2015-07-25 Time of use billing could cause “chaos”


  • More on the huge Fortis bill for a house that burned down in January. Makes you wonder just how accurate our bills are. It seems we can’t trust any of these companies and must check every reading. And for this we pay a premium!!




  • Studies show that time-of-use (TOU) billing may exacerbate the problem re. demand, causing “chaos”. Time of use billing is one of the main reasons for the “$$mart” grid, at least the reason sold to the utility. Higher rates during peak hours.

 “”Our work examines the, at first sight, great idea to use smart electricity meters to dampen fluctuations in the electricity power nets,” Stefan Bornholdt at the University of Bremen told Phys.org. “However, we find that under some conditions, consumers with such meters start competing and create a new artificial market which exhibits properties of real markets, such as bubbles and crashes. Thus, instead of dampening out fluctuations, it may create new ones. In this way, interacting smart meters may generate chaos instead of stability.”

Read more at: http://phys.org/news/2015-07-seemingly-obvious-electricity-worse.html#jCp


  • More water meters overbilling, even when not hooked up!!

“A national industry expert, Tom Kelly, told the Tribune that that’s the key danger to electronic meters: “Once you get water inside the electronics of these meters, all bets are off. It can do just about anything.”  Please see article below, in Letters. The link is to a newspaper and unless you subscribe you can’t read the article.


  • From a member:

I was talking to a friend who relayed a story her relative told her.

She said her relative overheard some 18/19 year old girls talking, they were quite concerned over their friends dying from heart issues. And one of the girls said her cat died of a heart attack, and the vet told her this is happening alot, to dogs as well.

Just wanted to share this with you as we both know the smart meters do cause heart problems.

That article from Alberta researchers, talking about the 30% spike upwards of brain cancer.

Perhaps they should look into heart deaths as well.

Cardiac problems have been associated with microwave radiation. In Simcoe, Ontario, many children suffered tachycardia, arrhythmias and other abnormalities after wifi was installed in their school. Some children received pace makers and others were being considered for them when Dr. Magda Havas got involved. She asked the parents to remove the children from the school and eliminate all wireless devices from the home. The symptoms disappeared.

Many schools now have defibrillators because of the number of heart attacks that have occurred – but they still have wifi.


  • People all over are beginning to see that the $$mart meters do not deliver the benefits promised. This from Wyoming:

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





Finally a letter published – the Valley Voice: http://www.thevalleyvoice.ca/Voice%20Stories/july%202015/voice-reader-glad-smart-meter-is-gone%20-%20july-24-2015.htm


Another suburb reports problems with digital water meters

Smart Meter - Tinley Park

A smart meter in the Tinley Park home of Bob Soga, a former Tinley Park employee.

(Zbigniew Bzdak, Chicago Tribune)

By Joe MahrLauren Zumbach and Gregory PrattChicago Tribunecontact the reporters

‘Smart’ water meters show problems in another suburb

As one Chicago suburb struggles to cope with chronic overcharging by its “smart” digital water meters, another is ramping up random testing after finding that some of its meters claimed usage when not even hooked up.

The revelations in west suburban Aurora open a new front in questions over the accuracy of next-generation water meters at a time when they’re gaining popularity across Chicagol  and the country, and in a state that does little to ensure most water meters installed in homes are accurate.

Smart Meter - Tinley Park - Resident

Tinley residents face overcharging water meters and expensive solutions

Aurora officials stressed that the problems were tied to fewer than 10 meters out of thousands, and the manufacturer has reported fixing the problem in newer meters. But the suburb said it was concerned enough to boost random testing of the digital meters while also preparing to ask the manufacturer to either replace a suspect batch of digital meters or provide equipment to more closely monitor their readings.

A Tribune investigation, published in June, uncovered widespread problems in the southwest suburb of Tinley Park, where a different brand of digital meter had hundreds of cases of overbilling, with thousands more meter failures unexplained. The suburb’s Public Works director has resigned amid questions over his handling of the issue, and its elected leaders are seeking an outside review.

The problems come as water departments across the country move to meters that use electronics. The older meters use mechanical parts that wear down over time and can undercharge residents, while the digital meters are touted as being accurate for life — allowing cash-strapped localities to bill for every drop of water used.

Smart Meter - Tinley Park - PW Boss Suspended

Tinley Park suspends Public Works boss as water meter issues intensify


Aurora has installed 9,000 digital meters since 2014, covering about a fifth of the suburb. About a third of the digital meters belong to a batch that produced almost all the problem meters.

The problems began in February, when workers began noticing strange fluctuations in readings by meters that had been pulled from homes. Ray Hull, the suburb’s water superintendent, placed an unhooked meter on his desk for days and, every morning, saw its readings had moved, according to emails provided to the Tribune under the state’s open records law.

Other digital meters in the office had readings that also kept changing — even though they too were not hooked up to any water.

“They were on a shelf … until Friday. On Friday, they were put into a box and left there until (Monday),” he wrote to a colleague.

Smart Meter - Tinley Park - SM Overcharge

Suburb’s smart water meters regularly overcharge residents

They were among eight unhooked meters showing strange readings: three spinning forward, three spinning backward and two whose patterns couldn’t be determined. Two months later, village workers found another meter, hooked up in a home, that inexplicably bounced back-and-forth between display numbers.

Officials said the first eight meters had been pulled from homes for issues unrelated to potential overbilling, and they checked the usage data reported by the meters to ensure they hadn’t overbilled. But they said they were so concerned about the meters’ strange behavior that they asked the manufacturer, Sensus, what went wrong. Records show that Sensus determined water had gotten into the meters’ electronics in ways the manufacturer hadn’t before realized.

A national industry expert, Tom Kelly, told the Tribune that that’s the key danger to electronic meters: “Once you get water inside the electronics of these meters, all bets are off. It can do just about anything.”

Sensus, based in North Carolina, declined to elaborate on the problem with the Tribune. It told the suburb that it had beefed up waterproofing in newer batches — 6,000 of which went to Aurora, records show. City officials said the ninth suspect meter came from that batch, and it’s still being tested to determine what went wrong.

Kelly, who heads the industry’s committee on meter standards, said the small number of suspect meters in Aurora doesn’t signal a major problem there, although he said it should prompt greater oversight of the meters.

Smart Meter - Tinley Park

Several suburbs shift to electronic water meters, no testing required

Aurora has begun a testing program to measure the accuracy of 2 percent of new meters before they’re installed and an additional 300 meters taken out of service every year. Officials said they’re considering increasing that rate even more in light of the problems discovered. Of 18 recent tests provided to the Tribune, no meter failed national standards, although roughly a quarter of them showed that the meter at times overbilled by 1.5 percent — the maximum allowed under the standards.

“The goal is that Aurora residents would have confidence that the water they’re bringing in would be charged appropriately. So any variation to that causes concern,” said the city’s chief management officer, Carrie Anne Ergo.

The city is not required by law to test the meters because it is a government body. Illinois regulators require only privately run utilities to test water meters, typically testing each meter once every 10 years. ComEd is also required to test its digital electric meters periodically.

A Tribune survey of other suburbs using digital meters found that the brand used by Aurora — called iPerl — is the most popular and is deployed in varying degrees in Berwyn, Burr Ridge, Des Plaines, Glenview, Hinsdale and Lisle. None of those suburbs reported doing independent random tests to ensure the meters are accurate, instead citing manufacturer testing that Kelly said isn’t robust enough for his Maryland utility to rely upon.

“The only way for you to know how your meters are working is for you to test them,” Kelly said.

Twitter @royalpratt
Twitter @laurenzumbach
Twitter @JoeMahr1



Newsletter prepared by  Sharon Noble

 “In a room where people unanimously maintain a conspiracy of silence, one word of truth sounds like a pistol shot.”      Czeslaw Milosz


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