Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby Charlie01 » Sep 10th, 2012, 1:35 pm

So, finally heard back from Hydro.

Anybody able to throw out some names of good lawyers in the Vernon, Salmon Arm, Kamloops or Kelowna areas who might be interested in taking on BC Hydro?

Such typical Hydro excuses and nonsense it's sickening and of coarse they are always right no matter how badly logical thinking has to be denied in order for them to say so. Just wow.
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Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby twobits » Sep 11th, 2012, 7:57 am

Charlie01 wrote:So, finally heard back from Hydro.

Anybody able to throw out some names of good lawyers in the Vernon, Salmon Arm, Kamloops or Kelowna areas who might be interested in taking on BC Hydro?

Such typical Hydro excuses and nonsense it's sickening and of coarse they are always right no matter how badly logical thinking has to be denied in order for them to say so. Just wow.


Don't waste your time or money. Like I said before, the evidence is gone......your old analog meter. Without being able to have Measurment Canada bench test that meter for accuracy, they can just say it was just a consumption variance on your part, and you have no way to prove it was not.
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Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby Charlie01 » Sep 11th, 2012, 12:48 pm

I hear what you're saying Twobits, however I guess maybe I plain think different than most. In this case, part of my thinking is based on the "stuff" included about meter testing in this letter I received. What they say is quite a ways off from what your information is and even further away from actual event. The kind of variations in my billing history, year over year, cycle for cycle and fully considering the various changes made around here that would impact consumption either + or - are far too broad to be explained as normal consumption variance. In some cases it's as much as 535 % higher from year to year for the same billing cycle. For example Jan.23 to March 22, 2004 was 1157 kW.h, 60 days, Av. mean temp. +.7. Jan. 18 to March 15, 2012 was 7347 kW.h, 58 days, Av. mean temp. -.8. Same heating method from year to year - electric baseboard heaters, which were upgraded with new ones of the same consumption size. There was also a new hot water heater in 2011 and the main service panel and secondary home panel were both upgraded in between those years. 2004 was a little warmer Jan. to March, however 1.5 degrees in the mean would not cause that kind of variation. These kinds of swings are all over my billing history, no matter how static life is year in and year out.

Certainly I think BC Hydro would like it if I took your advice and the point of the letter sent appears to be to frighten and confuse me into doing just that. But you know? This is plain wrong. Anybody with eyes and a bit of common sense can see there was a problem and I certainly have documentation of my efforts to get it resolved over the years. Just crawling into a corner and accepting the bullish attitude of Hydro about something so obviously wrong is what many people will do and have done and it's that way of behaving that has allowed Hydro and so many other corporations, Crown or otherwise to adopt the methods they often function with today. I'm just one person who is tired of it. There's an expression - if you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem. There definitely are problems with Hydro and a number of Crown corporations and government services in BC. Very few of our elected representitives are doing squat to correct areas of malfunction or failure on behalf of their constituents. There is zero need for responsibility or accountability if a person just shuts up and goes away, yet everybody complains that is what is lacking. I don't want my silence to be another endorsement for the status quo to enlarge.

Edit - to add; I came back here to mention that none of the number I quoted above are estimates - that's information off bills and from Environment Canada. However, I thank you for the information and appreciate the humour regarding where some lawyers may be employed.
Last edited by Charlie01 on Sep 11th, 2012, 1:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby GrooveTunes » Sep 11th, 2012, 1:04 pm

Charlie01 wrote:I hear what you're saying Twobits, however I guess maybe I plain think different than most. In this case, part of my thinking is based on the "stuff" included about meter testing in this letter I received. What they say is quite a ways off from what your information is and even further away from actual event. The kind of variations in my billing history, year over year, cycle for cycle and fully considering the various changes made around here that would impact consumption either + or - are far too broad to be explained as normal consumption variance. In some cases it's as much as 535 % higher from year to year for the same billing cycle. For example Jan.23 to March 22, 2004 was 1157 kW.h, 60 days, Av. mean temp. +.7. Jan. 18 to March 15, 2012 was 7347 kW.h, 58 days, Av. mean temp. -.8. Same heating method from year to year - electric baseboard heaters, which were upgraded with new ones of the same consumption size. There was also a new hot water heater in 2011 and the main service panel and secondary home panel were both upgraded in between those years. 2004 was a little warmer Jan. to March, however 1.5 degrees in the mean would not cause that kind of variation. These kinds of swings are all over my billing history, no matter how static life is year in and year out.

Certainly I think BC Hydro would like it if I took your advice and the point of the letter sent appears to be to frighten and confuse me into doing just that. But you know? This is plain wrong. Anybody with eyes and a bit of common sense can see there was a problem and I certainly have documentation of my efforts to get it resolved over the years. Just crawling into a corner and accepting the bullish attitude of Hydro about something so obviously wrong is what many people will do and have done and it's that way of behaving that has allowed Hydro and so many other corporations, Crown or otherwise to adopt the methods they often function with today. I'm just one person who is tired of it. There's an expression - if you're not part of the solution, then you're part of the problem. There definitely are problems with Hydro and a number of Crown corporations and government services in BC. Very few of our elected representitives are doing squat to correct areas of malfunction or failure on behalf of their constituents. There is zero need for responsibility or accountability if a person just shuts up and goes away, yet everybody complains that is what is lacking. I don't want my silence to be another endorsement for the status quo to enlarge.


I say go for it. As far as a lawyer goes, try contacting the BC Hydro union. A few years ago my partner needed some help and I suggested she call the CAW for advice on a good lawyer to use. They were quite helpful once they found out what was going on. It's worth a try.
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Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby Rwede » Sep 11th, 2012, 1:08 pm

A union lawyer? What, pay twice as much and he works half as hard as a non-union lawyer? :dyinglaughing:
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Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby NAB » Sep 11th, 2012, 2:55 pm

Out of curiosity Charlie (and perhaps you have posted about it and I missed it) - how does your year to year comparison look for consistency during comparable non heating season billing periods - say may june july august september? And during non heating season, do you turn off your heater circuits at the panel, or simply turn down the theremostats? (I always shut off my heating circuits at the panel breakers).

I have been involved in tracking down a problem similar to yours, but I won't expand on it as a possibility in your case without knowing more information. (It wasn't the meter that caused it as it turned out).

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Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby Charlie01 » Sep 11th, 2012, 3:37 pm

Thanks Nab. Same kind of deal - all over the place.

I turn the heat off at the breakers once we're warm enough to not need it. Just turned them back on a bit ago when we had some cool nights. I've been taking a meter reading daily since the smart meter was put in and paid particular attention for any significant variation in the days following turning them back on. Nothing out of the ordinary on days the thermostats are set low and expected increase when I've turned heat up a bit a night. Higher than ordinary hot water use and the dryer are the energy suckers, so laundry day is obvious in my records.

To give an idea of the non-heating month swings : May to July 2004 - 60 days, Av. mean temp. 19, 1751 kW.h. May to July 2011 - 62 days, Av. mean temp. 16.5, 3111 kW.h. May to July 2012 (smart meter installed for full cycle) 63 days, Av. mean temp. 15.3, 1681 kW.h.

I'm seeing the same trend for the current cycle as outlined above. The meter will be read by Hydro either Friday or next Tuesday and it's static with the previous cycle and well below what the old analog meter had climbed to.("Well below" is 94% lower than last year. Can't compare to 2010 as that is part of the period when the thing wasn't running - yes, the meter stopped working for about 10 months and still never was pulled to test or replaced until April of this year.)
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Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby NAB » Sep 11th, 2012, 4:25 pm

Well, your experience then wouldn't appear compare to the situation I was involved in, and if I understand your numbers correctly you seem to be in pretty good order now that the meter has been replaced. And I didn't notice earlier that you had indicated your meter stopped running completely for so long. How did that happen and not get corrected real quick?

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Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby Charlie01 » Sep 11th, 2012, 5:22 pm

Yes, things do seem okay now that a new meter is in place. Years ago when I first began to suspect the meter, all I ever wanted was to either know the one that was here was reliable or a replacement. Couldn't get anywhere with Hydro. I don't think anybody minds (most anybody) paying for what you use, but when you have strong reason to believe you're being gouged, then really hard to refute evidence of that having taken place, it's not a good feeling.

As for the long period of meter flatline - I know how I missed it, but why Hydro was okay with it for so long and additionally why they were just fine to get the same meter spinning again without it even being pulled to be recalibrated - that is their question to answer and their official answer is "We don't know" (I've never let my son get away with that as an answer to a legitimate question and he stopped using it when he was maybe 7).

I live rurally and our postal delivery is about as reliable as a political promise. I did receive one bill during that time that showed a zero reading and I thought nothing of it. I had bills like that in the past where estimate reading from a previous cycle were so high as to negate actual readings on subsequent bills. I've been round the mulberry bush so many times with Hydro over things like strange bills and poor billing practices that frankly, I got sort of numb in respect to ever having anything resolved satisfactorily. So, a bill with a zero reading was hardly scrutinized. I did not receive several more bills in a row and I did not have Hydro calling making threats. When I did get a bill, it wasn't a ridiculous one, paid it and just carried on. When everything sort of came to a head several months ago, some good soul at Hydro sent me reprints of those zero reading bills that I had never seen, even though I never asked specifically for them. Absolutely made me stand up and pay attention and then I started digging. Put years of history together that truly did reveal a big problem all on it's own, while the smart meter was just installed and each day that it's been in, it certainly seems to be supporting what I found and proving what I said (and a couple of electricians) was wrong for over a decade.
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Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby NAB » Sep 11th, 2012, 5:42 pm

Had a similar problem with a water meter about ten years ago (spinning at more than twice the speed it should have been). Got that resolved pretty quick LOL. Anyway, how much if anything do you figure you are out of pocket on this thing (irritation value aside)?

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Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby Charlie01 » Sep 11th, 2012, 6:31 pm

That's a hard question to completely answer at this point.

I switched from natural gas heat to gas with partial electric back up during 2003 and gradually to full electric in late 2003. Funny thing is, I was suspicious the gas meter wasn't right either (no, I'm not insane). That suspicion got deeper when there was a full shut off of gas in the area during a forest fire evacuation that took up most of a gas billing cycle, but the consumption remained high. That meter sat here for 8 more years on full lock off but still registered around 200 gigajoules of use since lock off. I just found that out about 2 weeks ago.

Anyways.......there isn't a single year of billing history since the change to full electric heat that isn't so all over the map that I can look at it as a reliable baseline to even suggest average or normal consumption for all billing cycles. It's obvious that the problem existed well before the electric heat went in however.

I feel pretty comfortable suggesting "normal" for the 2 full (July to Sept is almost at full cycle) billing cycles that the smart meter has been here for, as the consumption for these last 2 cycles is very similar to the few "normal" appearing years between 1994 and 2003. Reasonable repetition suggests "normal" to me while always considering legitimate variables of which there have been few. For the billing cycle I am in and the previous one, looking at all affected years, it appears there is about 17,000 or so kW.h of phantom power I paid for. As to dollar amount, it would be a matter of what rate I was being charged when overbilling took place.

The other 4 billing cycles to fill out a year? I wouldn't even guess. From the history and graphing, it does look as though the more real power used, the more phantom power was accrued. But I can't say that with certainty and won't until I see by way of the new meter what we do truly use over the coming 8 months. From there a person has to consider things like ambient conditions and any other factors that would impact "normal".
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Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby NAB » Sep 11th, 2012, 6:51 pm

I gather from your most recent consumption numbers you don't make much use (if any) of air conditioning in hot weather?

How many people live in your home?
.
And in my case, I did the opposite to you, switching away from electric baseboard heat to natural gas heating.

By the way, a couple of other things. I believe you said you were living rural. Have you had a plotter put on your power mains to analyse the quality of power you are getting over time? Also, any chance of intermittent power "theft" from your supply lines? Another thing, do you have or have you had any buried (underground) power circuits that get intermittent use? (Like RV hookups, outbuilding(s) service, lights, etc).

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Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby Charlie01 » Sep 11th, 2012, 7:50 pm

Hi;

There are just my son and myself. No air conditioning. We spend huge amounts of time outside and get this - we don't even watch TV or have the dish programed until the playoffs (hockey) most years. My son is an athlete, has played rep hockey for years, so we also spend a lot of time away in winter with things set to minimums. Our home is tiny also, an older mobile but well sealed and snug. Well under 1000 sq. ft.

I have never had anything done to test the quality of the elctricity from the meter in, but have had a couple of electricians check the system with no findings of anything to cause the problem. If what you mention is to do with the lines up to the meter, to my knowledge Hydro has never tested. Heck, they wouldn't even test the meter. We have had issues with surges and fluctations in years gone by, but Hydro denies that ever happened and it is less common in the past 3 or 4 years. Outages happen frequently, probably 20 or more times a year.

The first time I really noticed a significant problem with nothing to explain it, I queried Hydro about the possibility of power theft. I was told that I had to be stupid to not be able to see and identify if something like that were taking place. More recently when I brought it up again one customer service rep asked "Well, do you see cords or lines running from your place to somebody elses?"!!! Most are decent, but I've had some real winners too.

The line comes into the property to a pole, then to the meter on the barn. The main service panel is at the barn and then it is underground from the barn to the house, which has a secondary service panel. Testing between the 2 panels (so the underground portion) was done twice between 2002 and 2006. Nothing amiss. As for any other type of buried access or remote yard access, nothing.
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Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby NAB » Sep 11th, 2012, 8:13 pm

Hey :-) Describe your property, and distance to neighbours and how well you know them. Distance from your mobile to the barn. Distance to nearest neighbour from the barn. Any heat or electric outlets in the barn? From your description I gather your property is vacant and unsupervised for long periods of time? And what is generally the cause of the power outages you mention? How far to the transformer that feeds your property, and how many other properties does it feed? Agricultural area (i.e. orchards/vineyards) or basic bush? Are all the lines clear of trees?

Edit to add: Anything in the area you can put your finger on that happened 3 - 4 years ago that might link to the fluctuations and surges you say you experienced before that being reduced or eliminated?

How about under your mobile. Is it skirted? Do you have any accessory devices heating that space? How about such things as heat tape on plumbing and water lines either manually plugged in or thernostatically controlled?

How about such things as insulation status? Ever had any water leaks, (particularly roof)? And are your windows single glass paned or upgraded to double or better?

And do you ever use 120V plug in auxiliary heaters for heat supplementation?

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Re: Just said NO to 'Smrt' Meters

Postby Charlie01 » Sep 12th, 2012, 6:48 am

'Mornin'!
My yard faces onto a main road and is close to it and very open. Trees hanging on the lines in the yard are not an issue and Hydro has contractors clearing lines in the greater area for the last few years. Trees falling on or being blown down onto the lines has been the biggest reason for frequent outages, followed by people going off the road and taking out poles and sometimes transformers have blown for reasons of speculation......Most of these are area wide outages, not restricted to one property and the fluctuations and surges were community wide. I think enough complaints generated the gradual upgrade of transformers in the area and cleaning up along the lines along the road. There isn't anything I specifically recall being done to correct things and any work Hydro has done in the area has been over time.

I do have several close by neighbours, as the area is a combination of large lots, small acreages, small farms and a few larger pieces of land, pretty much all ALR. Livestock and hay are pretty much the limit of farming activity close around me. Most of my neighbours are lifers and good people. Over the years there have have been a couple that a person should give a second look but they also tended to move along. There definitely are people in the area who grow more than 'taters and 'maters but any of those in any close proximity to my yard have left and the problem with my power never did until apparently the past 4 1/2 months.

We're away for 3 to 5 day weekends usually 6 to a dozen times a year. I turn the heat to it's lowest setting if it's winter and everything else gets unplugged. I have help come in to check the place over and tend to chores, but aside from turning the lights on in the barn maybe, nothing much uses power. I've got a couple good neighbours who live close enough to easily see my yard and we watch out for each other when any of us are away. The concept of power theft was a new one on me when I moved to BC 20+ years ago, but hearing of it often and having the obvious problems with unexplainably high fluctuations is what prompted me to ask Hydro about the possibility years ago. Apparently a person is stupid if you can't "see" it happening in Hydro's opinion.....................Uh huh.

Anyway, the distance between the house and barn is about 70 feet. There are a couple of outlets, I keep the breaker to 2 of them off unless I need to use them. The third one is on a circuit that lights are on, so I leave that breaker on as there are switches for lights and I can see that outlet easily from my kitchen window. The mobile is skirted and insulated but I am urgrading it now as it's just due. A trouble light with a 60 w. bulb keeps it warm enough to prevent freeze ups under there. I did install a buried type heat tape on the water line that comes into the mobile as it gets a bit shallow in depth for about 15 feet. That isn't wired in, it's a plug in style and just a precaution in the event there ever is a freeze up. I've never had to use it in the 10 years the line has been where it is. Very occassionally I do run a ceramic heater in the pump house. A light in there during cold months is generally enough but spells of more than -20 warrant a little boost and that heater might run from a few hours to maybe a day. A person expects to see some increase from something like that but I doubt it would create a 2000 or 3000 kW.h increase in a billing cycle from maybe 12 to 36 hours use through a year, one year in maybe 5. Inside most areas have had the insulation replaced and upgraded. There is still some heat loss I'm sure through the ceiling as that's just a characteristic of the thin framing type in older mobiles. The windows are double pane but not highest quality. I generally do the shrink plastic on them in winter. I've sealed around the casings. The transformer for this property is at the road, maybe 250 to 300 feet of line between it and the mast that runs down to the meter and I think it services either 2 or 3 properties. I don't recall without going and having a look at it.
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