Smart meter price pain as power spikes – The Australian

Electricity smart meters have been recommended for all households and businesses, a move that would raise the cost of power during peak periods in a bid to lower demand, as data shows Victoria and South Australia are unable to produce enough energy on extremely hot days with little or no wind.

A bipartisan federal parliamentary committee report released yesterday says the introduction of smart meters and dynamic billing is critical to managing the electricity grid as demand grows and different types of generation come online.

As federal and state governments clash over the National ­Energy Guarantee and renewable energy policy, the House of ­Representative committee recommended the Australian Energy Market Operator consider a rollout of smart meters to all electricity users. It said the meters would help households and large-scale consumers to manage prices and habits by allowing networks to charge consumers more during times of high demand and less when there was an energy surplus.

The committee, chaired by ­Nationals MP Andrew Broad, made 23 recommendations in a 133-page report that laid bare how “the reliability of the grid at times of peak demand has become of particular concern”.

Mr Broad said Australia faced a “trilemma” of needing to meet ­climate change commitments under the Paris Agreement, ensuring stable supply so the “lights don’t go out”, and mitigating rising electricity costs. Smart meters and dynamic pricing should become part of the solution, he said.

“We were very mindful that there was criticism of the price of smart meters and we didn’t want to load more costs onto the grid, and one of the discussions we had on the smart meter was, does it alter behaviour, and generally speaking, no, people don’t look at them, but it will become part of ­demand management particularly as people understand how to use it,” Mr Broad told The Australian.

The federal government is ­imploring state governments to back the NEG, which is ­focused on boosting energy security through dispatchable power projects such as coal, gas, hydro and storage.

Energy Minister Josh Frydenberg has upped his calls for the states and territories — including South Australia and the ACT — to support the plan, as new analysis of the National Energy Market shows Victoria and South Australia struggled to cover their own peak energy needs when the wind isn’t blowing. “Despite the best ­efforts of AEMO, the supply-­demand ­balance in South Australia and Victoria is precarious,” Mr Frydenberg said.

“There is no better illustration of this than the need to rush in expensive, polluting diesel generators that use up to 80,000 litres an hour as back-up.”

The data shows that in Victoria, installed capacity is currently 10,938MW. If there is no wind generation, however, this decreases to 9442MW, more than 1000MW below Victoria’s highest peak demand of 10,446MW on January 29, 2009. In South Australia, installed capacity is 4916MW. If there is no wind generation, this decreases to 3110MW, below the state’s highest peak demand of 3380MW on January 31, 2011. The data does not include emergency generation from the Reliability and Emergency Reserve Trader scheme and 175MW of diesel generation in South Australia as both operate outside the market.

“What we are seeing this summer only reinforces the need for more dispatchable power, which can come from coal, gas, hydro and storage,” Mr Frydenberg said.

He is preparing to meet state ministers at a Council of Australian Governments energy council meeting next month, where he will confront South Australia and the ACT, who have both pushed back against the NEG.

SA Energy Minister Tom Koutsantonis reiterated his opposition to the NEG. “Our power supply has been more reliable than the coal-reliant grids in the eastern states,” he said. “South Australia has experienced two heatwaves this summer, and our system coped very well.” He said the independent Australian Energy Market Commission recently modelled power bills in South Australia to come down by about $300 over the next two years, in part due to additional competition from new renewable energy projects

Victorian Energy Minister Lily D’Ambrosio hit back at suggestions the grid was unstable. “NSW almost plunged into darkness last year, but was bailed out by energy generated in Victoria through the National Energy Market — a fact Josh Frydenberg conveniently ­ignores,” she said.

The Clean Energy Finance Corporation gave evidence to the committee that while investing in renewables and storage in ­advance of coal capacity closure would minimise costs to consumers and maintain energy security, smart-technology solutions were important for improving system resilience and lowering costs. The committee recommended that AEMO work with retailers to ensure bills were dynamic, providing customers with control over how much information they received in relation to cost and usage.

Smart metres measure and ­record electricity usage every half-hour. The data is collected by electricity distributors who pass the information to retailers for billing purposes. They use the real time data to change prices accordingly to demand. Victoria is the only state where smart ­meters are compulsory.

Samantha Hutchinson and Graham Lloyd, The Australian 

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Take Back Your Power Screening, Saturday 17 February, Melbourne

Take Back Your Power

Saturday 17 February 7:30 pm

48 Main St, Upwey (Magpie House)

 

 

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Melbourne Screening of Generation Zapped

Electrosensitivity Australia is excited to invite you to a special screening of GENERATION ZAPPED, an eye-opening documentary about the true cost of living in the wireless age.

 

$20.00 tickets click HERE to purchase

To watch the TRAILER click HERE

Further inquiries contact electrosensitivity.au@gmail.com

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Reliable and safe phone landlines to be history?

The Australian Government quietly released its response to the Productivity Commission Inquiry Report into the Telecommunications Universal Service Obligation, shortly before Christmas.

It appears that Australians’ right to safe and reliable phone lines and payphones is soon to be relegated to history.  Whilst the response assures us that a new Universal Service Guarantee, which is to replace the Universal Service Obligation (USO), will make available broadband and voice services to 100 per cent of premises on request, the detail on how this might be achieved is sketchy.

Instead, alarmingly, the Government’s response spruiks Australians’ uptake of mobile phones, claiming more than 99 per cent of Australians already have access to at least one mobile network, and states that voice and broadband services will be “delivered on a commercial basis by the market in the first instance”.

It’s bad enough that the NBN has left most city dwellers without the means of a safe phone line when the power goes off (and battery backup offers only short-term respite).  But now rural dwellers are to be hit even harder; households in the NBN fixed wireless and satellite footprints will be expected to rely on wireless communications for all their voice services.

The Productivity Commission’s report states that the Universal Service Guarantee (USG) should start following the completion of the NBN rollout in 2020.  In line with the Commission’s recommendations, the Government has commenced work on the new USG.  However, the Minister for the Department of Communications and the Arts, Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield, assures us that no changes will be made to the current USO (which was originally meant to run until 2032) unless the “proposed new service delivery arrangements are more cost effective than the existing USO contract (including transitional costs)”.

Given that the Government’s input into the existing USO is only $100 million annually (with industry levies providing the balance), it beggars belief that substituting wireless services in rural areas for copper landlines will prove to be more cost effective if all costs are considered.  But that’s the catch – many of the potential costs are being steadfastly ignored by Government.

From a health perspective alone, the long-term ramifications of pushing rural Australians onto 24/7 wireless services is likely to result in costs to the nation which will dwarf current funding.

An increase in brain tumours is but one of the many adverse outcomes which studies have highlighted as being a possible result of long-term exposure to radiofrequency radiation.  Brain cancer is a rare disease; however, according to Australia’s Cure Brain Foundation it now kills more children in Australia than any other disease.  According to an independent study prepared for the Cancer Council New South Wales, using data available to June 2006, the average lifetime financial costs to households for brain cancer were $149,400; this increased to $449,100 for males up to 14 years old.

Taxpayers also pay the price of increased brain tumours.  An overseas 2013 study, entitled “Swedish review strengthens grounds for concluding that radiation from cellular and cordless phones is a probable human carcinogen”, states that treatment of a single case of brain cancer can cost between $100,000 for radiation therapy alone and up to $1 million (USD) depending on drug costs.  And brain cancer is only one of the adverse health outcomes that may eventuate as a result of increased exposure to pulsed microwave radiation.

How ironic that progressive health authorities elsewhere in the world are advising the public to consider using landlines as an alternative to mobile phones due to substantial scientific evidence of risk, particularly in regards to children.  For instance, in Israel, the Ministry of Health recommends sensible use of cellular and wireless technology, including “considering alternatives like landline telephones” (Environmental Health in Israel, Chapter 10, Non-Ionizing Radiation); similarly, the Cyprus Medical Association, Vienna Austrian Medical Chamber and Cyprus National Committee on Environment and Children’s Health recently released the Nicosia Declaration on Electromagnetic Fields/Radiofrequencies, which advises that children under 16 should use mobile phones only for emergencies, and that phone calls at home and at work should be made via a hardwired network.  In Australia, however, children as well as adults are to be denied the choice to choose a safe means of voice communication.

Electromagnetic hypersensitivity sufferers marginalised

The Productivity Commission Inquiry Report on the USO highlighted the role of phones in creating social inclusion.  Yet despite recognition of this, and the fact that a number of participants stated in their submission that their electromagnetic hypersensitivity rendered them unable to tolerate wireless signals without becoming ill, this direct evidence was dismissed by the Commission.

Instead, the Commission’s report lamely relayed ARPANSA’s opinion on the matter (‘no established scientific evidence that electromagnetic hypersensitivity is caused by electromagnetic fields below exposure guidelines’) and opined that there are “already Australian Government measures to address concerns in this area…”.  Sadly, none of the measures which were mentioned include a means by which sufferers might access a phone line without being exposed to pulsed wireless radiation!  The Commission also considered that, “even if concerns about health effects were validated”, measures such as “providing consumer information” or “setting standards” would be a more cost-effective means of addressing this issue.

Based on this, it would seem that the needs of people with electrohypersensitivity will continue to be ignored.

Fragility of wireless communications

It appears that the Government is also labouring under the assumption that wireless communications are as robust as hard-wired landlines and payphones.  This is remarkedly short-sighted.  Even damage from a storm can render communication towers useless for days, if not longer.  Is the Government going to factor in the potential cost to the community of events such as this?

If the Australian Government’s plans for its new Universal Service Guarantee is of concern to you, please raise this issue with your local Federal MP and/or write to:

Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield
Minister for Communications
Email: Minister@communications.gov.au

To view the Productivity Commission Inquiry Report, along with its findings and recommendations, go here.   (The response to concerns raised by the public about electromagnetic energy exposure is covered on pp. 237-239, plus see the comment on p. 160.)

For previous posts on this issue, see:

Telstra’s obligation to provide landlines may be given the flick

Landlines Petition

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Wanted – House without a smart meter

Throughout Victoria, there are countless people who have had to leave their homes because of the adverse health effects of smart meters, health aliments resulting from the continuous pulsed electromagnetic radiation emitted from smart meters.

Increasingly, such people are finding it difficult to locate a property to live in – and this situation will only worsen if the Victoria government continues to refuse smart meter exemptions for people suffering from electro-hypersensitivity. The heartless Victorian government even refuses exemptions for people with validated medical certificates!

Stop Smart Meters Australia recently received a request from a woman living in Melbourne desperate to leave her home and find a house without a smart meter. The effects of the smart meter have been debilitating for her. Please help if you can:

Rental Room Required

“I am a 44 year old single woman looking to rent a room in a house without a smart meter.  I have experienced adverse effects from the smart meter in my current rental accommodation and therefore need to move as soon as possible.  A Melbourne location would be ideal, but I am definitely open to anywhere in Australia with an analogue meter. My contact email is: GTSKconsultant@gmail.com.  Thanks in advance!”

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Electrical pollution in your home: Why you can’t be healthy in a sick house

High frequencies generated by smart meters as a result of the switch-mode power supply* can create ‘dirty’ electricity in homes, that is, frequencies that are higher than the 50 hertz waves that should be running on household wires.  This radiation from the home’s smart meter can couple onto household wiring.  This effect can be a particular problem in homes with older, compromised wiring as higher frequencies equate to more heat and can lead to burnt out appliances, as well as fires in the home down-the-track.

A number of people are sensitive to high frequency harmonics, experiencing symptoms resembling radio wave sickness when exposed to them, ranging from headaches, palpitations, asthma, deteriorating vision, and digestive problems through to high blood sugar levels and multiple sclerosis (Havas 2006).

In an article published in Paleo Magazine, October/November 2017, Alison Main writes why you can’t be healthy in a home exposed to dirty electricity:

“Electricity can indeed by a marvelous thing.  But when our electrical current isn’t smooth, this can lead to a variety of health problems, including headaches, neurological disturbances, fatigue, depression, skin irritation, autoimmune disease, and cancer.

It’s called Electromagnetic Interference (EMI) by most engineers, “harmonics” and “harmonic distortion” by other electrical professionals, and “high-frequency voltage transients” by some EMF experts – or in layman’s terms, “dirty electricity.”  Semantics aside, what we’re really talking about are frequencies other than our utility’s smooth and clean 60 hertz [50 hertz in Australia] sine wave of Alternating Current (AC)…

A big environmental pollutant and suspected carcinogen, these harmonics are particularly dangerous because they accumulate and strengthen, and their frequency can sometimes reach into the radiofrequency range.  Not to mention, they travel along home and utility wiring, so you may be feeling sick in your home because of your neighbor’s choice in energy-saving light bulbs…

IT’S COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE

You might now be wondering whether your new furnace has thrown you down an EMF rabbit hole.  Since you can’t see these frequencies with the naked eye, how do you know if you’ve got a problem?

Start by looking for the common sources of harmonics in your home. These include most modern appliances and electronics, compact fluorescent lighting (CFLs), some LED lighting, dimmer switches, variable-speed motors (used in most furnaces and HVAC systems), blenders and mixers, routers and modems, solar-energy systems, and anything with a switch-mode power supply…”

Alison Main

Extracted from https://alisonmain.files.wordpress.com/2017/09/paleo-magazine_electrical-pollution_octnov2017_amain.pdf

*The switch-mode power supply converts alternating current (AC) to direct current (DC) within the smart meter in order to power the meter; this is not a seamless transition and can result in increased high frequency transients and harmonics (‘dirty electricity’) radiating from all wiring within the home.  It explains why merely disabling the remote microwave transmissions in smart meters doesn’t go far enough.  See Dirty Electricity: It’s Not Just Wireless That’s Causing Health Problems for more information on dirty electricity and radio-off meters.

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Smart meters causing tidal wave of mysterious illnesses that strike people in their own homes

In recent years there have been increasing reports that “Smart Meters” – the digitized electric meters that are designed to send usage figures to power companies wirelessly – are causing a range of health issues among a growing portion of the population where such devices are in use.

In fact, notes the EMF Safety Network, a growing number of people from around the world are beginning to report health problems they believe are related to an increased amount of wireless radiation from various devices, including smart meters.

“Utilities claim smart meters are safe, and compare them to cell phones. However, cell phones, cell towers, wi-fi and other wireless devices can also affect your health,” the organization states on its website. “Reducing your EMF exposure can benefit your overall health and wellness.”

The group also notes that the World Health Organization has classified radiation as a 2B carcinogen, and based that declaration on studies that have linked cell phone radiation to brain tumors.

As noted by Cancer.org, here is how the devices work:

“Smart meters talk to their central systems using RF transmissions, based on a cell phone, pager, satellite, radio, power line (PLC), Wi-Fi or Internet (TCP/IP) communication method. Internet and cell phone applications have become the preferred options because of their flexibility and ease of deployment.”

Cancer.org notes further that smart meters are typically installed outside homes and places of business to measure electricity, water and gas usage. How much RF energy people are exposed to depends on how far they are from the antenna that transmits the signal.

The power and frequency of the RF signal emitted from smart meters are similar to those of a typical cellular phone, cordless phone or residential Wi-Fi router.

Cancer.org notes that the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) named RF radiation as “possibly carcinogenic to humans,” based on findings of at least one study that examined a link between it and a particular type of brain tumor.

In addition, the EMF Safety Network has identified the following symptoms as possibly linked to RF radiation, based on a survey the group did in 2011:

–Sleep problems (insomnia, difficulty falling asleep, night waking, nightmares)

–Stress, agitation, anxiety, irritability

–Headaches, sharp pain or pressure in the head

–Ringing in the ears, ear pain, high pitched ringing

–Concentration, memory or learning problems

–Fatigue, muscle or physical weakness

–Disorientation, dizziness, or balance problems

–Eye problems, including eye pain, pressure in the eyes

–Cardiac symptoms, heart palpitations, heart arrhythmias, chest pain

–Leg cramps, or neuropathy

–Arthritis, body pain, sharp, stabbing pains

–Nausea, flu-like symptoms

–Sinus problems, nose bleeds

–Respiratory problems, cough, asthma

–Skin rashes, facial flushing

–Urinary problems

–Endocrine disorders, thyroid problems, diabetes

–High blood pressure

–Changes in menstrual cycle

–Hyperactivity or changes in children’s behavior

–Seizures

–Recurrence of cancer

Abridged from an article by Erin Elizabeth, HNN

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