Monday, September 15, 2014

Death of a 6 year-old girl in a NY home where National Grid cut off electricity for non-payment

Death of a 6 year-old girl in a NY home where National Grid cut off electricity for non-payment

From : Elizabeth Kelley <>
Object : Press release/petition on smart meters
Date : Sept 12 2014 
Date: Fri, 12 Sep 2014 19:50:46 -0400
Stop Smart Meters Massachusetts
Contact: Patricia Burke
The death of a 6 year-old girl in a NY home where National Grid cut off
electricity for non-payment has amplified human rights and environmental
activist group Stop Smart Meters Massachusetts’ request for an
investigation into the expense to ratepayers of the Department of Public
Utilities smart meter mandate. The group has also called for an audit of
the controversial $48M, 15,000 meter Worcester pilot program, which is 5
times larger and far more expensive than the Green Communities Act mandate.
Carbon monoxide poisoning is suspected in the NY death due to the use of an
indoor propane heater. The Chicago area Advanced Metering Infrastructure
Health Impact Assessment, conducted in partnership between the National
Center for Medical Legal Partnership at Boston Medical Center
<>, and Citizens Utility Board
<> noted that customers deprived of
electricity often turn to unsafe alternatives, endangering health and

Wireless smart meters enable two-way communication between the utility and
the home. 111 municipalities in Quebec have called for a moratorium and/or
free opt out. Germany has rejected smart meter deployment. In the UK, the
Committee of Public Accounts issued a report Sept. 9 casting doubt over the
validity of the smart meter rollout, raising concerns over the cost-benefit
to consumers and the ability of the energy market to keep costs down.
Nations including Italy, the site of the Vatican leukemia lawsuit, opted
for safer, faster; more secure hard-wired technology. Italy is not
collecting private usage data from customers. Lakeland, Florida;
Saskatchewan, Canada; Pennsylvania, and Oregon have removed thousands of
smart meters due to fire hazards.

The Worcester pilot program, which included 242 microwave antennas, has
been delayed due to contentious zoning battles regarding placement of
towers in residential neighborhoods. Despite the fact that the pilot
program has not proven smart meter effectiveness, the DPU has already
mandated the technology for MA investor-owned utilities, estimated at a
cost of over $7B to ratepayers.

Tim Knauss of reported that in NY, “For the past decade, in
good times and bad, National Grid has reported more than 200,000 customers
a month - roughly one in seven - who are at least two months behind on
their bills. Each year since 2006, National Grid has terminated between
49,000 and 61,000 residential accounts for nonpayment in its Upstate
territory, which extends from Albany to Buffalo. For some customers, there
is "a permanent level of unaffordability built into the rates,'' said
William Yates, a senior financial analyst at Public Utility Law Project.

 Larry Rulison of the Times-Union reported, “ National Grid
is forecasting that by the year 2029, the average residential electric
 bill, including electricity, delivery charges and taxes and fees, in
upstate New York will rise from $89.62 a month to $132.38 — an increase of
47 percent. And while the increase includes the expected rise in National
Grid's operating costs, much of it is going to come from the rise in
wholesale electricity costs over that period. Wholesale power prices could
nearly double over the next 15 years, National Grid believes, growing from
roughly 6 cents per kilowatt hour to nearly 11 cents.” Central Maine Power
requested an 8% rate hike increase instead of promised savings after
statewide smart meter deployment.
Informed activists caution that the costly technology is untested, has not
been monitored for environmental and health impacts, and relies on FCC
guidelines that have not been reviewed since 1996. Concerns are mounting
that consumers will be forced to pay for the technology twice, once for the
initial installation, and then for the replacement cost once the
shortcomings of the system are readily apparent.
The Department of Public Utilities relied on the testimony of tobacco
scientist Peter Valberg from the product defense firm Gradient, while
reports such as the Seletun Scientific Statement recognize biological harm
occurring at radio frequency exposure levels far below US exposure
guidelines, which have never been tested for children, pregnant women, the
infirm, medically vulnerable, or elderly.
The Berkshire-Litchfield Environmental Council, which provided testimony in
opposition to smart meters for MA DPU docket 12-76 stated, “The smart grid
is increasingly understood as an over engineered, ill-advised, financial
boondoggle at taxpayer expense, capable of endangering the security of the
entire national grid, violating constitutional privacy protections and
endangering public health. In addition, the smart grid/metering has not
been found to save energy when all the new variables in the system are
factored in. Plus, time-of-use pricing is largely punitive to those who can
least afford it. Time-of-use pricing is fundamentally a Wall Street model
designed to maintain shareholder profits as we transition to more energy
efficient models that will reduce demand.”

-  Please sign this petition on behalf of Worcester residents:

The Worcester National Grid Smart Meter Pilot program exposes the community
to unprecedented risks in violation of local democracy.

Will you sign this petition to Attorney General Martha Coakley? Click here:

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