November 2, 2001 – Vermont Smart Meter Update
On November 1, 2011 the Vermont Public Service Board (PSB) held a workshop on its open Smart Grid docket. Originally this was not scheduled to be a public hearing. Vermonters who are opposing wireless Smart Meters picketed outside the PSB office for the hour prior to the beginning of the workshop.
See Fox TV News report at : www.abc22.com/story/15928665/vt-smart-grid-workshop-draws-protesters
Also Vermont Public Radio report at: www.vpr.net/news_detail/92419/
At the outset of the workshop PSB Hearing Officer George Young announced that he would provide time for public questions and comment. Initially Young queried the staff of the Vermont Department of Public Service (DPS) and the electric utilities representatives about the three drafts prepared by DPS to address issues regarding Automated Metering Opt Out, Privacy, and Cyber Security Protocol. The Vermont ACLU representatives posed questions on how usage data will be collected, stored, used, and protected from use without the consent of the individual ratepayer.
Matt Levin of Vermonters for a Clean Environment ( www.vce.org ) commented on the lack of information made available to the general public about the proposed wireless Smart Meter buildout that has resulted in late public awareness and difficulties for the public to have meaningful participation in the process.
Mr. Young then opened the workshop to the public who attended the workshop. A lengthy discussion followed in which the public questioned DPS’s reliance on the FCC RF safety guidelines to protect the public from potential adverse health effects of wireless Smart Meter emissions, effects of RF emissions on wildlife and the environment, compromise of health, safety, personal security, electric grid security and privacy in Vermonters’ homes because the system is relying on wireless transmitters.
James Porter, DPS’s Director of Telecommunications Division responded that anyone who wants to Opt-Out of a wireless meter can do so. Opt-Out policy proposals call for a $10 per month charge to pay for manual reading of the retained meters. Porter stated that the Vermont Legislature has requested that the Vermont Department of Health do a study that includes a review of the scientific literature on effects of radiofrequency emissions and measurements of wireless Smart Meter emissions.
Mr. Young gave in-depth answers to the public’s questions on the roles of the PSB and the DPS and the intricacies of the steps in the process for public participation. He concluded the workshop by modifying the process for Comment on the three specific DPS policy statements that were the original agenda of the workshop. Anyone who attended the workshop can submit written comment specific to the drafts that will part of the record. Commenters can make their submittals electronically without having to serve hard copies to all of the existing parties. Young also reopened the process to allow for late requests to become a party with standing on the draft policy language. Gaining party status allows the party to appeal the final decision on the policy language.
The EMR Policy Institute will provide the links needed to submit electronic comment when full information is posted to the Vermont PSB web site.