Electric utilities; advanced meters. (SB797)

Introduced By

Sen. Tom Garrett (R-Lynchburg)

Progress

Introduced
Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law

Description

Electric utilities; advanced meters. Prohibits any electric utility from installing an advanced meter on a customer's premises or requiring a customer to use any advanced meter unless the customer has requested it. An advanced meter is a meter that is capable of measuring, recording, storing, and reporting usage according to predetermined time criteria and that allows two-way communications suited for demand-response programs. Electric utilities are also required to uninstall an advanced meter at a customer's request; prohibited from giving any meter use data from an advanced meter to any person other than the electric utility; prohibited from shutting off service to a customer based on the amount of electricity the customer uses or the customer not having or using an advanced meter; prohibited from imposing any disincentive on a customer for not agreeing to the installation or use of an advanced meter; prohibited from obtaining data from an advanced meter more than once per month unless requested by a customer; and required to notify customers in writing that the installation and use of an advanced meter is not mandated by state law and is not permitted without the customer's request. The measure also repeals an existing provision that prohibits an investor-owned electric utility participating in an energy efficiency program from connecting advanced metering technology and equipment on the customer's side of the interconnection without the customer's express consent. Amends § 56-576, of the Code of Virginia. Read the Bill »

Status

12/19/2012: Awaiting a Vote in the Commerce and Labor Committee

History

  • 12/19/2012 Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/13
  • 12/19/2012 Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/13 13100731D
  • 12/19/2012 Referred to Committee on Commerce and Labor
  • 01/14/2013 Impact statement from SCC (SB797)
  • 01/28/2013 Committee substitute printed to Web only 13104601D-S1
  • 01/28/2013 Passed by indefinitely in Commerce and Labor (11-Y 3-N 1-A) (see vote tally)

Comments

James writes:

This bill needs to be law. Smart meters are a hazard to health and privacy. People are getting sick from the radio transmitter attached to their house thats broadcasting 24/7. These are also for the electric companys to rip us off by chargeing us extra for useing power during normal hours of the day which they will now call "peak hours" Look up the issues and see whats really going on.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

This bill is in response to two concerns, equally crazy, held by a tiny, vocal percentage of the population. There are those who believe that radio waves are harmful, and insist that wireless meters are harmful. These people happily use WiFi and ignore the TV and radio signals passing through their homes and bodies every hour of the day. And then there are those who believe that this is part of some kind of a UN-led new world order, by which their every movement in their homes will be tracked.

Fundamentally, this is a profoundly anti-business bill. I'm surprised that Garrett would introduce it, and I suspect that he's done so knowing that it will never make it out of subcommittee. He gets the cred among the crazies for having introduced it, without angering Dominion et al, since it'll never get anywhere.

James writes:

Funny how people make claims that the people who complain about privacy or even safety issues get labeled a crazy, or demonized in some way to make them look like loners and that nobody has those concerns just 16 people around the net. The concerns are real and demonstrable with current tech. Theres many who have concerns about the privacy and health implications to haveing a radio transmitter attached to the side of their house where a child might be sleeping. Since when does a voluntary action such as useing cell phone or tv/radio allow you to force a tracking transmitter onto ones home? I personally dont own a cell phone and only use wifi when out of town useing wifi hotspots to access email and net. But these actions controllable since I can turn it off and cell phones are mostly only used for a few mins for most and perhaps hour or two for others. TV/Radio is dumb arguement unless you live right next to transmitter, since your on the receiving end of the waves which are nowhere near as dangerous.

The point made about radio waves compares apples and oranges. The difference is WHERE the transmitter is and its power level along with the duration of exposure. You have a transmitter that is ATTACHED to your house at 1-3 watts. Doesnt seem like much a big deal to some but it doesnt take much when its broad casting every few secs 24/7/365. Then you see how the tech is used in a mesh network so its not just your meter its ALL meters broadcasting THEN its all of them talking to each other till it hits a relay at the front of your neighborhood.

There other issues such as the meters have been proven all over the country to mess with other electronics and actually over powering wifi, radio, baby monitors, cordless phones, etc. You have people with implants mostly limited to heart defibrillators.

Also funny how people dont like to allow others the choice in this matter. If you want the radio transmitter broadcasting your every use of power ever few secs then by all means sign up, But why force your meters on everyone else some of who dont want them. You mean to marginalize the people you disagree with arguments and statements such as yours.

I will say that I appreciate the work that Waldo Jaquith has done with this site allowing a quick and easy way of tracking bills and our Reps.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

The point made about radio waves compares apples and oranges. The difference is WHERE the transmitter is and its power level along with the duration of exposure. You have a transmitter that is ATTACHED to your house at 1-3 watts. Doesnt seem like much a big deal to some but it doesnt take much when its broad casting every few secs 24/7/365.

James, there is simply no evidence to support what you're saying. It's not science, it's pseudoscience, like saying that vaccines don't really do anything, or that evolution isn't real. I'd ask you to provide a link to a published, peer-reviewed study that demonstrates that a power meter (or any wireless transmitting device of similar strength) presents a health problem, but you cannot, so that question would be unfair. I don't doubt that you actually believe what you're saying, but that doesn't make it true.

I will say that I appreciate the work that Waldo Jaquith has done with this site allowing a quick and easy way of tracking bills and our Reps.

Thanks! But there's nothing wrong with totally disagreeing with me about absolutely anything here—I might have built this website, but the goal is lively discussion and awareness of legislation, not getting people to agree with me. :)

James writes:

Its late so I will pass a few links out. Better if you really research this for yourself though. So I do want to point out that nothing in science is ever 100% conclusive but in health you take precautions based on possible risk. Sleeping next to a transmitter whether its cell phone (while transmitting such as on and talking) or smart meter (Which is on 24/7/365) isnt a wise thing to do, then to have it mandated on everyones house at a power level such as these isnt very smart. Health wise this could be solve useing wired through phone line, fiber, or current tech is power line transmission which requires no extra hardware just software on the receiving end. anyways on with some links.
http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2011/pdfs/pr208_E.pdf

James writes:

Most of the post got deleted or isnt showing up some added.

http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2011/pdfs/pr208_E.pdf

James writes:

Hopefully this works...
http://www.iarc.fr/en/media-centre/pr/2011/pdfs/pr208_E.pdf - World Health Organization designates Wireless as a class 2b carcinogen
http://www.committeetobridgethegap.org/pdf/110212_RFrad_comments.pdf - UC Nuclear policy lecturer

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/22/cellphone-use-tied-to-changes-in-brain-activity/ - National Institutes of Health Study finds cell phone use tied to changes in brain activity, which I liken to a microwave excites the atoms of your food causeing them to heat up. Wonder why it does this to the brain... Maybe its cause you have microwaves being transmitted into your skull. Yes I know its not anywhere the same power which is why it takes so long to get the results from this study. This also supports my previous statement --The difference is WHERE the transmitter is and its power level along with the duration of exposure--

Its been well known for many years to stay away from transmitters such as these smart meters use. Distance from the transmitter is your friend. You can go to many cell phone or Wifi transmitter sites and see signs posted that tell you warning stand back x feet or other similar danger signs. They all use Microwave transmitters. Regardless of the mater on safety my problem is privacy. The privacy implications are enormous. I still dont see how its a bad thing to have the choice. The main reason why they are so popular with utilities is to fire current meter readers and allow time of use pricing which allows them to charge you really high rates during normal times because its "peak demand"

Now I find it funny that mention the vaccine issue. There is plenty of evidence that the vaccines actually cause many many issues and many arent effective at what their supposed to be doing. You can google freedom of information act UK vaccines and read from there from the uk government. If you interested in it youll look it up and be shocked what their reports say. Long reading short they know many of the vaccines are harming people long term. I want to point out im not a foil hat wearing anti vacciner but I read and listen to many a great doctors such as neurosurgery Dr Blaylock and get both sides before making a decision on anything. They admit in the inserts with your vaccines the harm they can do to you and to force these on people is messed up. Again I see where educated choices are important.

Any further info on the smart meters you can google and get alot of info - some of the nutty stuff. Again My major issue is the privacy problems. To save room search "smart meter privacy" and you should see many videos from much smarter then I DRs, and PHD's. Id be more then happy to post more info or whatever. I have spent a few years looking into this issue.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Yes, James, I'm familiar with the International Agency for Research on Cancer position that it is within the realm of the possible that brain cancers could be associated with mobile phone use. One of the reasons why they're not saying that it is related is because it doesn't really make any sense. If there was a link, there should have been a tremendous spike in brain cancers since about 1995. There has been no increase at all. This makes it rather difficult to establish a link.

But never mind that—mobile phones are not power meters. You hold a mobile phone up to the side of your head—you'd never have any cause to do such a thing with a power meter. In fact, they're attached to the outside of your house! Electromagnetic frequency strength falls off as per the inverse-square law, which is to say that its intensity is inversely proportional to the square of the distance from the source of the EMF. They broadcast very weak signals in the first place, but once you're more than a few feet away from them, the RF is incredibly weak. Also, the way that these meters work, they're transmitting data for only a tiny fraction of the amount of time that mobile phones are, because they used something called "pulsed radiofrequency."

There have been two government studies on the health impacts of wireless power meters, and both have found that there are no health impacts. There is no evidence to the contrary. Period.

I likewise have no sympathy for privacy concerns. All that these meters report is how much power is being drawn by your home at any give time. That your power company knows that you're drawing 1.3 kW at 10:14 PM and .89 kW at 10:15 PM presents absolutely no privacy concerns.

James writes:

The health impacts have always been denied through government studies. How about the 9-11 survivors in NY and responders who government said that theres no link to cancer from the debris. There was clearly cancer from the asbestos and debris that filled the air. You have revolving doors between industry and government.

I will agree that like smoking 1 cigarette ea day for 20 yrs doesnt always equal cancer and is even harder nowadays to find a direct cause to cancer especially to slow growth cancers that take years to develop. And Yes most wont be very close most of the time but some will and some like myself have a meter right next to my bedroom wall on the other side of my headboard. I could sleep on the other end of the bed I guess since moving the bed wont work cause the layout of the room, and moveing kids to that room and wall is messed up. But looking at more then 2 government funded studies that show no cause for concern doesnt rule out the hundreds of others that show some concern and a few that link them as likely to cause cancer. Finding this causes cancer isnt in the governments interest as the Dept of Energy came up with it and want these meters in fact they paid the companies to put this crap in. http://www.wired.com/dangerroom/2012/03/petraeus-tv-remote/

This report reviews over 1800 new scientific studies and includes 29 independent science and medical experts from around the world. http://www.bioinitiative.org/report/wp-content/uploads/pdfs/BioInitiativeReport2012.pdf

Summary of Key Scientific Evidence:

Evidence for Damage to Sperm and Reproduction
Evidence that Children are More Vulnerable
Evidence for Fetal and Neonatal Effects
Evidence for Effects on Autism (Autism Spectrum Disorders)
Evidence for Electrohypersensitivity
Evidence for Effects from Cell Tower-Level RFR Exposures
Evidence for Effects on the Blood-brain Barrier
Evidence for Effects on Brain Tumors
Evidence for Effects on Genes (Genotoxicity)
Evidence for Effects on the Nervous System (Neurotoxicity)
Evidence for Effects on Cancer (Childhood Leukemia, Adult Cancers)
Melatonin, Breast Cancer and Alzheimer’s Disease
Stress, Stress Proteins and DNA as a Fractal Antenna
Effects of Weak-Field Interactions on Non-Linear Biological Oscillators and Synchronized Neural Activity

The privacy concern you say is overblown because all they can see is .89kW at 10:15pm is completely wrong. They can break down your entire day as to what your doing useing power. They will be useing a Home Area Network or HAN. All your appliances will be connected wireless to the smartmeter. http://www.slate.com/blogs/future_tense/2012/03/19/smart_appliances_could_help_cia_spy_says_petraeus_.html

Your "Smart" fridge will be a RFID reader to read the EPC's that will replace the UPC's. RFID readers generally read 10-15' you walk past your fridge and with clothes getting RFID's sewn into them and everything being switched over to EPC's in near future you have an entire list of who and what is within range of the fridge. This information will be vary valuable and of course our power comp wouldnt rip us off like theyve been caught doing several times.

Some good links that I hope youll look through. I too resisted this type of info at first till I worked with an ex tower climber who talked about this some.

Wonderful quick video laying out info much better then I can type up in a comment http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=FLeCTaSG2-U Its given by a well qualified guy with relevant experience

http://www.centerforsaferwireless.org/Smart-Meters.php
http://www.centerforsaferwireless.org/documents/CongressResearchServiceSMprivacyandcybersecurity.pdf
http://www.metering.com/node/20028

Waldo Jaquith writes:

This report reviews over 1800 new scientific studies and includes 29 independent science and medical experts from around the world. http://www.bioinitiative.org/report/wp-content/uploads/pdfs/BioInitiativeReport2012.pdf

That report has been universally panned as being unscientific, grossly biased, wildly unobjective, ignoring all evidence that does not support their thesis. Even the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) felt compelled to weigh in against the foolishness that is this "report." This group's conclusions fly in the face of 60 years of research, and they cannot substantiate them, nor do they make any effort to do so.

This isn't science, it's pseudoscience.

The privacy concern you say is overblown because all they can see is .89kW at 10:15pm is completely wrong. They can break down your entire day as to what your doing useing power. They will be useing a Home Area Network or HAN. All your appliances will be connected wireless to the smartmeter.

What you're talking about has absolutely nothing to do with reality as we know it. The power company has absolutely no ability to compel you to install the necessary hardware to have each device in your home to report its individual energy usage to a central station. (I have a personal home energy monitor. But it's for the whole house. I'd love to be able to monitor each appliance, but it's way too expensive.) This bill is solely about improving the reporting quality of the meter—not devices scattered around your home. That reports solely the mundane data of how much power you're using at any given time, rather than power companies currently only knowing how much you've used since they last checked your meter.

I cannot bring to mind a single privacy concern associated with the power company knowing how much power that you're using at a given time. I'm open to examples, though! I'm a pretty privacy-minded guy. I've gone to the mat, in court, to protect others' privacy. So convince me—how is it that the company that sells me electricity shouldn't have the ability to know how much electricity that I'm using, and what is it that they're going to do with that knowledge that could violate my privacy?

Virginia writes:

Power Companies used to send meter readers around every month to record usage but many of them now have meters that will send that information back to the utility. In both cases, they were recording usage. The old way had a guy behind your house once a month.

I think basically, the power companies want to know how much you used so they can bill your correctly, and they would like to get a sense of the fluctuation in demand for power so they predict when they will need additional power plants to come online. Beyond that I doubt that most homes have a pretty boring pattern of power consumption.

From what I know, with newer meters, some use wireless technology, but others send the information over the power line using the 60 Hz electric wave to carry the meter reading back to the substation. I don't know much about the wireless meters but they likely fall in with every other electronic device that surround us in our homes as well as the television, radio and cell waves that fill the air.

James writes:

The privacy angle is covered pretty well by the the links I sent. Did you go to them? http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=FLeCTaSG2-U The power company has no reason to force YOU to install these devices as they are NOW manufactured with the required tech built in. Most any appliance you buy thats "Smart" has the foundation for the HAN that will be connected through your Zigbee wireless smart meter.

I have said that the health part of it can be addressed by useing current tech allowing over powerline meter reading. The privacy aspect could be solved simply by collecting individual power useage on a daily basis and not transmit data of how much you use every sec. They dont need to know how power im useing every sec of the day. They can detect from the lines further down such as at poles in front of neighborhood at distribution center, or even by transformers. In the end no matter where we stand on this issue, why cant both of us have a choice such as this bill allows? AS you say theres only a few who have a problem with this so shouldnt be to much of a problem either way. Offer up some benefits and most will sign up to save a .05

Waldo Jaquith writes:

The privacy angle is covered pretty well by the the links I sent. Did you go to them?

Yes. They're amusing, but based not on what's done now, but instead what could be done in a hypothetical future. "If your grocery-list-generating refrigerator knows when you’re home, the CIA could, too," says Slate. Well, sure, but that a) has nothing to do with this bill and b) is not an actual thing. And the German paper, as best as I can tell (because it's in German) says that one could hypothetically play every film and TV show, record the power level fluctuations of a TV that's displaying those, compare those to people's home energy usage, and then know what they're watching. Well, yes, I suppose one could do that, but that sounds like a great deal of effort for something that's liable to be of no interest whatsoever to a power company.

Most any appliance you buy thats "Smart" has the foundation for the HAN that will be connected through your Zigbee wireless smart meter.

Wrong. I built a new house two years ago, and it's full of "smart" appliances. Not a one of them supports Zigbee or, indeed, any wireless sharing of electrical usage data. That feature is fantastically rare.

I have said that the health part of it can be addressed by useing current tech allowing over powerline meter reading.

There is no health problem and, as such, there is nothing to be addressed.

The privacy aspect could be solved simply by collecting individual power useage on a daily basis and not transmit data of how much you use every sec.

There are no privacy problems presented by this bill. At best there's a slippery-slope argument to be made.

Here's my solution. I'll build a little box that you plug into a power outlet anywhere in your house. It randomly fluctuates the amount of power that it draws, ranging from 0 watts to 100 watts, 24/7. Thus masking other usage of electricity in the house. I could probably sell those for about $10/apiece. Privacy "problem" solved.

In the end no matter where we stand on this issue, why cant both of us have a choice such as this bill allows?

You do have a choice. You can either pay for power from a power company, who has the right as a vendor to install any power meter that they want, or you can set up some solar panels and make your own power. You don't have the right to make the power company use the power meter that you want, any more than you have the right to make the phone company use the network interface device box that you want, or the gas company to use the junction piping that you want.

Roger Ligthorne writes:

This bill would increase costs to both the utilities and consumers of Virginia while actually increasing the intrusiveness of the power companies into the lives and properties of the citizens of Virginia. The premise(s) for this bill are not supported by any factual evidence that I can find. Beware of the law of unintended consequences.

James writes:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c-F3nf47kAs Jerry Flynn a Retired Canadian Armed Forces Captain (CFRI), who spent 22 years of his 26 year military career in SIGINT, Radio Warfare & Electronic Warfare. Listen to what he has to say and tell me theres no concern. Your talking about a professional who dealt with this stuff. He is HIGHLY credible and should be at least heard. Id be really interested in your take on his video Waldo.

Concerned Citizen writes:

What a travesty of incompetence yesterday. It was obvious those legislators don't understand smart meters but were willing to learn. Senator Garrett barely knew what he was talking about and wasted valuable time trying to straighten out the mixed language of his bill. How shameful.

We went into the session thinking the language asked for an opt-in, but learned by surprise while in committee that suddenly it was an opt-out proposal. In addition, he mentioned that the wording had been changed due to negotiations. WHAT. That sounds like big money to me, and how disappointing. There was no need to negotiate any point with Dominion Power. They knew it and took advantage of a freshman senator.

The real shame of it all is that the only person who has a smart meter, probably the only person in the entire room of hundreds, who has a smart meter with terrible health issues as a result, and who could have explained those issues to the senators willing to learn, was never given a chance to speak. Dominion Power must be laughing and clicking champagne glass on the top floor of management. They did it! They survived to harm again.

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Jerry Flynn a Retired Canadian Armed Forces Captain (CFRI), who spent 22 years of his 26 year military career in SIGINT, Radio Warfare & Electronic Warfare. Listen to what he has to say and tell me theres no concern.

I'm afraid that I simply don't have an hour and a half to watch this video, though I appreciate your sharing it here. I've watched a few excerpts, and it looks to me like he's presenting a lot of discredited data from biased groups (e.g., the Bioinitiative Working Group). For instance, he says that cordless telephones cause a 470% increase in brain tumor risk. But if that were true, we'd have seen a huge, huge spike in brain cancer over the past 30 years, as cordless telephones have become the norm and corded telephones have become unusual. But there has been no increase. He also presents he said / she said on topics for which there's no need for dispute—the facts are quite clear. For example, claiming that smart meters emit 45–450 times more radiation than a mobile phone. This could be measured easily (as it has been many times, and found clearly that smart meters emit far less radiation), but instead he cites a single researcher to support that claim.

He's a very compelling speaker, but so is John Edward.

Concerned Citizen writes:

Does everyone realize that on May 14, 2012, Dominion Power took down from their Smart Meter FAQs website the wording "there are no known health issues or effects" from smart meters.

That says it all. Period.

Denise writes:

I will not be pushed to accept this radiation device into my home. Anyone with half a brain knows that these devices transmit to one another, up to many miles away, creating thousands of pulses each and everday. Everyone with half a brain knows that hundreds of fires worldwide have been started due to the untested radiation devices. Everyone knows that the Swedish government has deemed these devices as dangerous and unsafe, and warned the US. Everyone with half a brain knows that for corporations, keeping all of this info "under wraps" is what they are counting on. Everyone knows that smart meters have been compared to cell phones and with the except of I-Phones, which can be turned off, measure much higher than cellphones. The info. is out there for the true seeker of truth. I will remove one if installed. I will find the greediest, most hustling, ambulance-chasin', attorney to file a personal injury lawsuit if Dominion Va Power continues down this path. They have messed with the wrong person. Greedy, foolish, idiots.

http://www.refusesmartmeters.com/59738917-Dr-Johansson-s-letter-re-SmartGrid-Smart-Meter-dangers-to-CPUC-7-9-2011-1.pdf

Waldo Jaquith writes:

Everyone knows that the Swedish government has deemed these devices as dangerous and unsafe, and warned the US.

Everyone!