CANADA-Smart meters spike cut offs

Smart meters spike cut offs

While power companies assure you that smart meters bring efficiency to the system, the meters also allow the companies to cut off your power with just a flick of the switch – a move BC Hydro is doing a lot more of lately.

According to numbers submitted by BC Hydro to the British Columbia Utilities Commission, the energy company disconnected power to six times as many customers in 2015 as they did in 2013.

In 2013, Hydro ordered about 12,000 disconnections and actually completed about 5,000 of them.

In 2015, after smart meters had been implemented into the system, the utility company ordered about 39,000 disconnections and completed 32,500 – three times the amount of disconnections ordered and approximately six times the number completed.

BC Hydro reports that the number of accounts disconnected for non-payment in 2015 was just 1.7 per cent of all accounts.

“When efforts to obtain payment fail, the result is disconnection,” reads the report

The difference is based on the fact that hydro employees no longer have to go to a property and complete the disconnect in person; it is now done with a simple click of mouse.

“Note that 95 per cent of disconnections were remote and the other five per cent manual,” adds BC Hydro in the report.

“54.5 per cent of accounts disconnected for non-payment were reconnected the same day; 71.7 per cent were reconnected the same day or the next day; 80.4 per cent were reconnected within four days; 84.7 per cent were reconnected within seven days; 89.2 per cent were reconnected within 14 days; 91.6 per cent were reconnected within 21 days; 93.5 per cent were reconnected within 30 days; 96.6 per cent were reconnected within 60 days; 99 per cent were reconnected within 133 days.”

According to the BC Hydro report, the company’s credit policies have not significantly changed with the introduction of smart meters. However, the remote disconnect/reconnect capability significantly increases its ability to follow-through with a disconnection order once issued.

There is no explanation as to why the number of disconnections ordered has also spiked.

Treasurer at the Together Against Poverty Society, and former BCUC commissioner, Tony Pullman says the dramatic change in power disconnections is tied directly to the introduction of smart meters.

“The servicemen didn’t like doing it. The servicemen would organize his or her day in such a way that disconnects are at the bottom of the heap, and thus they didn’t get done,” explained Pullman.

“Then, you introduce smart meters and almost immediately someone sitting in an office in Burnaby just clicks a mouse and the customer is disconnected. One of the great advantages of smart meters – that nobody actually told us about.”

While smart meters can explain the spike in completed disconnections, it cannot explain why the amount of actual disconnections ordered has more than doubled. Pullman says it has to be one of two things.

“One, BC Hydro has told its employees to bring a lot more pressure on delinquent accounts. Or, two, more and more people are having more and more trouble being able to pay for their electricity. The answer has to be one of those two things.”

Pullman says the increase in disconnections is another sign that BC Hydro does not care about the impoverished of our society.

“I have never ever been in any doubt that BC Hydro does not have any particular empathy towards low-income customers.”

He adds that some progress was made when BC Hydro was forced to lower their reconnection fee following smart meter installation.

Previously, when a serviceman was required to come to a home and reconnect service, BC Hydro charged $125 – a price many felt was far too steep now that employees just have to click a mouse to reconnect.

“At least we have that down to $30,” said Pullman. “I thought that (the $125) was a real insult to low-income people that couldn’t afford their bill. When in order to get service back they had to pay an additional $125 for some clerk to flick a switch.

“It was a modest victory, but we do hope for more.”

Through Pullman’s work with Together Against Poverty Society, he sees the effects the high cost of living has on those most vulnerable in our society.

“I see an awful lot of low-income people and it is one of the reasons I am helping out in the struggle to get some kind of relief from BC Hydro through the utilities commission,” said Pullman.

BC Hydro reportedly spent $1 billion to install the 1.8 million smart meters across the province, starting in 2012.

FortisBC recently finished installing smart meters throughout the Southern Interior. It has also cited remote connections and disconnections as a benefit of the project.

Calls to BC Hydro and NDP BC Hydro critic Adrian Dix were not returned by deadline.

BC Hydro smart meters, rate increases lead to more customers cut off from power, says advocate

BC Hydro smart meters, rate increases lead to more customers cut off from power, says advocate

B.C. Public Interest Advocacy Centre working on behalf of low-income customers ahead of public hearing

By Maryse Zeidler, CBC News Posted: Jun 11, 2016 6:00 AM PTLast Updated: Jun 11, 2016 6:00 AM PT

The B.C. Public Interest Advocacy Centre says BC Hydro disconnection rates have skyrocketed since smart meters were installed, leaving thousands of low-income families without power.

Spokesperson Sarah Khan says last year more than 30,000 people were disconnected because they couldn’t pay their power bill. In 2013, only 5,000 were disconnected.

“Families with children have no heat or light. They’re not just cold but not able to do homework as families struggle to pay the money,” Khan said.

Khan says smart meters have made it easier to cut off electricity because it’s done electronically.

“The smart meters, of course, are allowing BC Hydro to connect much more easily because they no longer need to send a crew out, so they no longer need to deal with the human element of disconnecting power,” Khan said.

Rate redesign application filed

The BCPIAC obtained the information about power cuts as part of its involvement with a B.C. Utilities Commission proceeding for BC Hydro’s most recent rate redesign application, which it filed in September 2015.

Smart meters

The B.C. Public Interest Advocacy Centre says BC Hydro’s smart meters have made it easier for it to cut off power. (CBC)

The proceeding is scheduled for a public hearing this August, and the BCPIAC is representing a coalition of seven anti-poverty, disability, and seniors’ rights groups.

The organization is asking BC Hydro to implement a low-income energy assistance program, including customer service rules for low-income customers.


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“Drunk on Wireless: Public Health Consequences of Cell Phone and Wireless Technologies are Begging for Society’s Attention

“Drunk on Wireless: Public Health Consequences of Cell Phone and Wireless Technologies are Begging for Society’s Attention

“Drunk on Wireless: Public Health Consequences of Cell Phone and Wireless Technologies are Begging for Society’s Attention” at the Left Forum 2016 in New York City featured Camilla Rees,MBA of Electromagnetic, public health physician Dr. David Carpenter, Director of the Institute for Health and the Environment at University at Albany, Dr. Martin Blank, retired Associate Professor in the Department of Physiology and Cellular Biophysics at Columbia University, and Dr. Martin Pall, Professor Emeritus of Biochemistry and Basic Medical Sciences at Washington State University. Wrapping up the scientific presentations and putting the present public health situation related to electromagnetic fields in historical, philosophical and spiritual perspectives was radio host Duncan Campbell, Esq., of Living Dialogues™. The EMF programs at the Left Forum were sponsored by Occupy EMF Harm and organized by This program was followed by a second program “Electromagnetic Pollution Solutions” which will be available soon.

EMFs: The Highs & Lows

EMFs: The Highs & Lows

Jun 10, 2016

By khare chicagodefender

Chicago Defender Staff Writer

A largest-of-its-kind study on the effects of electromagnetic fields has set off a wave of debate that can no longer be denied.The $25 million study, published May 27 and conducted by the National Toxicology Program, found that male rats exposed to “frequencies and modulations currently used in cellular communications” for 10-minute on, 10-minute off increments, totaling just over 9 hours a day from before birth through 2 years of age, developed low incidences of tumors of the brain and heart. The study was commissioned by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

For health enthusiasts, this is not news as the effects of EMFs, cellphone radiation in particular, has been widely discussed for decades in scientific circles. In fact, scientific studies on cellphone radiation date as far back as the early 1970s. Although they weren’t readily available to the general public, cellphones were being used by U.S. and European diplomats, politicians and certain government agencies.

All Around Us

Examples of low-frequency EMFs are the electrical system in our home and household appliances. High frequencies are produced by all wireless devices. In an interview with Dr. Joseph Mercola –  a Chicago-based osteopathic physician who practices a “whole person” approach, treating the entire person rather than just symptoms – Vicki Warren, former executive director of the Building-Biology Group, says there are five primary sources of dangerous EMFs that surround you on a daily basis: electric fields, magnetic fields, power lines, metal plumbing and wireless communications.

Electric fields are anything that emits voltage like lamps, appliances, extension cords and electrical outlets. Magnetic fields are emitted by the electric meter coming into the house; it is rated a Class 3 carcinogen by the EPA. Power lines above and below the ground. Metal plumbing which carries a current. And cellphones, cordless phones, cell towers and wireless routers are examples of wireless EMFs.

According to Warren, wireless devices expose you to both electric and magnetic frequencies, and cordless phone bases emit radiation whether you are using the phone or not, and she advises not to sleep next to one. “It’s best to use the speaker phone or a headset when using a cordless phone because the thermal impact of the antenna can cause problems, particularly if you’re frequently on the phone or talk for long periods of time.”

The impact affects the electrical communication in the body, such as the brainwaves or the ability of the neurons to fire and to communicate, or even in the inter-cell communication, cell to cell, she said. Typical problems that can manifest can be neurological, behavioral or can impact things like cell growth, cell mutations, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome and cancer. All of these can be impacted by EMFs, she says.

Smart Meters, A Dumb Move

Major energy providers have already begun installing a so-called ‘smart grid,’ where utility meters wirelessly transmit data about your usage back to the utility company. Eventually, they want to incorporate this technology into every household appliance and link it to a central grid in each neighborhood. According to Warren, they’ve already seen a direct correlation between increasing health complaints in neighborhoods where smart meters have been installed. “Usually, the first issue that people start talking about is an inability to sleep, or mood swings, along with headaches.

The Chicago Defender met entrepreneur Emil DeToffol, at AutismOne’s national conference two weeks ago, where we learned about how EMFs affect those diagnosed with autism. That’s another story. However, DeToffol, was a practicing dentist in upstate New York, when he started selling EMF protective gear 20 years ago.

“There was not much information, nor products available in 1996, so I decided to make it available,” he shared with us. With an initial investment of $50, DeToffol started in his basement and has grown the business into what it is today. When asked about human exposure to EMFs, he said “Science has clearly established that adverse biological effects are occurring, long before we “feel” them.”

“Because of the work we do, we hear from people all over the world who call us to get help with their symptoms and/or illness related to EMF exposure. Everything from sleeplessness, ringing in the ears, and headaches, to rapid heartbeat, infertility, and unfortunately cancer.”

DeToffol recommends that every household should have a meter to measure the radiation hot spots in their environment. His company carries countless products to protect yourself from the radiation, including smart meter shields that project from EMF exposure and cellphone cases that reduce radiation. Visit his website at

Also, the NTP report is available at The full study will be done by the end of 2017.

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FBI interviews former ACC chairman Pierce in 2014 election probe

FBI interviews former ACC chairman Pierce in 2014 election probe

FBI interviews former Corp Comm chairman, Corp Comm staff in 2014 election probe

Agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation today interviewed former Arizona Corporation Commissioner Gary Pierce and Corporation Commission staffers as part of a probe into the 2014 elections.

Pierce confirmed that two agents were at his home, which also serves as his office. A Corporation Commission spokeswoman confirmed that agents also showed up at the state agency seeking information.

Pierce said it wasn’t a raid, and he wasn’t served with any documents.

“The FBI came over and showed up at my door about 11 o’clock today, and we sat down and had an interview,” Pierce said. “They were cordial, polite, [and] asked me some questions relative to the 2014 election.”

He added: “They’re trying to arrive at the truth.”

Pierce said he fully cooperated with the investigators, who also asked him not to divulge much information about his conversation with them.

“They’ve got some things they want to do and talk to folks they’d like to talk to, and I was just one of them,” he said.

Corporation Commission spokeswoman Angie Holdsworth said the state agency was contacted as part of an ongoing FBI investigation and “is cooperating to the fullest extent possible.”

Pierce hinted that politics might be behind the FBI’s investigation, although he was careful to emphasize he doesn’t think the authorities are politically motivated.

“I think the sources of a lot of this stuff [are] just folks with a political agenda, and I think the various authorities are going to sift their way through and figure it out,” he said.

Pierce retired from the Arizona Corporation Commission in 2014. He was elected to the commission in 2006 and 2010, and served as its chairman in his last two years in office.

His son, Justin Pierce, unsuccessfully ran for the secretary of state’s office two years ago.

During the campaign, Wil Cardon, one of Justin Pierce’s Republican opponents, accused the father and son of using Gary Pierce’s position as a corporation commissioner to gain support for Justin Pierce from groups with business before the commission. Both Gary and Justin Pierce have denied the allegations.

Justin Pierce’s campaign flatly denied any suggestion that he sought to capitalize on his father’s position as a regulator to get support from individuals and companies that do business with the Corporation Commission. His camp also shot back at Cardon, calling the insinuation “false and inaccurate” and said this was all part of the businessman’s “dirty campaign tricks and tactics.’’

APS spokesman Jim McDonald said, “Pinnacle West has been contacted by the U.S. Attorney and will be cooperating fully.”