Sunday, May 23, 2010
HERES A BIT OF INFO ON SMART METERS.THE ENERGY SCAM TO RIP YOU OFF. I KNOW SOMEONE IN MY SMALL CANADIAN TOWN THAT HAD TO INSTALL THESE SMART GRID METERS TO GET INSURANCE FOR THEIR HOME.WHAT A COMPLETE SCAM TO CONTROL CANADIANS.BEWARE AMERICANS IT WILL COME YOUR WAY TO IN THIS CAP & TRADE-CLIMATE SCAM. AND ALSO AS OF JULY 1,2010 WE HAVE TO PUT OUR GARBAGE IN WHITE PLASTIC BAGS SO THEY SEE IF WE THROW SOME ENVIROMENTAL FRIENDLY ITEM OUT AND IF WE DO THEY DO NOT HAVE TO TAKE OUR GARBAGE AND THEY GIVE US A WARNING AND WE CAN BE CHARGED I THINK,I'M NOT POSSITIVE YET ON THE CHARGING PART TILL I GET MORE INFO ON THE SUBJECT.I'M NOT FAMILIAR REALLY ON THIS SUBJECT YET.
SMART GRID NEWS
Spotlight UCAN'S Smart Grid Wellness Prescription: 8 Not-So-Easy Steps Toward Consumer Acceptance May 18, 2010 By Michael Shames
Ask any consumer who has contracted for communications or phone service, financial services or even in some states, competitive energy services over the past decade and they'll tell you that buying any one these basic services is a hassle. Consumers have been subjected to billing and service fraud, choice restrictions, uninformed choices, tying and other contractual impositions, unilateral changes in service, non-performance, fly-by-night companies, unscrupulous fast-buck agents, discrimination, miscommunication, unaffordable redress, unfair fees and mystery surcharges AND privacy problems.When it comes to these fairly sophisticated and evolving businesses, being a consumer is a risky proposition.So ask these same consumers about their excitement about the emerging energy services that will be tied to Smart Grid deployment and their general reaction will be akin to the resignation of having to go to the dentist's office. Under their breath they'll collectively mutter: This isn't going to be fun. And if history is any gauge, they are correct. The telecommunications, financial and electric deregulation experience during the 1990s created more consumer migraines than a tone-deaf heavy metal band. And they have persisted into this new century.
As we enter the brave new Smart Grid world, it behooves regulators and marketers to learn from the lessons of the past and avoid future headaches. My particular prescription for Smart Grid wellness involves adherence to eight basic and long-established consumer rights.
1. Right to Receive Reliable and Affordable Energy Services
Smart Grid technology is being touted as a means to protect consumers and industries from outages caused by archaic distribution systems. As consumers adapt to the deployment of smart meters, they have a right to retain service reliability. The utilities and regulators appear to be committed to adopting cyber security to minimize the threat of the Smart Grid being hacked, causing service interruption and other dangers. By incorporating these protections into the deployment plan, the utilities will assure consumers that they are taking the best available steps to ensure the protection of the Smart Grid. These protections should limit third-party access that could result in service disruption from either the consumer side or the utility side of the Smart Grid. Such protections should also be developed to minimize the risk of service interruption from interference. Similar protections must be put in place to protect consumers from service disruption that arise from disputes with third parties providing Smart Grid services. And given the mandatory nature of smart meter deployment, consumers should not feel that the deployment of smart meters resulted in an increase in their rates. You don't want to see what an angry, distrustful consumer looks like. Trust me. It's not pretty.
2. Right to Consistent and Accurate Product and Service Performance
One of the great promises of the Smart Grid is that it will stimulate new products and services that consumers can use to control their home and business energy consumption. New in-home devices (IHD) and smart appliances will play a big role in bringing these new services to consumers. Consumers need to be assured that these devices perform consistently with their intended use. New technology does not always perform as promised, sometimes failing to achieve its intended purpose. Consumers will rely on these devices to help control their energy consumption and to provide accurate data and information about their energy use. If these devices and appliances do not function as intended, consumers could face higher energy costs and a host of headache-inducing frustrations. Regulators and the industry need to create assurances that IHDs will function properly and that they will correctly interact with the utility’s grid operations. For example, utilities should fund regional testing labs to ensure all available IHDs are compatible in their service area. In addition, the utilities should make their device functionality findings public so consumers are properly informed about the quality of the IHDs by a disinterested third party.
3. Right to Truthful Advertisement, Complete Information and Stable Third Parties
In addition to product liability, the industry needs to assure consumers that service providers will perform according to their representations. One essential step: Create guidelines to ensure truthful and clear advertising. Even further, there must be clear guidelines requiring that service-associated hardware and software meets the adopted Smart Grid standards. The hardware and software must not increase consumer cyber security risks, service interruption risks, cause excessive energy consumptions, or otherwise do anything outside their intended and represented manner.Consumers should also not have to risk losing power or face increased costs because of unscrupulous third parties. Steps must be taken to limit the ability of fly-by-night or unsecured third parties to offer services to the consumers. Preventative regulations include requiring companies wanting to access customer data to make a showing of financial stability and fulfill a bonding requirement. Coupled with industry certification standards, these steps will help ensure that consumers know which third parties provide the most reliable products and services. Next week in Part 2: Giving consumers choices and control – plus a task list for regulators.
Michael Shames is Executive Director and co-founder of the Utility Consumers' Action Network (UCAN), a non-profit consumer watchdog group made up of 31,000 San Diego households and small businesses. UCAN represents the interests of San Diegans in energy, telecommunication and Internet matters before the state and federal regulatory bodies. He also serves as an expert witness and attorney on behalf of UCAN and an adjunct professor at University of San Diego School of Business.
MORE SMART METER STORIES
Northern California's Pacific Gas & Electric apparently took some hard-learned lessons to heart this week when it did an about face and issued a public apology to customers for unacceptable customer service during its deployments of thousands of smart meters. Angry customers in Bakersfield sued the utility over what they said were overcharges on their utility bills and state regulators earlier ordered an audit of the battered meter program. PG&E also released a 700-page report on the program, what went wrong and how problems are being fixed. When the issue initially started to boil, PG&E insisted there was nothing wrong with the meters or the installations.
News PG&E Sued for Alleged Smart Meter-Related Overcharges
Nov 10, 2009
Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) has been sued by a Bakersfield, California man who says the smart meter the utility installed at his home is responsible for drastic increases in his electric bill. The class-action suit alleges that the meters are inaccurate and that the utility should refund the overcharges. The plaintiff, Pete Flores, claims the meter is responsible for more than doubling his utility bill—from less than $200 per month to over $500. Complaints against PG&E's electric rates had been flooding the office of State Senator Dean Florez (D-Shafter), the senator said in late September. Those complaints led him to set up hearings which were held in October with participants including PG&E, California state regulators and angry customers.
However, the hearings accomplished little. Customers continued to blame the new meters (installed as part of a long-term rollout of the new technology) and PG&E officials continued to insist there was nothing wrong with them. Utility officials said if anything should be blamed it was extreme weather and recent increases in electricity costs. The California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) agreed to look into the issue but stopped short of ordering PG&E to suspend its deployment of the meters.PG&E spokesman Paul Moreno was quoted in the San Francisco Chronicle as saying the utility stands behind its smart meter program and that the allegations in the Flores suit are untrue. He added that PG&E routinely tests roughly 10% of the meters before installation and compares data from the new meters with earlier data.
Attorney Michael Louis Kelly, who is representing Flores, was quoted as saying the problem needs to be sorted out and fixed now.PG&E has deployed 3.7 million meters so far and plans to have 10 million meters installed by 2012.
Quick Take: Here comes the consumer backlash we've been warning about for the past 18 months, and most regulated utilities are woefully unprepared to deal with it. Because they have never had to fight to get and keep customers, they literally don't know how to engage and persuade consumers. Urgent recommendation to our utility readers: Buy, beg or borrow consumer engagement expertise at your earliest opportunity.
Smart Meter Installed /Blew out Tankless Water Heater
We are a Cal state lic. contractor and in 2005-6 we installed a Boush Tankless water heater, the homeowner was happy has been happy with it, but just within the last month PG&E came to our customers home and installed the smart meter, the same day the water heater stopped working. When PGE came out they only told the homeowner to unplugg her computer and make sure everything was off. Well they never told her to unplug her water heater and now she has no hot water, and PGE insists it is not there fault, but it worked even that day before they arrived. HOw can we help our customer? People do not have money to throw away.
Stefanie Borges - 01/06/2010 - 15:22
Smart Meter to be installed
I want to know why should I HAVE to let PG&E install a Smart Meter on MY home.(it IS still MY home,right?)PG&E has notified me and have already tried to get access to my home(I have a locked gate in a rural community) and I have called them/emailed them and respectfully declined to allow them to install until more research in done.This Green in disguise meter will run up my already high enough bill. And how Smart is it to lay off more people? Help,where do I turn?
Sally - 02/06/2010 - 14:09
Tankless Water Heater no longer works
PGE just installed the smart meters at my home. 1 hr after installing both (gas and electric) my tankless water heater no longer would work. It's as if it does not get the gas flow needed for it to start and continue. PGE says their new meters don't impact flow, I beg to differ. Let's see, 1hr before installation my water heater worked perfectly fine. 1hr after installation it no longer works. I'm in San Jose, CA and can't get PGE to do anything about this. Sucks not having hot water anymore.
CK - 04/12/2010 - 11:50
BROCKTON WEBSITE- 40 miles from were i live
I'VE GOT THE CLEAR BAG INFO.RIGHT FROM THE BROCHURE THEY GAVE US.
CLEAR BAG PROGRAM FOR GARBAGE.
Start date:January 1,2010 operating voluntary basis and mandatory effective July 1,2010.
Residents will have a 6 month grace period to adjust to the change.This is an opportunity to use up your opaque or solid coloured garbage bags(Green/Black/Orange)as they will no longer be acceptable as of July 1,2010. Residentsare encouraged to take advantage of the voluntary participation phase prior to the full compliance deadline. This transition phase will help to clarify any questions or uncertainties you may have with the program.
Frequently asked questions.
What is a clear Bag? It is plastic waste disposal bag that is completely transparent and colourless.
Why Change to clear Bags for garbage? The Municipality has joined the growing number of communities in Onatario and across Canada that have decided to implement clear bags for garbage in order to ensure that recyclable materials and/or hazardous waste are not disposed of in landfll.Merits include:
-Ensures greater compliance with existing diversion programs.
-Supports enforcement of mandatory recycling by-law and landfill disposal bans by facilitating monitoring.
-Preserves landfill space/capacity and integrity.
-Health & safety benefits for collection personnel.
Together let's make our area a leader in waste diversion-the more you recycle,the less garbage you'll generate,the less trash ends up in landfill.Recyclng saves resources and reduces energy consumption.
Are bag tags still required? Yes,the municipality bag tags are still required to be affixed to the top of the clear bag.
Were can i buy clear bags? Retailers have been informed of the new requirement and an assortment of clear bag sizes including smaller kitchen catcher size(20x22inche)bags and larger standard size(26X36inch)bags will be available soon for purchase at most local grocery,home building and department stores. Please note that clear kitchen catcher size bags may be placed directly inside the larger clear standard size disposal bag.
What di i do if i use grocery bags or white kitchen catcher bags for garbage? These smaller non-clear bags should be emptied and placed loose into the clear bag. No opaque bag(any size)full of garbage is permitted to be placed inside the clear bag because this defeats the purpose of the initiative. The only exception is the privacy bag noted below.
What is a privacy bag? To address transparency concerns regarding personal items related to health/hygiene waste,one solid colour privacy bag no larger than 20"X22"(approximately the size of a kitchen catcher or grocery bag)per clear bag will be acceptable.(you can alsochhoose to set out your garbage at the curb in a clear bag stored inside your trash can).
What will happen after the voluntary period if i don't participate? Effective July 1,2010 non-compliant bags will be left at the curbside and will not be accepted at the landfill. This includes using non-clear bags and clear bags that contain blue box recyclables and/or banned materials from landfill(household hazardous waste,electronic waste,leaf and yard waste). If your waste is not collected,a sticker indicating the reason why will be attached to the bag.
How should I dispose of kitty litter and/or pet waste? Place within the appropriate size clear bag. If pet waste is contained within an opaque baggy from a walk,place baggy with contents into the privacy bag.
POINTS TO REMEMBER:
-The clear plastic bag for curbside collection should be a standard size bag(26"X36")
-The maximum weight per bag for curbside garbage collection is 40pounds(18K)
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