interfering signals as applied to real world systems.


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Figure 3: Test setup from measuring corona spectrum in GTEM cell


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Graph 1: Radiated frequency spectrum of corona measured from a 10 mm gap



Radiated Corona Spectrum Measurement from 26 kV Substation

The radiated emission measurements from a local 26 kV/208V sub-station are presented in Graph 2. The measurements were made at an approximate 25 m horizontal distance from the radiating corona transmission conductors connected to string-insulators in the sub-station. The antenna and spectrum analyzers were located at an elevated location relative to the sub-station such that the radiating corona source from the sub-station was in line with the antenna. RF absorbers were placed on the sides and rear of the receive antenna to minimize the ambient noise. An investigative received power level measurement was made for both horizontal and vertical polarization using a broadband bi-log antenna. The received power levels were higher for the vertical polarization of the antenna and are therefore reflected in the plot. To maximize the received signal levels the antenna was moved 1 m distance horizontally and then vertically prior to recording the maximum levels. According to Friis transmission equation [11]

Pr/Pt = (λ/4πR)2Gor Got    (1)

  • Pr is power delivered to any load (Example: 50Ω receiver antenna port)
  • Pt is power input to transmit antenna (in this case, it is part of corona stream power that is being radiated)
  • Got is transmit antenna isotropic gain
  • Gor is measurement antenna (Broadband bi-log) isotropic gain
  • λ = free space wavelength of the measured frequency
  • R = measurement distance
  • (λ/4πR)2 is free space propagation loss(L) derived in Equation 3

The predicted effective isotropic received power level (Pr/Gor) in “dBm” at the measurement distance = (Analyzer reading in dBm – Gor in dBi ) (Pr/Gor) at any linear distance (R) between the radiating source and receive antenna = L (Pt Got)    (2)

Graph 2 shows the measured noise power levels (Pr/Gor) in “dBm” for the frequency range from 30 to 1000 MHz. The measurements were made when corona illuminations were observed on certain parts of the conductor. The number of conductors and number of phases involved in corona illumination could not be accurately determined. The Graph indicates that radiation levels extend to 1000 MHz, but the power levels gradually decrease with increasing frequency.

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Graph 2: Radiated frequency spectrum of corona measured from a 26kV Substation at 25m distance

Corona Field Level Calculation at Closer Distance

Both Graphs 1 and 2 reveal the existence of a significant amount of radiated power up to 1000 MHz. Graph 2 indicates the measured received power level from the antenna near 1 GHz is -65 dBm at a 25 m distance. If it is assumed that the measuring instrumentation or control wireless transceiver for a DGS must be placed at 1 m distance from the transmission lines on a pole, the expected power level at the receive antenna port at 1 m distance can be calculated using the following Friis free space narrowband propagation path loss (L) equation. (Assuming that the path is clear of terrain or other objects and measurements are made in far-field.)

Free space propagation loss (L) = 20 log10 (Distance in meters) + 20 log10 (Frequency in MHz) – 27.56 dB    (3)

Equation 3 is also successfully applied to broadband short distance propagation loss calculations [12]. The calculated loss (L) at 1000 MHz for 24 m is 60 dB Therefore, the field power at a 1 m distance from the corona producing transmission line is calculated to be -5.0 dBm The effective average field power will be based on the duty cycle of the noise which is the ratio of pulse width and pulse repetition rate.

For pulsed RF, the effective average power is 10 log10 (duty cycle). For 60 Hz power, the pulse repetition rate is 8.3 ms, but the corona noise pulse width for a given spectrum bandwidth is difficult to measure. The corona noise pulse width increases with AC field intensity (kV/cm) between the corona stream conductors. If a 1% duty cycle is assumed, then the effective received average power for the same setup at 1 m distance from the radiating source is -25 dBm.

In the absence of interfering noise, the modern wireless receivers using typical antenna are capable of processing signal levels lower than thermal noise levels (-114 dBm/MHz at room temperature). Therefore, the corona noise level is considered very high when compared to the sensitivity of a typical Cellular receiver which is approximately -120 dBm/MHz. This clearly demonstrates that corona radiation must be considered before planning any wireless communication system for controlling the DGS.

Wireless Communications System for DGS Control Functions

In-band noise is the primary concern for any wireless communication system. In-band noise degrades the ability of the communication system to receive low signal levels. There are no dedicated wireless frequency bands available for electrical power system controls. Either unlicensed or licensed bands must be used for wireless controls. The corona noise will affect both the unlicensed and licensed bands operating below 1000 MHz.

Although the modern wireless receivers are capable of functioning with the signal levels much lower than the noise levels, the overall signal to noise ratio is still important. For most data systems, after some noise threshold level is reached, the error rate will increase with increasing noise. The comparison of corona (noise) to signal frequency bandwidth and 1% error amplitude is as shown in Figure 4.

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Figure 4: Corona noise level is higher than receiver sensitivity levels


Corona Noise and Cellular Base station Receiver Sensitivity

The minimum required signal-to-noise ratio (S/N) of wireless systems must be maintained in order to have a reliable communication link. The presence of increased in-band interference at the antenna receive port requires that the desired signal level must be increased to maintain the S/N ratio. The noise immunity levels are dependent on the wireless devices modulation techniques and receiver bandwidths. The noise immunity levels for the following modulation techniques were investigated using a 1900 MHz GSM Base Station, an 850 MHz CDMA Base Station and a 700 MHz LTE Base Station:

  1. GSM (200 kHz)
  2. CDMA (1.25 MHz)
  3. LTE (5MHz)
  4. LTE (10 MHz)

The test setup is shown in Figure 5. The receive port of the base station was tested with a continuous wave (CW), a fixed frequency modulated signal, a random frequency noise level and laboratory generated corona, and the processed demodulated signal was analyzed for data error. Since there are several variations in the operations of diversity ports, they were disengaged during the tests. The modulated signal was fixed at -90 dBm for all tests and no data error was noted at this level. The input noise power level was then increased until a 1% data error was observed.


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Figure 5: Base station receive port noise immunity test setup

The following input signals were used as noise:

  1. Continuous Wave (CW) signal
  2. 1 kHz 80% AM signal
  3. Random CW signal to sweep the receive frequency bandwidth at an 8 ms repetition rate. The AC corona noise spectrum repeats at every half power cycle of power (See Figure 2). For 60 Hz power the half cycle duration is 8.3 ms. Since 8.3 ms repetition rate signal was not available, an 8.0 ms repetition rate signal was used instead.
  4. GTEM generated corona noise at the receiver frequency bandwidth.

The noise signals (a) and (b) were applied at the center frequency of the receive channel. The noise immunity levels for 1% data error for different modulation technologies are shown in Table 1. Noise levels approximately 6 to 10 dB above 1% data error produce a sudden increase in data error (50 to 60% data error) rendering the system useless.

Modulation Technology Noise Source level above the signal level
CW dB 1 kHz 80% AM dB In-Band random CW at 8 ms repetition rate dB In-Band corona from GTEM dB
GSM (200 kHz) 10 8 10 **
CDMA (1.25 MHz) 20 18 20 15
LTE (5 MHz) – QPSK 42 42 40 34
LTE (5 MHz) – 64 QAM 37 37 37 32
LTE (10 MHz) – 64 QAM 40 40 40 34

Notes: ** Insufficient corona signal at 1900 MHz Table 1: Noise level in dB above the signal level for data error reaching approximately 1%

Table 1: Noise level in dB above the signal level for data error reaching approximately 1%

The wireless control stations for DGS will be installed at fixed locations. Therefore, the receiver operating range sensitivity levels can be fixed accounting for the anticipated noise levels and calculated link budget. The corona noise impact levels for a 1% data error are much higher than the signal levels. Therefore, implementation of a noise amplitude limiter circuit can solve the corona noise problems.

Mapping the land line communication along the power transmission lines for DGS communication and control is one of the major technical and economic challenges. Therefore, wireless should be a more viable alternate. The electrical power noises associated with corona, arcing and lightning will seriously degrade the communication and control frequency band spectrum usage. The immunity test results provided in Table 1 show that wireless system is more susceptible to corona spectrum than the CW or modulated CW signals. The noise levels will be severe, especially during extreme weather conditions when most power outages are likely to occur. This article establishes that Corona has a significant noise frequency spectrum up to 1 GHz. Published works show that extremely high voltage transmission lines produce corona noise up to 2 GHz [13]. For any frequency spectrum use for wireless communication below 2 GHz then special consideration should be provided as

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Your devices’ latest feature? They can spy on your every move

Your devices’ latest feature? They can spy on your every move

April 25, 2016 by H V Jagadish, University Of Michigan, The Conversation

Your devices' latest feature? They can spy on your every move

It’s not just audio and video recording we need to be concerned about. Your smart home monitor knows how many people are in your house and in which rooms at what times. Your smart water meter knows every time a toilet is flushed in your home. Your alarm clock knows what time you woke up each day last month. Your refrigerator knows every time you filled a glass of cold water. Your cellphone has a GPS built into it that can track your location, and hence record your movements. Yes, you can turn off , but does that mean the phone isn’t keeping track of your location? And do you really know for sure your GPS is off simply because your phone’s screen says it is? At the very least, your knows where you are based on the cellphone towers your phone is communicating with.

We all love our smart gadgets. But beyond the convenience factor, the fact that our devices are networked means they can communicate in ways we don’t want them to, in addition to all the ways that we do.

Next generation wiretapping

A bad actor could figure out how to take control of any of these technologies to learn private information about you. But maybe even more worryingly, could your technology provider become, voluntarily or under compulsion, a party to a scheme through which you unwittingly reveal your secrets?

The recent battle between Apple and the FBI revolved around the feds’ request that Apple develop a custom insecure version of iOS, the operating system of the iPhone, to facilitate their hacking into a terrorist’s cell phone. Is breaking into a locked phone just the next step beyond a traditional wiretap in which the government asks an Apple or a Samsung to use its technology to bug the conversations of a suspected terrorist?

But modern phones can be used to do a lot more than listen in on conversations. Could companies be asked to keep location tracking on while indicating to the suspect that it is really off? It would seem to me hard to draw a line between these cases. No wonder some Apple engineers came out as “objectors of conscience” in the Apple-FBI matter. This case was dropped before Apple could be compelled to do anything, so there’s no legal precedent to guide us on how these next-step examples would play out in court.

It is, of course, valuable for law enforcement to monitor criminal suspects, to investigate ongoing criminal behavior and to collect evidence to prosecute. This is the motive behind wiretap laws that allow law enforcement to listen to your phone conversations with no notice to you.

Your devices' latest feature? They can spy on your every move
Technology has moved on, but the law isn’t clear yet. Credit: Gawler History, CC BY-SA

Wiretaps actually got their start in the 1800s as tools of corporate espionage. In 1928, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Olmstead v. U.S. that it was constitutional for law enforcement to use wiretaps, and that warrants weren’t required. This decision was superseded only in 1967, by Katz v. U.S., which established a citizen’s right to privacy, and required law enforcement to obtain warrants before bugging a phone conversation. This was long after Congress had passed an act carefully restricting wiretaps, in 1934.

In the early days of wiretapping, there was a physical “tap” – a side connection – that could be applied to a real wire carrying the conversation. Newer technologies eventually permitted the telephone company to encode and multiplex many telephone calls on the same physical wire.

In the United States, the Communications Assistance for Law Enforcement Act (CALEA) was passed by Congress in 1994, due to worries about law enforcement’s ability to keep up with new communications technologies. It requires communication companies to provide a way for law enforcement to place a wiretap even on newer communication technologies.

The law explicitly exempted information services, such as email. This legal differentiation between communications technologies and information services means companies are obliged to help the government listen in on your phone calls (with a warrant) but are not obliged to help it read your email messages (at least on account of this specific law).

In 2004, the Federal Communications Commission ruled that services such as Voice Over IP (think Skype) were communications services covered by CALEA, and not exempt information services.

Some have since wanted to further broaden this law, and doubtless the Apple FBI dispute brings this issue to the forefront again. Law enforcement will presumably push for greater surveillance powers, and civil liberty advocates will resist.

Nothing to hide?

Perhaps you don’t care about the privacy of criminals. But note that surveillance is not just of known bad actors, but also of suspected bad actors.

History teaches us that lists of suspects can sometimes be drawn way too broadly. You may remember the McCarthy era and J. Edgar Hoover’s reign at the FBI, which infamously included bugging Martin Luther King Jr.’s bedroom. Even today, there are attempts by the British Government Communications Headquarters to monitor everyone who visited the Wikileaks website, even just to browse. Some laws don’t make sense or aren’t fair, so even some “criminals” may still deserve privacy.

And it’s not just overreach we have to worry about. Technologies like Finspy are commercially available today to install malware on your computer or phone and “recruit” it to spy on you. Such technologies could be used by anyone, including the “bad actors,” without the cooperation of your device manufacturer or service provider.

Wiretap laws, such as CALEA, apply to explicit communication actions taken by someone, such as actually making a phone call. Wiretaps do not track your movements in the house, they do not listen to your conversations when you are not on the , they do not videotape you in your bathroom – but these are all actions our various devices are now capable of performing. With the proliferation of devices in our lives, it is certainly possible to use them for surveillance purposes. There’s no question that by doing so, authorities will catch many bad actors. But there will also be a huge price to pay in terms of privacy and possibly wrongful arrests.

Finally, this may feel futuristic, but I assure you it is not. The FBI was already using a cellphone microphone to eavesdrop on organized crime as long as a decade ago. Commercial interests are not too far behind in doing much the same, with the purpose of targeting a better sales pitch.

Our omnipresent networked devices raise big questions that we should openly debate. How we balance these costs and benefits will determine the type of society we live in.

Explore further: From Western Union to Apple: When tech battled government

Source:: The Conversation

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