Keeping your analog meter

Featured

People Who Protest Can Keep Analog Meters

  1. Fill out Opt-Out Application.
  2. Attach or include the analog meter demand letter (Letter Template edited as appropriate for you).
  3. Cc as many people in power as possible such as Seattle City Council members, key Seattle City Light staff, local city councils (i.e. Shoreline, Normandy Park, Lake Forest Park, …), and the Seattle City Attorney.
  4. Call Seattle City Light until you are definitely  added to the exemption list that indicates you want to retain your analog meter; this list is managed by Kelly Enright (Customer Care Director for AMI Deployment).
  5. Continue to call and email  until you have it in writing in an email or on paper.

 

There have been numerous successes to date of people keeping their analog meter and a few where the Landis+Gyr opt-out meter was removed and an analog meter returned to the property owner. You just need to be persistent. They are reluctant to agreeing with a real opt-out to their AMI program. They are not making it easy. People who rent need to work with the owners of their property. Condos and apartments are almost entirely excluded from opting out; the policy states there must be 4 units or less to qualify and everyone has to agree. We have one customer who is a renter at a 10 unit apartment complex that got all the agreements and a letter from the owner, they got a verbal agreement to allow them to opt-out, that was later reneged on by Seattle City Light. They are still fighting.


Opt-Out

Applications are available here. We recommend:

  1. Do not include personal health information in the reasons field, simply state “health concerns”; other reasons stated simply could be: violation of 4th Amendment, fire risks, privacy risks, cyber security threats to power grid, or just personal reasons.
  2. Send it via certified mail.
  3. Email a PDF copy to people in power.
  4. Note: some people are crossing out the application sentence that refers to the Opt-Out meter and writing in an Analog Meter.  Some people have added to the Reason for Opt-Out section of the Opt-Out application that they want to retain their analog meter or will accept a refurbished analog meter if necessary.

Letter Template


 

Key Seattle City Light Staff

Seattle City Council Members (* means they are on the Environment & Energy Committee)

Fax: 206-684-8587, ATTN: Seattle City Council Members

Other Useful People

Please like and share

Demand Analog Meter Letter Template

Instructions:

If you have SCL as your electricity provider, please write, call, and/or fax the Seattle City Council and especially your own councilmember and cc: SCL General Manager Larry Weis. If not in Seattle, then cc: your own city council along with the Seattle City Council. Those on the Energy Committee are denoted by an * after their name.  Tell them you want an analog meter option (suggested letter template below). Please consider both emails and phone calls if you have time.

Fax: 206-684-8587, ATTN: Seattle City Council Members

Kshama Sawant*: 206-684-8016 kshama.sawant@seattle.gov
Lorena Gonzalez*: 206-684-8802, Lorena.Gonzalez@seattle.gov
Debora Juarez *: 206-684-8807, Debora.Juarez@seattle.gov

Sally Bagshaw: 206-684-8801, sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov
Tim Burgess: 206-684-8806, tim.burgess@seattle.gov
Bruce Harrell: 206-684-8804, bruce.harrell@seattle.gov
Lisa Herbold: 206-684-8803, Lisa.Herbold@seattle.gov
Mike O’Brien: 206-684-8800, mike.obrien@seattle.gov
Rob Johnson: 206-684-8808, Rob.Johnson@seattle.gov

Larry Weis: 206-684-3200, Larry.Weis@seattle.gov

More contacts and suggestions:

Those who have had success also included Maura Brueger, Peter Holmes, and the Seattle City Council (SCC) aides Ted Verdone and Alex Clardy.

Maura Brueger (Council Liaison for City Light), 206-684-3015,  Maura.Brueger@seattle.gov
Peter Holmes (the Seattle city attorney), peter.holmes@seattle.gov
Ted Virdone (Sawant’s aide), ted.virdone@seattle.gov
Alex Clardy (Herbold’s aide), alex.clardy@seattle.gov

For people who are NOT able to opt out we strongly suggest to begin keeping a diary or dated notes regarding any unusual electrical activity (this could include surges that damage appliances) in your house or anything else that may be related to the install of the new meter, as well as communications with SCL or City Council regarding meters.

Note health changes, bill changes (be sure to compare apples to apples), environmental (trees, shrubbery wilting, birds abandoning nests, bee hive collapse), pet issues (behavior, health)

Please like and share

June Update & OPT-OUT!

Featured

AMI Meter Deployment has Begun

“Smart” meters, now called the new “standard” electric meters, are starting to roll out inopt-out the Seattle City Light (SCL) territories, causing a resurgence of the discussion about the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project and all of its implications. This newsletter will review the main reasons to cancel the project and to demand an analog meter option. You are invited to participate in a letter writing campaign and reach out to others in your community. Suggestions at the end.

SCL Revenue Shortfall & AMI Deployment Cost Overruns

Recently, Seattle City Light has been under scrutiny from the Seattle City Council (SCC) for issues related to revenue shortfalls for the past 5 years and cost overruns of the AMI Deployment project. These issues are related. For SCL, the AMI Deployment is about dramatically cutting operational costs to offset the decreasing revenue trend, which is expected to continue. SCL customers have already seen increased rates over the last several years to primarily enable the AMI and the Denny substation projects. None of the operational savings that SCL will create will be passed on to the customer; on the contrary they are now looking into how to restructure their billing to counter the decreasing retail electricity demand and still maintain revenue. We will be watching this discussion closely.

ACLU Against Seattle’s AMI Deployment

ACLU sent a letter to Seattle City Council on May 26, 2017 over privacy concerns. ACLU is demanding stronger privacy safeguards around the data collection and third-party access to that data. They are also concerned that SCL customers have not been adequately informed about the AMI deployment to enable their actual consent and that the Opt-Out Policy is meaningless and expensive. Read the details here.

Opt-Out and Demand Analog Option

Michigan has introduced a bill, HB 4220, that would allow citizens to opt-out of the state’s AMI program and retain their analog meters. Hearings have been held and several state Senators and Representatives have testified on the lack of value from the “smart” meter deployment and the significant risk to safety and security; Michigan State Senator Patrick Colbeck is one of the proponents of this bill, here is his testimony.

The AMI project in Seattle does not provide any benefit to the customer either, only detriment, in higher rates and greater risk. The only way that SCC or SCL will change their direction is if enough constituents and customers stand up and speak out. SCL has offered an opt-out from the new microwave emitting “standard” meters, but that does not adequately protect the customers or community. The opt-out will mean that a customer will get a non-transmitting (non-microwave) new “standard” meter. Though the non-transmitting meter is better than the transmitting one, it does not alleviate the increased costs nor the bulk of risks associated with a digital meter. The ONLY solution is to demand the option to have an analog meter.

  • Larry Weis, General Manager at SCL, said he would make analog meters available for people who opt-out in a meeting with SUMA-NW on April 4, 2016. He was going to hang on to the ones that were still good.  SCL is now saying that they cannot provide analog meters. The meter industry has killed the analog market to secure the demand for inferior digital meters that need to be replaced more frequently.  “Analog meters are no longer available,” is a contrived story. Austin Power in Austin, TX, where Mr. Weis was the former CEO, has an analog meter opt-out policy as do other places in the US.  Austin Power uses refurbished analog meters from Hialeah Meter Company in Florida to satisfy the opt-out policy.  They are equal or better than new. SCL’s claim that digital meters are more accurate than analog meters is also a myth.
  • The payment burden for deploying the AMI system is born by the customers and opt-out customers will pay twice, rates have already increased, electricity bills will increase, and they will pay an opt-out fee and an additional per billing cycle charge. See Michigan Representative Gary Glenn testimony.
  • The following table shows the comparison of digital meters to analog meters. All meters will be digital from now on unless the public speaks up. The AMI meter will be an RF transmission meter and the Opt-Out will be a plain digital meter without RF transmission.
Digital Meters Analog Meters
Electricity usage is calculated (not measured) and probably time averaged, which will cause usage to be higher see Engineer William Bathgate’s explanation.* Electromechanical measurement as accurate as digital meters.**
Weather conditions like temperature and humidity can affect accuracy. Not susceptible to weather conditions.
Use electricity to operate thereby increasing electricity usage that costs you more. Does not use electricity.
Meter readers are replaced with 24/7 AMI IT staff Implementing self-reading program will save on meter readers.***
Does not reduce overall CO2. Zero impact on environment.
Increased fire hazard, especially with RF transmission. Not known to cause fires.
Transmitting meters pose cyber security threat. (Cynthia Ayers is a national security threat analyst testifies for the Michigan House Committee.) Do not pose a cyber security threat.
Are hackable. Not hackable.
Creates privacy breach through the collection of granular electricity usage data that can reveal intimate details about what is going on inside a person’s home that thrid-party entities have access to. No data collection.
Subject to catastrophic failures, such as power surges, lightning strike. Not subject to catastrophic failures.
Creates electromagnetic interference (EMI) which places a destructive burden on appliances (refrigerator) and electronics (computer) on a circuit. Not compliant to FCC rules for “conducted” emissions (EMI/RFI) class A or B. No EMI.
Life span of 5-15 years, AMI 5-9 years, non-transmitting digital can last 15 years Last for over 40 years.
Remote disconnect and outage detection features have been benched (for transmission meters only) because of project cost overruns. The default will be the same as for analog meters. The remote disconnect, if and when implemented will increase the fire hazard. Outage detection by phone (still the primary method in AMI areas) and disconnects done manually. Outage detection at substations are currently effective and sufficient.

*This report specifically addresses the specific meters to be deployed in the SCL area, and thoroughly explains Accuracy, EMI/RFI, and Security/Privacy issues.

**Both meters comply to the same standards, ANSI C12, therefore meet same specifications for accuracy.

***If meter readers are too costly, then implement a self-reading program as is done in most rural areas for those who prefer an analog meter.

The AMI meter is the Landis & Gyr FOCUS RXR-SD, the Opt-Out meter is the L&G FOCUS AXR. Ideally, an Analog meter would be an option. For further clarification of the different meters and their electromagnetic profiles click here.

Meter Model EMR/Microwave /RF EMI/RFI – Electric Fields from Interference
FOCUS RXR-SD YES YES
FOCUS AXR NO YES
Analog NO NO

 

Actions:

  1. Opt-Out – applications are available here. We recommend:
    1. Do not include personal health information in the reasons field, simply state “health concerns”; other reasons stated simply could be: violation of 4th Amendment, fire risks, privacy risks, cyber security threats to power grid, or just personal reasons.
    2. Send it via certified mail
    3. Attach or include a letter demanding an analog meter option (suggested letter template below).
  2. Contact Seattle City Council members (they are the decision body for SCL)

If you have SCL as your electricity provider, please write, call, and/or fax the Seattle City Council and especially your own councilmember and cc: SCL General Manager Larry Weis. If not in Seattle, then cc: your own city council along with the Seattle City Council. Those on the Energy Committee are denoted by an * after their name.  Tell them you want an analog meter option (suggested letter template below). Please consider both emails and phone calls if you have time.

Fax: 206-684-8587, ATTN: Seattle City Council Members

Kshama Sawant*: 206-684-8016 kshama.sawant@seattle.gov
Lorena Gonzalez*: 206-684-8802, Lorena.Gonzalez@seattle.gov
Debora Juarez *: 206-684-8807, Debora.Juarez@seattle.gov

Sally Bagshaw: 206-684-8801, sally.bagshaw@seattle.gov
Tim Burgess: 206-684-8806, tim.burgess@seattle.gov
Bruce Harrell: 206-684-8804, bruce.harrell@seattle.gov
Lisa Herbold: 206-684-8803, Lisa.Herbold@seattle.gov
Mike O’Brien: 206-684-8800, mike.obrien@seattle.gov
Rob Johnson: 206-684-8808, Rob.Johnson@seattle.gov

Larry Weis: 206-684-3200, Larry.Weis@seattle.gov

3. Share the message

Share this message to everyone; there must be hundreds of people to have any affect. Forward to all your friends and family in the Seattle area, post it on your Facebook and/or your neighborhood’s Next Door. Seattle City Light (SCL) also services people in Burien, Lake Forest Park, Normandy Park, Renton, SeaTac, Shoreline, and Tukwila.

Letter Template

For your subject line we suggest:

OPT-OUT SHOULD INCLUDE ANALOG METER OPTION


To whom it may concern:

I am opting out of the AMI meter, but do not want a digital meter at all. I demand that Seattle City Light provide an analog meter option. It is becoming known, because of testimony in the Michigan House and Senate, that AMI meters are a significant cyber security threat and that even the non-radio transmitting meters are inferior to analog meters and pose a risk to my safety, security and privacy.

  1. An analog meter option exists in a number of states, like Austin Power in Austin, TX where SCL GM Larry Weis oversaw that opt-out policy.
  2. Analog meters are safer for electrical equipment, appliances, and aged wiring.
  3. Analog meters are as accurate as digital meters and may be more accurate in extreme weather.
  4. Analog meters last for over 40 years, whereas the opt-out meter will only last 15 years at most.
  5. As a Seattle City Light customer I am already paying through my rates for the AMI, and will be penalized for opting out and forced to pay a per billing cycle fee for a new digital meter that may incorrectly increase my usage through internal computer errors that cannot be audited or appealed.
  6. An analog meter will protect my privacy. The new meters collect granular electricity usage data that can reveal intimate details about what is going on inside a person’s home that third-party entities have access to. The ACLU has detailed these issues and neither SCL nor SCC has adequately recognized the issues or mitigated them, violating constitutional rights without the consent or knowledge of the public.

I request to be notified before the date of my scheduled meter replacement that I will have the option CHOOSE ONE: to retain my analog meter, or have my digital meter replaced with a refurbished analog meter.

Regards,

 


 

Please like and share

Smart Meter Update Winter 2017

opt-outSUMA-NW advocates and others were unable to halt the Seattle City Light (SCL) “smart” meter deployment in 2016. In 2017 we must focus on getting as many customers to opt-out as possible.

Opt-Out: Submit your opt-out application prior to the start of the meter exchange period, which is currently scheduled by SCL to begin July, 2017, to avoid paying the meter exchange fee. You still have to pay the one-time administrative fee.

Opt-Out application is currently available here, but SUMA-NW finds the Opt-Out Policy completely inadequate:

  • No analog meter option, even though Larry Weis, CEO of SCL, stated to SUMA-NW that analogs would be kept available. Smart meters, including non-communicating digital meters, increased fire hazards and harmful transients.
  • $124.43 upfront administrative fee, $49.77 for people who have qualified for Utility Discount Program (UPD). You will also have to pay for the service you now get for free at $15.87 per billing cycle ($6.35 per billing cycle for UPD) to have your meter read.
  • It is clearly stated in the Opt-Out Policy that the meter base is the responsibility of the property owner. Installations of meters without inspecting and repairing the meter base prior to installation  (the utility may not offer that service) could be dangerous for everyone. We believe that SCL should guarantee in writing that the base is safe and that an inspection has occurred by qualified staff. The reported fires throughout the US are due to increased arcing by digital meters. See Brian Thiesen’s excellent YouTube about fires involving AMI “smart” meters, AMR meters, and digital meters (non- communicating digital meters are safer if installed properly).
  • Renters must have the property owner’s permission in writing.
  • Property owners of multiple-unit buildings cannot opt-out individual units or common area metering.
  • Customers with solar panels who participate in net metering are not eligible to opt-out.

The installations are expected to begin in mid-year 2017. Contact Seattle City Light  (or call Advanced Metering desk at 206-727-8777) to find out when you are scheduled for installation.

Multiple-unit buildings such as condominiums and apartments must get their collectives to agree to opt-out for their entire building. SUMA-NW will be available, as our schedule permits, to come to any gatherings or meetings to explain the “smart” meter issues.

SCL claims that opting out will exclude you from alleged “smart” meter benefits. In reality there are no benefits with this current technology and it has failed to do anything except benefit the wireless industry, power utilities, and third-party marketers. It provides no environmental benefits or energy savings.

The opt-out form will ask you why you are opting out. You do not have to say why if you wish to keep those reasons private. You can simply say for personal reasons. Be aware that SCL now refers to “smart” meters as “standard” meters. This may be SCL’s attempt to normalize a flawed technology policy and hamper people’s own research into the negative aspects of “smart” meters.

We have voiced our concerns about smart meters since early 2014. The Seattle City Council (SCC) believed the greenwashing of this failed technology policy. The council never bothered to comment on the opt-out policy, and never acknowledged that it was not a solution to the serious concerns that are becoming apparent worldwide with the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (“smart” meters). They were told by SCL that not many people sign up to opt-out. If over 50% of people don’t qualify, it is obvious why that is the case.

We still need people to voice their outrage at wasting millions of dollars on “smart” meters (standard meters) with all their inherent risks and no benefits.  If nothing else, we can be the highest opt-out utility territory in the US.

Write Letters: We encourage people to write letters to SCL, CEO of SCL: Larry Weis, and the SCC Energy and Environment Committee*  to voice your concerns and complaints.

Some suggestions for what to include in your letter:

  • Demand for proof of meter base inspection (see #3 of strategies below)
  • Opt-Out policy complaints
  • Other points from previous letter campaigns

SCL_Advanced_Metering@seattle.gov                                         Larry.Weis@seattle.gov                                                                                        Kshama Sawant*: 206-684-8016, kshama.sawant@seattle.gov               Lorena Gonzalez*: 206-684-8802, Lorena.Gonzalez@seattle.gov                Debora Juarez *: 206-684-8807, Debora.Juarez@seattle.gov

SUMA-NW is investigating other strategies including:

  1. Conditional Acceptance has been discussed, but the reality of this option is that it is unenforceable and often dismissed as baseless by utilities. SUMA-NW currently cannot recommend this option until we have completed our research; it does not stop the installation. In theory, Conditional Acceptance uses contract law to demand that the utility guarantee/insure your safety and constitutional rights. Our understanding is that the Utility’s refusal to sign a Conditional Acceptance agreement would allow you to take further legal actions if any of the concerns raised are realized after installation. Jerry Day is the promoter of this strategy; for more information go to his website freedomtaker.com, (scroll toward bottom of page to Downloadable Documents). We also recommend that people sign up for newsletters from TakeBackYourPower.net .
  2. Notice of Liability – is another type of contract strategy with stronger language and intentions that has been initiated by numerous groups around the US and Canada. To learn more about this method, please visit the Take Back Your Power website, specifically here.
  3. Demand Proof of Pre-installation Inspection Affidavit – Demand that Seattle City Light provides a signed document that the meter base has been inspected by a qualified technician prior to installation of the new digital meters, whether it is a wireless meter or an opt-out meter, and the technician has determined that the meter base is safe for installation of the meter. Read more about the hot-socket issues, which can dangerously increase the risk of fire.
Please like and share

Chicago Suburb Formally Requests Smart Meter Permanent Refusal Option from ComEd

by SkyVision Solutions

The Village of Burr Ridge, a suburb of Chicago, Illinois, has formally requested “that Commonwealth Edison take action to work with the ICC [Illinois Commerce Commission] and General Assembly to amend its rules to allow for property owners to permanently opt out of its Smart Meter installation Program.”

Read more of this post

Please like and share

Opt-Out Comments

URGENT! ACTION REQUIRED

The Seattle City Light DRAFT “Smart” meter Opt-Out Policy has been released. You have until August 15, 2016 to respond. A sample letter is included below. Share this message with everyone; there must be hundreds of people to have any affect.  Forward to all your friends and family in the Seattle area, post it on your Facebook.  Seattle City Light (SCL) also services people in Burien, Lake Forest Park, Normandy Park, Renton, SeaTac, Shoreline, and Tukwila.

First off, WHY “Smart” Meters (Advanced Metering Infrastructure – AMI) are a bad idea:

  • The “Smart” meters are NOT the “Smart” grid
    • Meters do NOT enable integration of renewable rooftop solar
    • Meters are for billing automation ONLY; reducing costs of labor, and increasing revenue for the Utility
  • The project is costly (~$100 million) for little or NO benefit to the consumer
    • Your rates are going up to pay for it
    • Your bills will be higher – bills have doubled and tripled in other cities
    • New Time-of-Use rates will be enabled (more expensive when you use power the most)
    • Digital meters need to be replaced every 5-9 years; analog meters last 40 or more
  • “Smart” meters have known fire issues recognized by the industry
    • SCL makes it clear that the base (what the meter is plugged into) is your responsibility, so if there is a fire at the meter, you will likely be liable
  • Privacy invasion – Monitoring our personal actions while we’re at home
  • The systems can be easily hacked
    • Creating new cybersecurity vulnerabilities in the electric grid
    • The data collected will be controlled by a private corporation
  • Health risks from wireless radio frequency radiation are controversial, but there is real and growing evidence that electromagnetic radiation is NOT safe
    • The industry is using the “Merchants of Doubt” tactic (using industry hacks to cloud public understanding of scientific facts to advance a political and economic agenda) to convince people there is no harm
    • Industry can NOT prove “smart” meters are safe
  • The so called “smart” meter benefits, as listed on Seattle City Light’s notice and website, are easily dismissed
  • Visit the website for more detailed information and references to the above statements www.safemeters.org

SUMA-NW is opposed to “Smart” Meters and the placebo of Opt-Out. The only fair, just solution is an Opt-In if the deployment is not canceled.
The problem with Opt-Out:

  • Only Home Owners of single family residences can participate
    • Renters, users of the electricity, must get landlords to opt-out
    • Over 50% of all SCL customers are renters
  • Multi-unit complexes (apartments or condos) cannot opt-out for individual units
  • Opting out does not protect you from the radio frequency radiation from your neighbors’ “smart” meters
  • Customers opting out pay an additional $15.87 per billing cycle, on top of the increased rates to pay for the AMI project

 

Sample Letter to Seattle City Light (Please, personalize the letter as you see fit.)


To Seattle City Light:

I do not want “smart” meters in my neighborhood, let alone on my home. The Opt-Out Policy is wholly inadequate to address my concerns.

The Advanced Metering Infrastructure provides NO benefit to me; it instead negatively impacts me whether I opt-out or not:

  • Increased cost of electricity
  • Increasing use of electricity to manage unnecessary usage data
  • Increasing electromagnetic radiation, which harms the environment and the health of every living creature
  • Increasing security risks; creating a computer network of 430,000 new access points that can potentially be hacked to attack the already vulnerable distribution grid
  • The divergence of funds to protect utility revenue rather than creating sustainable energy solutions for the future

Then there are the unaddressed concerns of:

  • Privacy rights
  • Fire hazards

Further, charging me an additional $15.87 per billing cycle, on top of already increased rates, to keep my service the way it’s been for decades, to avoid the above concerns, is unjustifiable.

As a customer of Seattle City Light, I demand a reconsideration of deploying the AMI “smart” meters, and if done at all, should be deployed as an OPT-IN only.

Sincerely,

Your Name and Email


Copy and paste this letter into an email, make any word changes or edits you want, replace highlighted text with your name and email. Email to scl_dppcoordinator@seattle.gov. We suggest cc’ing the General Manager Larry Weis, and all the Seattle City Council Members:

kshama.sawant@seattle.govsally.bagshaw@seattle.govtim.burgess@seattle.govLorena.Gonzalez@seattle.govDebora.Juarez@seattle.govbruce.harrell@seattle.gov, Lisa.Herbold@seattle.gov, mike.obrien@seattle.govRob.Johnson@seattle.gov, Larry.Weis@seattle.gov

Here is the link to the Policy and instructions for feedback from Seattle City Light:

Visit the City Light Under Public Review page to download the draft Opt-Out Policy. Hard copies of the document are also available for inspection at the Downtown Seattle Public Library, 1000 4th Avenue, Level 5: Charles Simonyi Mixing Chamber, Seattle, WA.

Comments on the draft Opt-Out Policy should be filed by mail to:
Seattle City Light General Manager and CEO
P.O. Box 34023,
Seattle, WA 98124-4023; or

send email to scl_dppcoordinator@seattle.gov

The City Light Department will accept written comments through August 15, 2016. The General Manager and CEO will then consider the public comments, and decide whether to adopt, adopt with revisions, or set aside the proposed policy.

Please like and share

SolarFest 2016

FSolar Fest 2016 Sonjaun was had by all. Overall, SUMA-NW was well received at SolarFest this year. We made a presentation at 10AM, just as the fair started. We used a flip chart to make three take-away points:

 

  1. Smart Meters are NOT the Smart Grid
  2. Markets will lead the way NOT the Utilities
  3. Take Action for healthy, cost effective Solutions

The first point is the conflated WP_20160723_11_12_43_Prodefinition and greenwashing clarification. We left this chart up throughout the day and it was an eye-opener to most people. All along, people were surprised that being against so called “smart” meters did NOT mean we were against the actual “smart” GRID. This is very important information. Our booth emphasized the fire hazard today.

“Smart” Meters

“Smart” Grid

Centralized Revenue Control No New Meters required
Fire Hazard Distributed Renewable Energy Generation
Costly (Capital, rates, TOU) Sensors for outage detection
Loss of Privacy Electricity Supply/Demand Balancing
Health Risk Reduces use of Fossil Fuels
Grid Vulnerability by Hacking (9/30 substations) Creates Green Jobs
Negative Environmental impact
Automation = Job Loss

WP_20160723_11_19_02_ProThe second point was about Utilities versus the Markets. The Markets will be the driving force of rooftop solar energy and any renewable energy generation. The Utilities are stuck in a century old model that cannot change with the times. Seattle City Light for all its virtues as a carbon neutral, green energy provider are forced to focus on economies-of-scale, reducing costs by automating billing and other field services with “smart” meters. Demand for electricity, especially among residential customers, is going down just with conservation and energy efficiency programs. The Utility simply CANNOT afford to support decentralized, renewable energy. This is why incentives are being reduced and solar is NOT being promoted.

Utilities Market
Centralized Distributed
Fixed production Innovative
Inflexible Flexible
Need to control users Independence
Need to maintain or increase demand Installations of Solar up 94% since 2015
Economies of Scale Solar power becoming more affordable
Increasing rates built in Decreasing cost built in
Monopoly, no incentive to change Driving innovation and change
1 producer, many users Many producers, many users

WP_20160723_11_28_30_ProFinally, we talked solutions, what actions can we the public take to move the conversation towards progress, cost effective, renewable energy integration into the electricity grid. We started the conversation with these obvious ideas:

 

Solutions

Construction Codes
Incentive Policies
Community Organizing
Need Storage R&D

One person in our audience suggested creating special loan products that allowed people to pay the same monthly rate for electricity but to a loan provider, and the loan could be sold with the house. What a brilliant idea.

Solar Fest 2016-rs2Thanks to John Frink, Nancy Morris, Carolyn Mateos, and Sonia Hoglander for manning the booth. Thanks to Cher and David Ward for helping with equipment and materials.

Please like and share