Category Archives: smart meters

Smart Meter Legislation – who voted? & Who received Contributions?

ComEd can install Smart meters due to a bill, SB1652 which passed the Illinois House and Senate in 2011.  Who imposed this legislation?  They actually voted twice – the 2nd time to override Quinn’s veto of the bill.   Direct links are at the end of these instructions.  Instructions are here as an example for anyone wanting to look up other past legislation.

  • Start at ilga.gov
  • Scroll down and click on “Previous General Assemblies”
  • Pick “97(2011 – 2012)”
  • Click “Listing” in “Legislation & Laws       Listing   Search”
  • Under “Senate Bills” Pick SB1652
  • Scroll down, in the chart find the last vote, as in “10/26/2011 House              Override Governor Veto – House Passed 074-042-000”
  • Then click on the entries to find the final Senate and House over-ride votes

Senate override:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/votehistory/97/senate/09700SB1652_10262011_008000M.pdf

House override:

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/votehistory/97/house/09700SB1652_10262011_022000M.pdf

 

Contributions?

 

If you are curious which state legislators received ‘contributions’ from Comed and Ameren (the two utility company culprits behind this madness) and how much they received, follow this example:

  •  Go to www.illinoissunshine.org
  •  Click on ‘Incumbents’
  •  Using Senator Christine Radogno as an example, click on ‘Senate’
  •  Enter ‘Radogno’ in the last name field, select ‘2009’ in the ‘From’ field, select ‘2011’ in the ‘To’ field, and click on ‘Search’
  •  Scrolling down, you will see 3 entries on the next screen, one for each year – click on the 2011 entry
  •  Scrolling down the next page, you will find Exelon/Com Ed with a contribution of $66,500
  •  Scroll down further and click on the Top 50 contributors – you’ll find Ameren to the tune of $28,500
  •  You can also start your search by identifying a contributor such as ‘Ameren’ or ‘Exelon’ – this is not only more revealing, but it helps to bring to life the term ‘corporatocracy’ that was referenced multiple times in the video “Take Back Your Power”

Why does ComEd need an Armed Guard to handout “FREE” “Smart” Ice-Cream?

“We live in the Chicago suburbs. Our plan yesterday afternoon was to swim at the public pool. We entered the pool parking lot and saw the Smart (meter) Meets Sweet ice cream truck.   We turned around and went home to make protest signs and to print out simple information sheets.  

We arrived back at the pool and  selected a spot that was safely out of traffic, that was far enough away from the ComEd people so we would not be “in their face”, and that was far enough away from the pool building so we were not in the way of pool patrons.  One of the ComEd workers immediately began taking pictures of us with her phone.
smartmeter3)

We noticed an armed guard and were shocked!  Who was he there protecting?
Wheaton smartmetersweet truck armed ComEd
A female pool patron passed by and told us she that she had a smart meter, but was against them.  That lady was approached by two  ComEd employees.  One of the them went back to the ice cream truck and returned with a generic, blank notebook in hand.   My daughter was curious.  Thinking the notebook was some sort of petition, she approached the two women.  When my daughter asked the pool patron if this was, in fact, a petition, the ComEd worker rudely interrupted, “I am engaging with a customer.”
 
The most disturbing part of this interaction was when the armed guard approached my daughter, coming within 2 feet of her.  She was a defenseless young woman walking empty-handed toward two other women.
What is ComEd up to that requires an armed guard to be posted with their ice cream truck?
Who was it who said that people will always tell you what they are afraid of?  It seems to me that the presence of the armed guard and the bribe of ice cream are proofs that ComEd and the government fear an informed public.”

smart meter opt out – second sample leter

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

date
Re: your address [your zip code] – SMART METER refusal

Dear Mr. Przytulski,
Per our telephone conversation, we are confirming with you that we will be keeping our analog electric meter.  We do not consent to having a Smart Meter from ComEd placed on our home for numerous reasons, which include:

1. Privacy issues (violates the 4th amendment to the US constitution)
2. Security issues
3. Safety issues
4. Potential health issues
5. Escalating utility costs
6. It is NOT required by Illinois law.

According to the Illinois Public utility act forcing your customers to take a Smart meter and charging a “Refusal fee” for those opting out is illegal.  This section took effect in 1997 and has not been changed.

Section 16-124 states “…An electric utility shall not require a residential or small commercial retail customer to take additional metering or metering capability as a condition of taking delivery services unless the Commission finds, after notice and hearing, that additional metering or metering capability is required to meet reliability requirements.”    (Source: P.A. 90-561, eff. 12-16-97.) 

We have not found any such ICC finding, meeting or notice.

According to the ICC Docket No. 13-0552, meeting minutes for the February 5th, 2014 ICC meeting in Chicago,  the ICC sets a surcharge for the purpose of incentivizing Smart meter acceptance.

COMMISSIONER del VALLE:
My proposed edit would be added to the Commission and Analysis and Conclusion section on page 13 of the proposed Order. It reads as follows: Purpose of this charge is primarily to motivate customers to switch while also avoiding the socialization of costs incurred by customers’ refusals. In the interest of transparency and to insure that this tariff has the desired effect, the Commission directs ComEd to make this charge a separate line item in each customer’s bill and use language for that line item that makes it absolutely clear that the charge is a penalty assessed as a consequence of the customer’s refusal.  The Commission recommends smart meter refusal charge as the language.

And CHAIRMAN SCOTT:
 
When this was sold to the General Assembly, it was sold on the basis that having all these meters in place means a lot for the system. That was part of the reason behind the hundred percent language in the statute are all customers’ language in the statute.  I also think we need to revisit the cost issue itself. We’ve got tariffs for similar kinds of operations that are a lot more expensive than this. I understand not wanting to have rate shock on particular customers; but the reality is whatever we don’t charge these customers, other customers are paying for. So it’s just as true that the well-to-do customer may be getting subsidized by the person of moderate or low means as well if they choose — if the person of means chooses to refuse in this case. And I don’t think that’s what anybody wants either. So I agree with you that the purpose here is to try to make sure we don’t have as many refusals. I think a cost does that, but I really think we need to continue to revisit to make sure that the cost is a correct one for a lot of different reasons.

This ICC rate setting for Smart Meter refusal charge is illegal as it conflicts with the Illinois Public Utilities Act (P.A. 90-561) section 16-124.

For the record, due to the legitimate reasons we have stated above, we do not consent to having the analog meter replaced by a Smart Meter at the above mentioned address (our residence).

We thank you for your time and consideration in this matter, and trust that ComEd will abide by our wishes and the Illinois state law as documented in this letter.

Sincerely,

______________________                 ___________________________

your name                   and                         spouses name

 

Please sign and date one copy of this letter and return it to your name and address as written confirmation that we are on the DO-NOT-INSTALL-A-SMART-METER list.

Tom Przytulski, employed by ComEd in the _____________________ position  do confirm that your address is on the list to keep the analog meter.

Signed: __________________________________ date: _____________

 

<new page>

Copies of this letter will be sent to:
The city of Wheaton –  Mayor GreskL mgresk@wheaton.il.us
John Prendiville, John K. Rutledge, W. Thoreson Saline, Evelyn Pacino Sanguinetti, Todd Scalzo and Phil Suess:   allcouncil@wheaton.il.us
Don Rose, City Manager: drose@wheaton.il.us

Congressman Peter Roskam
2700 International Drive, Suite 304, West Chicago, IL [60185]

State Senator Michael Connely
senatorconnelly21@gmail.com

State Rep Jeanne Ives
repjeanneives@gmail.com

Illinois Commerce Commission
Doug Scott, chairman
527 East Capitol Avenue, Springfield, Illinois [62701]

Illinois, Citizens Utility Board
David Kolata, Executive Director
309 West Washington Street, Suite 800, Chicago, Illinois [60606]
And emailed to dkolata@CitizensUtilityBoard.org

Illinois Attorney General: Lisa Madigan
500 South Second Street , Springfield, IL [62706]

 

Call ComEd’s deployment department at 866-368-8326 and tell them you do not consent to having your analog meter replaced by a Smart Meter, nor will you pay the refusal fee ($21.53/month). Follow up with a certified letter  (or ask for written confirmation)  Check with a lawyer for technical questions.  I am not one and am not giving legal advice.

Smart Meters and the Law

What is a Smart Meter?

“Smart Meters” are wireless, digital meters (computers) that store electric usage data all day long and transmit this data via a two-way wireless communication network throughout the day. In Illinois, ComEd is accelerating the deployment of Smart Meters while the largest Massachusetts electric utility declared Smart Meters as “Irrational.” Current analog meters have been safely used for decades; they still work. Smart Meters do not improve grid reliability and provide little, if any benefits to the customer.  We found no studies proving Smart Meters to be safe while plenty of data (health, fires and privacy) exists to raise credible doubts. Note: Smart Meters are also known as “Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI).”   For more information:

 Keep Your Analog Meter

Call ComEd’s deployment department at 866-368-8326 and tell them you do not consent to having your analog meter replaced by a Smart Meter, nor will you pay the refusal fee ($21.53/month). Follow up with a certified letter to… and copy your city manager or mayor:

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

A sample letter was posted on http://dupagewatchdog.org/ on April 26, 2014.

Put a weatherproof sign on your analog meter stating “NO Smart Meter” another one by your front door and No trespassing signs to keep the installer off your property

The Law are Smart Meters mandated or not?

Federal Law

Provisions within the (federal) 2005 Energy Policy Act states that “Each electric utility… shall provide each customer requesting a time-based rate with a time-based meter…” This implies that Smart Meters are not required for all.

Illinois Statute– the Public Utilities Act covers electric utilities

http://www.ilga.gov/legislation/ilcs/ilcs3.asp?ActID=1277&ChapterID=23

Sec. 16-108.6 says that each participating utility, other than a combination utility, shall file a Smart Grid AMI Deployment Plan that includes “deployment of AMI to all customers.” Does this imply that Smart Meters are mandatory?  ComEd fits this category.

“Combination utility” means a utility that, as of January 1, 2011, provided electric service to at least one million retail customers in Illinois and gas service to at least 500,000 retail customers in Illinois.

… AMI Deployment Plan… and to 62% of all customers for a participating utility that is a combination utility.

“all customers” vs. “62%” seams arbitrary – but, that’s our law.

 

Sec. 16-124 states “…An electric utility shall not require a residential or small commercial retail customer to take additional metering or metering capability as a condition of taking delivery services unless the Commission finds, after notice and hearing, that additional metering or metering capability is required to meet reliability requirements.”  We have not found any such ICC finding, meeting or notice.

List of ICC documents concerning smart meters

http://www.icc.illinois.gov/docket/Documents.aspx?no=12-0298

 

from ICC Docket No. 13-0552

from http://www.icc.illinois.gov/downloads/public/edocket/371019.pdf)

The ICC sets a surcharge with the purpose of incentivizing Smart meter acceptance.

Minutes from the February 5th, 2014 ICC meeting in Chicago

COMMISSIONER del VALLE: (page 7, line 24 to page 8 line 12)

My proposed edit would be added to the Commission and Analysis and Conclusion section on page 13 of the proposed Order. It reads as follows: Purpose of this charge is primarily to motivate customers to switch while also avoiding the socialization of costs incurred by customers’ refusals. In the interest of transparency and to insure that this tariff has the desired effect, the Commission directs ComEd to make this charge a separate line item in each customer’s bill and use language for that line item that makes it absolutely clear that the charge is a penalty assessed as a consequence of the customer’s refusal.  The Commission recommends smart meter refusal charge as the language.

On pages 8 to 9 the chairman discusses “Rate Shock” and setting utility rates for wealth redistribution

CHAIRMAN SCOTT:

When this was sold to the General Assembly, it was sold on the basis that having all these meters in place means a lot for the system. That was part of the reason behind the hundred percent language in the statute are all customers’ language in the statute.  I also think we need to revisit the cost issue itself. We’ve got tariffs for similar kinds of operations that are a lot more expensive than this. I understand not wanting to have rate shock on particular customers; but the reality is whatever we don’t charge these customers, other customers are paying for. So it’s just as true that the well-to-do customer may be getting subsidized by the person of moderate or low means as well if they choose — if the person of means chooses to refuse in this case. And I don’t think that’s what anybody wants either. So I agree with you that the purpose here is to try to make sure we don’t have as many refusals. I think a cost does that, but I really think we need to continue to revisit to make sure that the cost is a correct one for a lot of different reasons.

My interpretation is that this ICC rate setting for Smart Meter refusal charge is illegal as it conflicts with the Illinois Public Utilities Act section 16-124.  Furthermore, the “all customers” language in the Illinois Public Utility Act Section 16-108.6 refers to the utility company’s AMI Deployment Plan, not to the customer’s acceptance of the meter.  Admitting that the opt-out fee is to “motivate” means they admit its purpose is “extortion” – “the crime of obtaining something such as money or information from somebody by using force, threats, or other unacceptable methods”

City of Wheaton’s “Police Powers”

From Page 31 in the franchise agreement between the City of Wheaton and ComEd, the city can restrict what ComEd installs if there is a question of health, safety or welfare of the city’s citizens and their properties.

Section 9.   MUNICIPAL RIGHTS RESERVED

9.1 Police Powers.  The City expressly reserves the right  to adopt, from time-to-time, in addition to the provisions contained herein, such ordinances, rules and regulations as the corporate Authorities may deem necessary in the exercise of the police powers for the protection of the health, safety and welfare of the city’s citizens and their propertied.

 

We took this issue to the City of Wheaton.  Their response was to create a pro-Smart Meter video for the city web site, and to send us a letter, declining to do anything for us.

ComEd Smart meter “Study” done in Oak Park by Black and Veatch

An article about the ComEd report:  http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2011/09/06/illinois-smart-meters-may-save-customers-28-billion

The actual report:  https://www.smartgrid.gov/sites/default/files/doc/files/Advanced_Metering_Infrastructure_AMI_Evaluation_Final_Report_201103.pdf

 

The cost of implementing the meters is now and certain.

The savings are over 20 years and based on assumptions.

Based on the opening sentence of the article “A third-party analysis commissioned by the Illinois-based Commonwealth Edison Company estimates the company’s 5.4 million Illinois utility customers could save $2.8 billion on electric bills over a 20-year period if smart meters are implemented,” the projected savings are only $2.16/month/customer.

 

On a quick scan:

1.       Primary savings are due to reduction in nonmetered electricity delivery (i.e. Theft), the cutoff of deadbeats, and remote meter-reading.

2.       Time of use load shifting is given no weight at all.

3.       Voluntary reduction in electricity use is given very little weight.

4.       Substantial weight is given to not having human meter readers.

5.       A statement is made, more or less, that omission of the service disconnect switch would significantly deplete savings, to the point where the economic viability of the smart meters becomes questionable. They are really depending on cutting off those deadbeats for electricity conservation.

6.       No mention is made at all of “conservation voltage reduction.”

7.       An economic value is given to reducing carbon emissions, which in my view is nonsense which should be excluded.

8.       Black & Veatch mentions health and privacy issues, only to say that these were not studied.

9.       No weight was attributed to alleged increases in reliability and faster outage management.

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.