Changes are coming to your insurance policy

Due to the accumulation of fire related damage to homes and businesses from Smart Meter related malfunctions, Insurance Underwriting Offices across the country are contemplating new rules that will reduce the coverage available to you due to fire damage from a Smart Meter failure.

In the past, only two reasons existed for an insurance company to consider not paying for fire damage to your home or business, they were arson, and the fact the home or business sat vacant for at least 60 days or more before the fire.

Now a possible third reason can be added to that list, is the malfunction of a Smart Meter. What will most likely take place is that you will receive a notification from your Insurance Company telling you that a new limitation of coverage is now in force on your policy. When fire damage occurs to your home or business and the cause of the fire can be traced to a malfunction of your Smart Meter, then your company would not be held responsible for the financial loss.

The reason for this type of Draconian action on the part of the Insurance industry is simple, to save money. It appears that as the Smart Meters age, more problems are developing with them. When you couple this with the continued lack of co-operation from the Utility Companies, a reduction in the amount of coverage for an insurance policy is the only remaining answer.

The Utilities lack of co-operation can be reduced to two specific items. Number one would be the utilities continued action of removing the Meters from the loss site without giving the Insurance Company the chance to examine the Meter to determine the cause of the fire. It seems that as long as the Utility Companies continue in this practice, a cancellation in coverage from a Smart Meter fire is the end result. The reason that utility companies give for removal of the Meters is that the meters belong to the Utility Company which is a true statement, however, in the spirit of co-operation and concern for their customers, the Utility Companies should leave the Meters at the loss site until a complete examination of them can be done.

A second and perhaps more compelling reason for removal of the Smart Meters from the loss site is that the Utility Company does not want the Insurance Company to discover that most Meters have been operating at a higher temperature than usual. The normal ambient operating temperature for a new Smart Meter is 89 Degrees, the average operating temperature for the Analog Meters, which the Smart Meters replaced, is 85 degrees. The way in which the Utility Companies dealt with this problem was to drill two holes in the top of the Meter casings to let the heat out. Well, they let the heat out, but also let water and dust inside which made the malfunction of the Smart Meter almost a certainty.

If you have the opportunity, consult your state’s Public Utility Commission and refuse to have the new Smart Meter installed, it may just save you money.

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Exploding and melting smart meters in Stockton, California

At the present time, the real problems concerning the installation of more than 51 million Smart Meters in this country are being ignored, in spite of the evidence that continues to mount that we have a clear and present danger.

As an example of this situation, the following quote comes from the March 30, 2015 edition of the Stockton Record concerning a motor vehicle accident which occurred on Fairbury Lane in Stockton, California: “A county equipment operator crashed his dump truck into a power pole east of Stockton on Monday morning, bringing down a high-voltage transmission line that caused several fires and trapped the driver in his cab for 90 minutes. Once he was freed, he was arrested on suspicion of driving under the influence, according to authorities. The resulting power surge as the 60,000-volt transmission line plummeted onto a 12,000-volt distribution line caused havoc for more than 5,800 electric customers in parts of east, south and midtown Stockton when their power failed, meters exploded and electrical panels fried, according to Pacific Gas & Electric Co. and the Stockton Fire Department.”

The part of this account which attracted my attention concerned the meters exploding, the quote goes on: “In some cases, meters were literally blown off the panels. People described it as hearing a whirring sound like the meter was speeding up, then like an explosion. Some of the meters weren’t blown off, but they were fried and the glass was gone.”

As a claims adjuster, my first duty would be to make sure the policyholders on Fairbury Lane in Stockton were placed in temporary housing and their immediate physical needs were met. I would then proceed to reimburse the insured for their personal property loss and the required cost to repair their home, after that was completed I would begin the process to determine who was responsible for the loss.

In this occurrence the county equipment operator appears responsible for the loss occurring, if he had not allegedly been under the influence, the incident would not have taken place. However, he was allegedly under the influence, and the issue that needs to be ultimately addressed in order to fairly parcel out blame for this incident is, would the damage from the vehicle accident have been as bad if analog meters would have been installed instead of the Smart Meters.

I will next state that I am not an electrical engineer, however, with Smart Meter claims accumulating on my desk, I do know that the plastic housing and intricate circuitry will make the meters more susceptible to fires as in this loss.

The most devious element in the Smart Meter saga is the fact the meters are being removed and not made available for independent testing by qualified independent electrical engineers. Once a manufacturers defect is noted by an engineer, it will be reported to the correct sources and the meter manufacturers and utility companies will both be financially responsible, and perhaps the meter program will be stopped until it is perfected. Because the way it stands right now the policyholders are ultimately footing the bill for this situation.

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Are insurance companies avoiding the Smart Meter problem?

A dangerous precedent is being followed in the insurance industry concerning the investigation of smart meter fires. When a fire associated with the malfunctioning of a smart meter is reported to the insurance company, the Claims Adjuster will inspect the damage, and attempt to determine what caused the fire. The Adjuster will then continue the program of the evaluation of the loss and payment of the claim.

While the steps outlined take place, the insurance company is also interested in determining the cause of the fire, and if it is due to someone’s negligence or manufacturer’s defect. The insurance company will begin subrogation efforts to recover the insured’s deductible, as well as the amount the company paid for the repair.

Part of the problem I face as a Claims Adjuster and other Adjusters are dealing with, is that when the fire department receives the notice of a fire, one of their first duties is to notify the local public utilities to shut off the utilities, preventing the further spread of the fire. When the local electrical utility arrives and determines that a smart meter is the issue, they have been removing the meter, and preventing the inspection of the meter by the experts the insurance company will hire to determine who is responsible for the fire.

This is a serious situation, as the utility company, upon removal of the meter is tampering with what is evidence concerning the cause of the fire and can be held criminally responsible. Most utility companies will respond to us requesting our information concerning the cost of repair. When that information is provided, the utility company will normally pay the requested amount, less an allowance for depreciation of the structure and personal property if required.

As an example of this situation of the removal of the meter(s) from the fire scene the following is taken directly from the San Diego Fire Departments Incident report regarding a fire at a small shopping center:

On February 26, 2014 a fire broke out at Friars Village, which is a shopping mall located at 10450 Friars Road in the beautiful town of San Diego, California. Information concerning this fire is contained in the San Diego Fire Department’s Incident Report Number FS14023257.

Two important entries on the report provide for us an independent account of what took place at the Friars Village Shopping Mall. The first at 18:21:42, is stated, “10 minutes into incident 2 electric boxes on fire”; the second entry occurred at 19:42:09, “2 San Diego Gas and Electric Meters are on fire.” As of this day, the meters mentioned in the report have not been made available for examination.

In June of 2015, two black outs occurred in busy Las Vegas Nevada restaurants, believed to be caused by smart meter failures. Nevada Energy has removed the meters and as of this day the meters have still not been examined, although the claims are in the process of loss evaluation and will be paid by the insurance company. However, the real issue as to why all the meters are failing is not being dealt with.

I will be exploring the meter problem further, along with the impact it has on your policy both Homeowner and Commercial.

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In defense of your civil liberty

The debate concerning the current value of smart meter installation into homes and businesses rages on and on. The debate currently centers in Allen Park, Michigan where testimony is being heard concerning the problems and benefits of the meters.

If these words reach the members of the Allen Park community, I want you to know the following information. The first and biggest problem I believe that is presented by having the meter in your home, is safety. On July 9, 2010, one day after the installation of a smart meter in his home, Larry Nikkel’s home in Southern California burned and unfortunately, Mr. Nikkel lost his life in the fire. The meter was installed by Wellington Energy, who were contractors for Pacific Gas and Electric. A lawsuit was filed by Mr. Nikkel’s family against Pacific Gas and Electric, Wellington and the meter manufacturer which finally ended in a financial resolution in which the details of the agreement would not be discussed.

The second biggest problem regarding the smart meters concerns your privacy. The following quote is taken from the San Francisco Chronicle concerning the value of smart meters and the information they can furnish to potential sales of electrical appliances. Today the San Francisco Chronicle confirmed utilities are giving customers smart meter data to the government and third parties. Reporter David Baker writes, “Phone records and e-mail aren’t the only kinds of personal data that government agencies can collect on Americans. They can look at your home’s energy use, too. And that information can be revealing.”

The following information was furnished by The Northern California American Civil Liberties Union. “Transparency reports filed by the California utilities companies and obtained by the ACLU of California show that a significant amount of data about the energy use of Californians is also ending up in the hands of third parties. In 2012, a single California utility company, San Diego Gas & Electric, disclosed the smart meter energy records of over 4,000 of its customers.” The “privacy” rules, adopted by the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) allows disclosure of smart meter data for legal purposes, or pursuant to situations of imminent threat to life or property. San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) disclosed the records of 4,062 customers. PG&E disclosed 86 and SCE disclosed one.

The ACLU has indicated that a single request for information can result in the disclosure of the records of millions of utility customers.

I don’t know about you, but I will not permit the installation of a Smart Meter in my home and I suggest the citizens of Allen Park, Michigan do the same.

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SMART METER FIRE WOES CONTINUE

My interest was first turned to the problem of Smart Meter fires because of my work as a Property Claims Adjuster here in Southern California. As the Smart Meter roll out took place throughout Southern California, I began to see more and more situations where if the Smart Meter had not been installed, the fire would most likely not have taken place. The most tragic of these fires was the loss of life involving Larry Nikkel and the actions of Pacific Gas and Electric. The account of this fire and the loss of Mr. Nickel’s life can be reviewed at http://stopsmartmeters.org/2013/06/21/when-smart-meters-kill-the-story-of-larry-nikkel-details-emerge-of-vacaville-ca-smart-meter-fire-death/.

Now, another account of a Smart Meter fire has come my way which needs to be discussed. This new situation involves a documented case in which two separate smart meters were found to be burning at the same time and at the same location. On February 26, 2014 a fire broke out at Friars Village, which is a shopping mall located at 10450 Friars Road in the beautiful town of San Diego, California. Information concerning this fire is contained in the San Diego Fire Department’s Incident Report Number FS14023257.

Two important entries on the report provide for us an independent account of what took place at the Friars Village Shopping Mall. The first at 18:21:42, is stated, “10 minutes into incident 2 electric boxes on fire”; the second entry occurred at 19:42:09, “2 San Diego Gas and Electric Meters are on fire.”

As a normal part of the investigation and evaluation process of an insurance claim such as this fire, it will be necessary to have the opportunity to examine the meters to determine if they are the cause of the fire. In many instances in the past, examination of the meters has been denied by the utility companies, which creates a legal problem for the utility companies. However, one issue can be explored, and that is the examination of the wiring of the building into which the meters were installed. If the wiring is not compromised by age, use, or improper installation or repair, then the potential for the meters to have been the cause of the fire would appear to be the case.

If the San Diego Fire Department had not responded as quickly and efficiently as they did, a very serious fire situation on a commercial level could have developed.

As we are approaching an election this year, especially for California Insurance Commissioner, I believe the problems that have been presented by the Smart Meter installations need to be addressed on a political level. After all, the money that financed the purchase of the Smart Meters by the various public utilities in this state and country came from our taxes as a part of the stimulus program, which was meant to revive the economy and not to burn down our homes and businesses and endanger lives.

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SMART METER FIRES ARE AN INTERNATIONAL ISSUE

It has recently come to my attention, the issue of fires related to smart meter installation is not just confined to the United States, and a quick review of the situation in Canada has also brought to light almost identical problems.

In an article taken from the Ontario Association of Fire Chiefs newsletter, the following is stated,

“Smart meter installations are the suspected cause of an “unusual” number of fires similar to a recent electrical fire at a home in Mission, according to a recent investigation by the Ontario fire marshal’s office.

BC Hydro is in the process of a $1-billion installation of the meters, which use wireless technology to transmit information about electricity consumption to power utilities, following the lead of provinces and states including Ontario and California.

There’s no evidence to suggest that the meters themselves are overheating and catching fire, but it appears from an Ontario fire marshal’s report, dated June 15, 2012, that the base plates, or four-pronged sockets that meters plug into, can become compromised and start to burn if they’re old or suffer rough handling during installation.”

In a related article taken from the Vancouver Sun the following is noted concerning a house fire and the implication that a recently installed smart meter was at fault,

“BC Hydro is in the process of a $1-billion installation of the meters, which use wireless technology to transmit information about electricity consumption to power utilities, following the lead of provinces and states including Ontario and California.

There’s no evidence to suggest that the meters themselves are overheating and catching fire, but it appears from an Ontario fire marshal’s report, dated June 15, 2012, that the base plates, or four-pronged sockets that meters plug into, can become compromised and start to burn if they’re old or suffer rough handling during installation.”

Money appears to be the issue behind both the United States, Canada, as well as Australia’s rush to modernize the grid. However, this rush is creating havoc, property damage, and loss of life. Soon in this country insurance companies will begin to recognize the problem, and once they do they will start the subrogation process and will not stop until they are repaid for their expense.

I hope that the governments involved, as well as the utility companies which have taken our tax money to participate in this program will recognize the value of their citizens and their customers as people and that the customer is to be served and not to serve.

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SMART METER FIRES, WHAT YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY SHOULD DO

If you have recently experienced a fire in your home, or place of business, this article is definitely for you. One of the parts of the investigation and evaluation of a fire damage claim will usually consist of questions the fire department personnel and the insurance claims adjuster will ask you. The questions will concern the condition of the electrical system of the structure occupied immediately prior to the fire. Such questions as, did you recently purchase an appliance, have any electrical repair work done, or notice anything different concerning the way in which your appliances operated?

If prior to the fire you noticed your electrical appliances not operating as they should, and if you are one of the millions of homes and businesses that have had an electrical smart meter installed, you need to advise your insurance company of the fact of the smart meter installation.

Advising your company of this fact will not alter the way in which they adjust the claim, but it will create an avenue of recovery for the funds paid to you and also for reimbursement of your deductible.

As early as 2011, fire damage began to be linked to smart meter installation. Commonwealth Edison of Illinois stated “three smart meter fires were confirmed in their operating area.” Also, in the same time frame, Peco Energy went so far as to suspend installations in the Mid-Atlantic States of the Smart Meter after confirmed reports of 15 smart meter related fires.

If you experienced situations in which your electrical appliances would flicker, or make crackling noises prior to the fire, or completely fail, you may be the victim of a smart meter which was manufactured incorrectly, or installed incorrectly.

In most cities and counties in this country when a fire of any significance takes place, the fire department will notify the power company, and they will usually respond and remove the meter. This creates a problem in that if a smart meter related fire is apparent, the insurance company should have the right to examine the meter to determine if it is the source of the fire.

I have come to see that if the power company decides not to co-operate it will be necessary to obtain a subpoena and have it served on the Power Company to have the right to examine the meter, as well as a record of the meter’s operation 24 hours prior to the fire. This record is the information the smart meter sends by a surge of energy to an orbiting satellite, which in turn sends that same information concerning your power usage to your Power Company.

If a qualified electrical engineer can determine abnormal fluctuations in the smart meter’s operation which may have caused the fire, you may stand a chance of recovering the amount of your deductible. Your insurance company could also stand a very good chance of recovering their payments for your fire damage repair.

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SMART METER AND ADVANCED METER GREED

One of the more interesting facts I have discovered in the Smart Meter and Advanced Meter installation saga is where the money for these programs are coming from. In doing the research on this issue I discovered that in 2009, as a part of the Department of Energy’s Grant Stimulus Program, billions of dollars was set aside to aid in the manufacturing and installation of both the Electric Smart Meter, as well as the Gas Company’s Advanced Meter. This money was to be distributed to the Utility Companies across this country to complete the project.

The money for this project the Department of Energy obtained from the taxes collected from you and me. Now the various Utilities have stated that the cost for manufacturing and installation of these meters will be passed on to the consumer in the form of a monthly fee to be attached to your bill. The utility companies have stated the savings passed on to the consumer will more than make up for the fee. The point is, if we have paid for the meters once, why do we have to pay for them again when they are installed. How many billions do you need?

Concerning the savings the new meter technology offers I offer the following story taken from the Letters to the editor of the “Chico Enterprise-Record” of 03/06/2013: ‘PUC No help on high energy bills”.

“Want the California Public Utilities Commission to help resolve problems with Pacific Gas and Electric Co.? Forget it.

My January PG&E bill was $966.27, which was almost $600 more than my normal winter bills. After zillions of calls to PG&E and filing a complaint with the PUC, I was told that if PG&E says your Smart Meter is operating properly then the “customer” is responsible for the bill. And that’s it. Neither PG&E nor the PUC make any overt efforts to find out what is the problem causing the high energy bills.

I am a senior citizen whose life is substantially the same day in and day out. No wild parties, no pot garden — it’s pretty boring. Yet our taxes are going to a government agency that is doing nothing to ensure that we are not ripped off. Otherwise, shut down the PUC. As for my February bill, it is twice as high as the February 2012 bill. Will it ever end? I found some interesting info at a website called No Smart Meters. Check it out. — Barbara St. John, Oroville.”

The above example is just the tip of the iceberg concerning the problems that have surfaced due to the attempts to modernize the electrical grid and the gas meter reading system. One of the most troubling problems to me will be the elimination of a complete vocation of individuals who would circulate through your neighborhoods and read the electrical and gas meters for a living.

Let’s step back and re-evaluate the Smart Meter and Advanced Meter program.

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The Southern California Gas Company’s Advanced Meter

As soon as I completed my last article concerning the issues still unresolved about the Smart Meter being forced down the public’s throat by the electrical utility companies, I received a notice in the mail concerning the upcoming installation of the Gas Company’s Advanced Meter.

According to the notice, the benefits of the Gas Company’s new meter will give customers the ability to track the hourly, daily and monthly usage of your gas. It will also increase accuracy, security and efficiency in the billing system.

Please take note of the following facts already established concerning the Electric Smart Meters and the Gas Advanced Meters:

1.) In December of 2012, a lawsuit was filed in Federal Court charging that health impacts from smart meters, and the smart grid have occurred causing San Diego resident Deborah Cooney to no longer be able to occupy her home due to the RF (radiation frequencies) given off by the electric and gas smart meters.

2.) Former CIA director, James Woolsey, says the hacking vulnerabilities of the Smart Grid render it, “a really really stupid grid.” Cyber security expert David Chalk says: “There is not a power meter or device on the grid that is protected from hacking – if not already infected – with some kind of Trojan horse that can cause the grid to be shut down or completely annihilated.”

3.) The San Francisco Chronicle has confirmed *utilities are giving customers smart meter data to the government and third parties. Reporter David Baker writes, “Phone records and e-mail aren’t the only kinds of personal data that government agencies can collect on Americans. They can look at your home’s energy use, too. And that information can be revealing.”

4.) The Northern California ACLU writes, “transparency reports filed by the California utilities companies and obtained by the ACLU of California show that a significant amount of data about the energy use of Californians is also ending up in the hands of third parties. In 2012, a single California utility company, San Diego Gas & Electric, disclosed the smart meter energy records of over 4,000 of its customers.”

What this means to me is that if you have the Smart and Advanced Meter installed, your records of electrical and gas usage, can be sold on the open market and you will then be deluged with advertising in the mail and on your computer to purchase new appliances.

The Southern California Gas Company has provided an opt-out method. In the memo which they sent to our home it is stated, “If you defer installation, now, SoCalGas will contact you once the California Public Utilities Commission has ruled on our Advanced Meter opt-out program. You can decide at that time based on the rate approved by the CPUC, whether you want to formally opt-out and pay the applicable fees or allow the installation of an Advanced Meter at no incremental cost.”

That vaguely sounds like extortion to me.

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ASSAULT OF THE SMART METERS

As a part of the continual battle in dealing with the invasion of the Smart Meters I want to add this additional piece of helpful information for those of you who have installed the Smart Meter. If you have experienced a fire in the home you own or are renting, a copy of the Smart Meter record of activities immediately before the date and time of the fire should be supplied to you upon your request. This record of activity can only be furnished to the account holder for that address. If the record of activity prior to the time of the fire shows any type of anomaly, that anomaly could indicate that the Smart Meter malfunctioned in such a way as to be the cause for the fire.

Why am I giving you this information? If you have been unfortunate enough to have experienced a fire in your home, and if you have insurance, be sure of this one thing, your insurance company will be looking for the cause of the fire. This is due to the fact that every dollar that goes out for the repair of your home and property, the insurance company will be trying to recover those dollars from the responsible party.

If your home or business has a Smart meter, make sure that your adjuster and insurance company makes the effort to obtain, and then review the Smart Meter record of activity immediately before the fire, as it just might relieve you of an insurance policy cancellation due to a fire which you did not start.

As an example of the severity of the problems experienced with the Smart Meter invasion, the following Court action has just been completed:

Mr. Larry Nikkel, a resident of the city of Vacaville, California, was reported as having died in a fire which started due to the malfunction of a recently installed Smart Meter. It is believed that the Smart Meter was arcing. The interesting element in this tragic story, is that the case settled out of court, which might possibly mean the Utility Company was backed into a corner and they bought their way out, as all records of the settlement are sealed.

One important fact to remember, if the utility company does not supply the record of the Smart Meter activity, it may be necessary to obtain that record through a subpoena.

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