Monthly Archives: April 2014

Pay No Attention – Smart Meters are Coming

In the latest issue of Wheaton Weekly we read “ComEd soon will begin replacing analog electric meters in Wheaton with digital electric meters. Before your new meter arrives watch this…”  If you are typical, you think “who cares,”  “no big deal,” “it is new and improved…”  But, what if I told you that they are expensive and will most likely result in your electric rates going up?    What if I told you that they will let ComEd (and perhaps a hacker)  turn your power on/off remotely and they will let ComEd (and perhaps a hacker) know how much power you use based on time of day – perhaps even which appliances are running.

 

These new digital meters are called “Smart Meters.”  But, they are not a smart idea.  Smart Meters are too costly, provide little if any benefits to the customer, and there are unresolved issues of safety and privacy.  We found no studies proving them to be safe while plenty of data exists to raise credible doubt.  In February of this year, a Smart Meter in Pennsylvania started an apartment complex on fire.  There are numerous people who have had Smart Meters removed or at least the data transmission feature turned off due to health conditions that began or worsened after the Smart Meter was installed.

 

ComEd does offer an opt-out option.  Neither they, nor the city of Wheaton are telling us about it.  You need to be pro-active.  To opt-out call ComEd 866-368-8326 and follow up with a letter.  But, first, do your own homework.

 

Note:  ComEd’s Smart Meter roll-out will affect customers in Wheaton, Glen Ellyn, Lombard, Warrenville, Oak Brook and West Chicago in the coming months.  Illinois is accelerating the deployment of Smart Meters while the largest Massachusetts electric utility declares Smart Meters as “Irrational.”

Smart Meter – Sample opt-out letter

Mr. Tom Przytulski
Commonwealth Edison
3 Lincoln Center
Oak Brook Terrace, Illinois 60181

 

[date]

Re: [your address]

 

RE: SMART METER “OPT OUT”

Sent By Certified Mail

Dear Mr. Przytulski,

Per our telephone conversation several days ago, we are confirming with you our option
to “opt out” of the smart meter program with Com Ed. We are opting out for numerous
reasons, of which include:

1. Privacy issues

2. Security issues

3. Safety issues

4. Potential health issues

5. Escalating utility costs

 

According to the Com Ed website, Com Ed is not assuming any liability or responsibility

for these smart meters, nor guaranteeing any cost savings to the customer. We do not
believe the perceived benefits (if any) outweigh the risks (which in many cases have been
documented and have resulted in multiple lawsuits throughout the Country).
For the record, due to the legitimate reasons we have stated above, we are requesting a
permanent “opt out” of a smart meter at the above mentioned address (our residence).

We thank you for your time and consideration in this matter, and trust that Com Ed will
abide by our wishes as documented in this letter.

Sincerely,

 

 

[your name(s) / signature(s) above ]

Public Comment by Mary Ann Vitone to Wheaton City Council on April 21, 2014

I spoke at the last City Council meeting two weeks ago regarding smart meters and my concerns with them.

In the past two weeks the Mayor and City Council have received articles regarding smart meters – the most compelling one being from Norstar Utility Company in Massachusetts.

Yes – a utility company – questioning the “small incremental benefits afforded by AMI “(aka Smart Meters) – Not the smart grid – (2 separate entities).  Their legal brief states that there is no “evidence that this is a good choice for customers.”  “There is ample evidence that this technology will be unduly costly  for customers – customers will pay the price.”  “Smart meters do not reduce the number of outages.”  The document goes on to point out the safety and health risks as well as the cyber security risks.  They also mention that “only 46% of customers are aware of the concept of smart meters – and of that 46% – 33% associate smart metering complaints of meter inaccuracy, higher customer bills, invasion of privacy and health concerns.”

Kudos to Norstar utility company, for actually looking at objective data, and looking out for the customer.

But here in Illinois we have Com Ed, who try to sell us on a 3rd party report – that they paid to have done and yet on their website regarding smart meter resource center and I quote:

No representation is made by Com Ed as to the completeness or accuracy of the information contained within this information.  In particular, some information may be incomplete, may contain errors or may be out of date.”

Therefore it appears that Com Ed is taking no responsibility or liability for these smart meter claims or potential issues.

I obtained from the City of Wheaton the Franchise Agreement that exists between the City of Wheaton and Com Ed – it appears that the City of Wheaton does have authority over Com Ed.

Section 9 – 9.1 Police Powers:

The city reserves the right  to adopt from time to time, in addition to the provisions contained herein – rules and regulations as the Corporate Authorities may deem necessary in the exercise of the police power for the protection of  the health, safety and welfare of the citizens and their properties.

The Mayor and the City Council have been given enough compelling evidence to question all 3 of those (health, safety and welfare) from smart meters – but have still insisted on shilling for Com Ed instead of looking out for the citizens.

I have asked on more than one occasion that the City send a notice with the water bill regarding smart meters – but have been told it is cost prohibitive –however we received a flyer regarding earth day  in the water bill – is that cost prohibitive?  The City sent out a sheet regarding lawn sprinkler systems and hot tubs in the water bill to be filled out and sent back to the city – is that cost prohibitive?

The lack of transparency and the lack of willingness on the city’s part to let the residents know, first of all that smart meters are coming to our neighborhood – that we can “opt out” and how to “opt out”  – and the overall protection and shilling you are giving to Com Ed is troubling to say the least.

I believe that the taxpayers of Wheaton pay the salaries of the City employees – not Com Ed –

I believe that the City employees work for the residents – not for Com Ed

And I believe that the city was lax in looking into these smart meters and all of the evidence out there that questions privacy, safety, health and costs  – and did not do their due diligence in looking out for the residents.

All we are asking is that the City let residents know, to let the residents do their own research on smart meters and let the residents decide if they want a smart meter –

Since Com Ed doesn’t seem to want to take on any liability for any safety, privacy, health or cost issues with these – is the City of Wheaton going to?  Since you are doing everything in your power to aid Com Ed in the deployment of these – instead of letting the residents of Wheaton decide.

 

Engage 200

CUSD 200 has been holding community Engagement meetings .  The stated purpose is to gather community input.  However, it appears to be a well oiled machine to get the community to call for a new building for our early childhood center.

Community Engagement notes from Jan Shaw

The March 26, 2014 Engage200 meeting was billed as “Programs and Services,” but once the presentation began it was obviously all about Special Needs pre-K with a little bit on  English Language Learners (ELL), and “Co-curriculum” (a new word for extra-curricular) in an attempt to make it less obvious. Continue reading