Bill Bathgate, an Electrical and Mechanical Engineer, has looked at the Landis & Gyr Focus meters that Seattle City Light is rolling out for the AMI deployment. In this presentation he goes into detail about the accuracy fallacy, privacy and security issues, and Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) non-compliance to FCC regulations.
by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions
In order to penalize consumers who do not wish to take on the additional safety and security risks associated with smart meters, utilities typically charge those customers punitive fees. They justify or rationalize these fees by proclaiming that other customers should not subsidize the few consumers refusing smart meters.
In actuality, those customers refusing smart meter risks are simply requesting a “same level of service” with a traditional analog meter. Logically, in those circumstances, why should there be any change in how the customer is billed for electric service?
Additionally, however, even while a customer is paying a punitive fee for a smart meter refusal, they nearly always are also paying for the infrastructure costs associated with having a smart meter, even though they don’t have a smart meter. Does that seem “fair”, i.e., being charged twice? This issue was discussed at the March 14, 2017, Michigan House Energy Policy meeting chaired by Representative Gary Glenn. Highlights from that meeting are provided below.
Read the rest of the article at smartgridawareness.org
by David Griffith
In late September, City Council staff admitted Seattle’s electric utility had failed to meet revenue projections for the past four years. Despite a significant population increase, residential energy use dropped. City Light believes a large portion of the shortfall is due to conservation and a switch to more efficient energy devices. Reporter David Griffith spoke with local activist Sonia Hoglander about the utility’s plan for high-cost advanced electric meters, and its need to reduce costs.
City on the brink: Petersburg can’t pay its bills and time is running out
By Gregory S. Schneider
PETERSBURG, Va. — She had felt sick the night before when she broke the news to department heads, and now it was 4:30 p.m. and Dironna Moore Belton still couldn’t eat her lunch. She opened her salad and found that her fiance had slipped in a note of encouragement.
She was going to need the note more than the food.
Belton, 38, the interim city manager, was about to step in front of the City Council and a packed hall of residents and tell them they had to make drastic — even shocking — cuts to city services. Reduce funding for schools whose students are already among the lowest-performing in the state. Cut fire and police in a city that has an unusually high rate of violent crime. Close departments, shrink city pay, shut down museums. Even withdraw support for the summer league baseball team.
The alternative was far worse.
Without these steps, Belton would tell them, Petersburg had about a month before it would confront the unthinkable: total collapse.
This city of 32,000 just south of Richmond is facing a financial crisis unusual for fiscally conservative Virginia — or any state. In at least the past four years, the city had spent all of its reserves and then kept spending money it didn’t have. It took out short-term loans based on anticipated tax revenue to keep paying bills.
When the loans ran out, it stopped paying. Some fire and rescue equipment has been repossessed. The city trash hauler is threatening to stop pickup. And lenders will not give Petersburg any more loans.
In his 46 years minding state ledgers in various roles, Virginia Finance Secretary Ric Brown has never seen anything like it. “As a rule, most Virginia localities are in pretty good shape,” Brown said.
What’s more, there is no mechanism in state law to help Petersburg — no provision for bankruptcy, no set way for the General Assembly to step in.
Belton’s task was to make the council confront this and act. Every member would hate to hear the message, and the prescription would draw gasps and cries of disbelief from residents at the meeting later that night. And to make it a little tougher for Belton, this toxic presentation was, in effect, her job application.
As interim city manager since March 4, Belton was living out a dream she had had since coming up through the Petersburg schools. Hers was an unlikely ambition — a young black girl hoping to lead a city that, at the time, was largely run by whites. Now she had the chance. But she had to apply for the permanent job at the same time she was recommending measures no city wants to do.
So, no, she hadn’t eaten lunch. She didn’t have the stomach for it.
Trouble with water meters
Petersburg’s budget crisis began coming to light early this year, but the city has a long relationship with suffering. Residents are quick to cite three momentous calamities, even though one occurred more than 150 years ago.
The siege of Petersburg during the Civil War continues to define the place. The fame of that nine-month stalemate, when Union Gen. Ulysses S. Grant camped outside of town and residents black and white starved within, has long been a lure for history-minded tourists. Old families still tell tales of scraping by.
More recently, in 1985, the tobacco giant Brown & Williamson moved out of state, taking thousands of jobs and pulling the props out of the local economy. And in 1993, a deadly tornado blasted through the downtown historic district and set back revitalization efforts by decades.
Add in the recent recession and nationwide real estate crisis, and today Petersburg’s economy is a shambles. Nearly three in 10 residents live in poverty, more than twice the statewide rate. As the population has declined from its peak in 1980, it has also gotten older — more than 15 percent of residents are 65 or older, vs. 13 percent statewide.
And its streets of dilapidated and abandoned homes can make Petersburg the butt of jokes, such as earlier this month when actor Rainn Wilson, in town to shoot a movie, posted an Instagram photo of a boarded-up building behind a sign proclaiming “Upscale Apartment Living” and captioned it “. . . courtesy of Petersburg, Virginia.”
So it’s not surprising that the city would have budget problems. But the magnitude went either unnoticed or unaddressed. The previous city manager oversaw construction of a $12.7 million public library and, early this year, had the council considering plans to replace the 1856 city hall building with an $18 million complex. It all unraveled, however, after a problem with water meters.
A campaign to install new “smart” meters throughout Petersburg was a disaster. Some of the new devices were calibrated wrong and some were installed incorrectly. Water billings went haywire. Some residents weren’t billed for months at a time while others got exorbitant bills. And revenue stopped flowing to the city, causing a money crunch.
Mayor W. Howard Myers said the council fired in March its city manager, William E. Johnson III, in large part because of the meter fiasco. For an interim manager, city leaders turned to Belton, who had come to oversee Petersburg’s transit system in 2013 after working in state government.
“We felt she was doing a wonderful job with our bus transit system, and we felt that — being vested in the city of Petersburg — she would be the best individual to help us move forward,” Myers said.
See the rest of the story here.
by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions
I discovered a new article  written by Nick Hunn of WiFore Consulting Ltd. regarding the status of the smart meter program in the UK, dated August 1, 2016. In May 2016, Mr. Hunn provided testimony before the UK House of Commons’ Science and Technology’s “evidence check” as was highlighted at this website in a separate article . In particular, Mr. Hunn has been critical of the smart meter’s remote disconnect capability from a cyber security perspective, stating in his testimony that:
“If somebody could hack into that or just by mistake turn off very large numbers of meters, that sudden shock of taking them off the grid, and even worse be able to turn back on at the same time, would cause significant damage. And to me that’s an unnecessary risk.”
Hunn has a unique and colorful writing style when making his points. His latest article reiterates concern about inherent security flaws for smart meters and that there could soon be an unraveling of the UK smart meter program due to cost overruns and fewer projected benefits.
Read rest of the article here.
Federal Income Tax Credit
Sales Tax Exemption in Washington State
Washington State Production Incentive
For businesses – MACRS Depreciation of Solar Energy property
1. Seattle City Light is ratcheting back the incentives for people who use solar panels—and people like former Seattle mayor Greg Nickels are not happy about it.
People who put solar panels on their homes will now be receiving up to 35 percent less incentive money than the amount they were originally promised by Seattle City Light.
Historically, Seattle City Light used money from a state program known as the Renewable Energy System Cost Recovery Program that was created by the legislature to promote sustainable and green energy use. As part of that program, Seattle City Light told solar panel customers the would get $0.54 for every kilowatt-hour that their (Washington-made) solar panels generated energy. The rebates would be paid in five annual installments. Additionally, in an equation known as net metering, if the solar panels were generating more power than someone’s home was using in the first place, Seattle City Light would give solar users a credit on top of the rebates for all the power they put back into the city’s power grid.
But Seattle City Light topped out on the state program budget during the 2016 fiscal year, forcing them to scale back the program.
Nickels, who installed an 8.96-kilowatt solar panel system at his home last September, took to Facebook June 30 to voice his frustration over the change. The post garnered heated reactions from both sides, including from Mayor Ed Murray, who defended the city’s decision.
“Today is the end of the ‘Solar Year’ in Washington State,” Nickels wrote on his Facebook page. “This feels to me like a broken promise and will be a huge disincentive for others to install solar. And that’s a shame.”
Seattle City Light spokesman Scott Thomsen told Fizz Seattle City Light is not to blame for the drop in incentive money. Thomsen said the reason Seattle City Light reached the cap set by the legislature so quickly was because they more people were installing solar panels than anticipated, people were installing larger solar systems, and there were more days of sunshine in Seattle last year. Essentially, the program was a victim of its own success.
In a similar irony, Seattle City Light’s cap was also reduced due to lower electricity bills in general, which Thomsen attributed to lower heating bills for homeowners in recent milder winters and the increased number of energy efficient homes in the city in general.
Thomsen said Seattle City Light had two options when they reached their cap: end incentive programs for all future solar panel users, or cut the incentives for everybody. Mayor Murray chose the latter option for Seattle.
“Presumably, the incentives will keep going down until the legislature comes up with a fix for it,” Thomsen said.
Nickels said one way the city could make customers feel better about the incentive cuts, was to have the incentive payments extended from five years to seven or eight years.
“If you make a promise that you’re going to pay $0.54 an hour, and someone makes an investment—in our case the investment was over $30,000 to install the system—I think you have an obligation to make them whole,” Nickels told Fizz. “[Seattle City Light] has taken advantage of the system to encourage people to make that investment.”
SCL’s Thomsen said they “made no promises about incentives.” He added: “We described the incentives that were available from the state. The limitations on those incentives are set by the legislature as would any changes. All utilities in the state must follow those rules. If anyone believes changes are needed, they should contact their legislators.”
Original Article on SeattleMet here
SUMA-NW Representatives Sonia Hoglander and Nancy Morris give testimony to the Seattle City Council opposing “smart” meters.
SUMA-NW Members Rebecca Campbell and David Ward follow up with additional testimony.
Seattle City Light was asked what the impact would be to delay the $95 MILLION AMI Project for 3 years and/or 6 years. Stunning!
by Brian Thiesen
Time of Use (TOU) Billing… a.k.a. Profit Maximization Billing, is when Utilities will charge more or less depending on what time you use power. Utilities know that the majority of your power will be used at certain times. Examples are 6 am – 10 am and 3 pm to 7 pm. Of course they are about the money and so because you use the most power at this time, they will charge you more.
The con is to make you believe this is to ‘handle loads’ or of course the ever popular green washing ‘energy conservation’ (which of course has shown meters save no energy for consumers AND it costs more in the end to power the smart grid).
The irony on ‘load handling’ is we are all supposed to get smart appliances which works out well for the ‘green’ side since we should throw out perfectly good appliances for new ones that last half the time (but hey you can set your washer 500 different ways now although this does not change the quality of wash but the beeps and lights keep the babies entertained and the techies happy).
Read the full article here