1) Telus is spending billions across the province to bring wireless and fiber optic services to areas, many of which already have pretty good service (my area for example). It sounds as if Telus alone will be increasing the level of microwave radiation in our environment dramatically. If, as they acknowledge, fiber optic cable provides the fastest and most efficient internet, why Wi-Fi at all? Does this mean they will be providing fiber optic cable to every school?
“The TELUS team is unwavering in our commitment to connect citizens, businesses, healthcare professionals, schools and government organizations to the best wireline and wireless technologies available on the planet, ensuring Canada’s success in the growing digital economy, today and for generations to come.”
2) In California, AT&T is asking the government to allow it to stop supporting normal landline service (via copper wire) and, instead, allow it to support fiber optic, VolP, internet or wireless service. They say that copper, although the most reliable for phone, cannot handle the additional data in today’s world. But the other types of service do not work during power outages, leaving no access to emergency services. We need to find out what Telus is doing to address this major issue because it won’t be long before Telus will be ending the landline service if AT&T is allowed to do it.
“Instead, today’s VoIP and fiber systems typically provide up to eight hours of standby service, and then only if they’re equipped with an in-home battery backup. Otherwise, the phones go dead.
That renders the lines useless for dialing 911, loved ones, friends, and others during disasters, when telephone access often is needed most. That’s a particular problem if you don’t have a cell phone as a backup; if the cellular networks fail, as some did during Hurricane Irene and the October snowstorm http://archive.boston.com/business/technology/articles/2011/10/31/power_outages_knock_out_conn_cell_phone_towers/?camp=pm or https://www.yahoo.com/news/power-outages-knock-conn-cell-phone-towers-183521861.html; or if you can’t recharge the batteries on mobile phones because your power is out.”
3) One public utility commission is investigating the charge that $$meters (Landis+Gyr) are not calculating the usage correctly, leading to overcharges for customers.
“This is proof, according to the Sparacio, that GPA is incorrectly reading the smart meters to a point where they are billing the ratepayer for more power or kwh, than they are actually using…all because GPA is using an incorrect calculation.”
4) A PR firm in the USA is taking serious interest in the RF issue. It published the article sent to BC Teachers Federation about Wi-Fi in schools a week ago. O’Dwyer has published several about microwave radiation and now it has published another featuring a letter by our own Norm Ryder.
5) In Letters below, see a response to my question about metal trailers being used by sensitive people.
6) More on the government forcing BC Hydro to borrow money to pay “dividends” to the government in order to balance budgets, with financial “incentives” for a balanced budget. I wonder how Bill Bennett can be responsible for BC Hydro (e.g. getting the Lieutenant Governor to support the Meter Choices Program with fees, writing out the BCUC oversight in the Clean Energy Act re. smeters and Site C), yet I bet he will receive a great bonus for having a balanced budget. Won’t the deferred debt have to be acknowledged somehow? It seems the acknowledgement is bumped down the road to a time when someone else can be blamed.
A member pointed out that this “creative bookkeeping” started under the NDP, as stated in the article. People such as Rafe Mair and economist Eric Andersen have been trying for years to get the public’s attention about this practice as well as the travesty of the IPP contracts which require BC Hydro to pay independent producers more for power than BC Hydro could ever sell it for. It seems, sadly, that politicians seem to be in the pocket of corporations – and we elect them at our peril. But that is how our system works (badly).
7) Below in Letters is a stream of emails between me and the Attorney General’s Office regarding the security of our data.
Sharon – Here is the answer to the ladies in California, re the metal trailer question: YES!
I stay in a retro metal trailer while in Vancouver on business. It has aluminum metal blinds, metal window screens, and metal siding. I get a signal inside of 0.0006!! mW/m2
That is less than when outdoors in the forest alone on a rainy day…
And, I sleep for 8 hours for the first time in 6 years, waking at 8am ready to begin my days! Normally I would sleep in 4 hour cycles and rise by 11am. (any earlier and I feel drugged and punchdrunk)
Metal trailer communities are the way to go…keep the heater on low all winter, and I was fine in there!
(Please read from the bottom up.)
Subject: RE: Your email of March 28, 2016
Dear Ms. Chapman,
Thank you for your response dated April 13. Unfortunately you did not answer my questions or address my well-founded concerns.
I hope this isn’t a deliberate attempt to ignore legitimate and serious issues. I would ask that you review the information that I provided and much more that is readily available, for example, these 2 reports by Privacy Commissioners:
With regard to your recommendations:
I am sure you know that the BC Utilities Commission has no authority over any aspect of the smart meter program, save rates, as per the Clean Energy Act of 2010 and Direction 4, Meter Choice Program, both of which can be attributed to Hon. Bill Bennett.
Inquiries to the Office of the Privacy Commissioner regarding the measures that have been taken to ensure our data is protected have been answered with reference to the Dec. 2011 report found at:
Certainly I think the fact that in other jurisdictions concerns are being raised and that the industry itself is speaking about the value of data especially given the possibility for use with third parties raises legitimate concerns that deserve a considered response.
I trust that this additional information gives you insight into the reason for my previous letter. Would you please answer the following questions:
1) Are utility companies in BC allowed to share data with third parties? If so, must they advise their customers of these arrangements?
2) Are there any restrictions on special incentives that might be offered to entice customers into allowing their data to be shared with or sold to third parties?
Thank you in advance and I look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience.
= = =
To: Sharon Noble
Date: April 13, 2016 3:16 PM
Subject: Your email of March 28, 2016
Sharon Noble Email
Dear Ms. Noble:
Your email dated March 28, 2016, addressed to the Attorney General and Minister of Justice of British Columbia, has been forwarded to me for response on her behalf.
I note your concerns regarding privacy issues related to the gathering of information by BC Hydro and Fortis BC in relation to the smart meter program. BC Hydro and Fortis BC are subject to regulation by the BC Utilities Commission, an independent regulatory agency of the provincial government that operates under and administers the Utilities Commission Act. If you wish to contact the BC Utilities Commission regarding this matter, they can be reached at the following address:
BC Utilities Commission
900 Howe Street, 6th floor
Vancouver BC V6Z 2N3
Toll-free telephone: 1-800-663-1385
In addition, BC Hydro is a public body subject to the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act. Fortis BC is not a government entity; however it is subject to the Personal Information Protection Act. The Office of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for British Columbia, which is independent from government, monitors and enforces British Columbia’s Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act and Personal Information Protection Act. You may wish to bring your concerns to the attention of that office. They can be reached at the following address:
Office of the Information and Privacy
Commissioner for British Columbia
PO Box 9038, Stn. Prov. Govt.
Victoria BC V8W 9A4
Location: 3rd Floor – 756 Fort Street
Victoria BC V8W 9A4
Staff have forwarded a copy of your email to the Honourable Bill Bennett, Minister of Energy and Mines, for his information. The Ministry of Energy and Mines is responsible for the smart meter program.
I trust this assists. Thank you for writing.
Barrister and Solicitor
on behalf of
Kurt J. W. Sandstrom, Q.C.
Assistant Deputy Attorney General
pc: The Honourable Bill Bennett
= = =
From: Sharon Noble
Date: March 28, 2016 5:42 PM
Subject: Security of our personal data
Dear Minister Anton,
One of the promoted purposes of the smart meters that BC Hydro and Fortis BC are installing is to gather information beyond that needed for billing purposes. Much is of a personal nature, potentially down to a very granular level. People are rightly concerned about both the security of this data given the ease with which wireless devices can be hacked and the value of their data to third parties.
I would like to know what steps your office has taken to ensure that the utilities respect our privacy, protect our security, and do not misuse or sell our data to third parties without our explicit permission.
In Illinois the Attorney General, Lisa Madigan, issued a press release warning people to be aware of the implications of giving permission to the utility companies to share data:
In addition her office produced flyers addressing many of the issues involved with smart meters in an effort to clarify some of the misunderstandings that the utilities and meter companies have encouraged.
The Attorney General states that the utility companies in Illinois may not share data without having received prior written permission from the accountholder. Are the utility companies in British Columbia under a similar constraint? If so, have the utility companies been told to advise their customers?
In some areas of the US, customers have been misled into agreeing to share data through enticements and “special offers”. Those customers who are more trusting, less informed about the value of their data, or unaware of the ramifications of allowing access to third parties easily could be taken advantage of. Has your office established any restrictions with regard to such offers or “special deals”?
Thank you for your time and, in advance, for your response.
Director, Coalition to Stop Smart Meters
“An activist is someone who cannot help but fight for something. That person is not usually motivated by a need for power, or money, or fame, but in fact driven slightly mad by some injustice, some cruelty, some unfairness – So much so that he or she is compelled by some moral engine to act to make it better.”
~ Eve Ensler