To the Editor:
Regarding your article about linking rising electric rates with the pipeline, I would question how the National Grid Worcester Smart Meter pilot program‘s price tag of $44 million is factored in. Could it be that our higher rates are filling their coffers to pay for this pilot? NSTAR completed their pilot and did not have high marks for the cost vs. benefit of the smart grid program. If the DPU[Department of Public Utilities] determines that the smart meters are a good thing, will we see our electric rates skyrocket again to pay for the statewide installation which is estimated to cost exponentially more than the Worcester pilot of 15,000 customers?
This is one of the questions being raised in Sheffield whose residents last May voted in favor of a moratorium on the smart grid installation until such time as this and other questions on cybersecurity, meter fires, landscape encroachment and health effectives have been researched and discussed.
The writer is a member of the nonprofit Scientific Alliance for Education: NoMassSmartMeters.wordpress.com
Editor’s Note: Below is the text of a warrant item to be voted on at a special town meeting, Monday, March 2:
Petition for Town of Sheffield Zoning By-Laws Amendments for Smart Grid/Smart Meter Temporary Moratorium
Warrant Article: To see if the Town will vote to amend the Town of Sheffield’s Zoning By-Laws by adding a new Section 7.4 – TEMPORARY MORATORIUM ON SMART GRID/SMART METER INSTALLATIONS (as provided below), adding a new definition in Section 10. DEFINITIONS for Electric Utility, and further amending the TABLE OF CONTENTS to add Section 7.4 Temporary Moratorium on Smart Grid/Smart Meter Installations, or take any action relative thereto.
Text of the Town of Sheffield Zoning By-Laws Warrant Article: Proposed Amendments
Section 7.4 – Temporary Moratorium on Smart Grid/Smart Meter Installations
7.4.1 – Purpose. To allow the Town time to review the safety, technology, infrastructure, costs and opt-out fees planned for a Smart Grid and/or Smart Meter program by an Electric Utility in Sheffield, in order to protect health and welfare of the Town and its residents from potential adverse impacts on human health, historic resources, scenic views, residential property values and natural or man-made resources.
7.4.2 – Definitions
“Home Area Network (or “HAN”)”: AMI wirelessly send data from home devices to, and may implement instructions from, the Electric Utility and/or possibly third parties via the HAN gateway, which is located at an end-user’s residence or business, and which may thus serve as a communications portal to electrical appliances, electrical equipment, or electrical devices within the end-user’s residence or business, or which otherwise communicates with, monitors, or controls such electrical appliances, electrical equipment, or electrical devices.
“Local Area Network (or “Mesh” or “LAN”)”: A two-way microwave wireless network whereby AMI meters send data from meter to meter and/or from meter to repeater/relay or base stations to and from the LAN or WAN to the Electric Utility and possibly to third parties.
“Smart Grid/Smart Meter” (also commonly referred to as “Advanced Metering Infrastructure”, “AMI”, or similar): Electricity meters, two-way communication technologies employing base stations and receivers or similar, meter data management systems and customer devices any or all of which are used or may be used by an Electric Utility to measure, record, analyze,, share electric energy use data and/or to control, modify or otherwise manipulate electric energy usage through the use of Home Area Networks, Local Area Networks and/or Wide Area Networks.
“Wide Area Network (or “WAN”)”: WiMAX (or Worldwide Interoperability for Microwave Access), cellular technology and/or other microwave technology utilizing base stations (antennas, etc.) on existing or newly built poles, towers or structures which may or may not have other antennas affixed to them and usually requiring ‘line of sight’ installation to receivers, which may require defoliating or removing existing vegetation and/or foliage and/or may require installation above an existing tree line.
7.4.3 – Temporary Moratorium. Notwithstanding any other provision of the Town of Sheffield Zoning By-Laws to the contrary, the Town of Sheffield hereby adopts a temporary moratorium on the use of Smart Grid/Smart Meter Installations. The Temporary Moratorium shall be in effect through March 31, 2016. During the Temporary Moratorium period, the Town shall undertake a review of the potential impacts of Smart Grid/Smart Meter Installations, and shall consider adopting new Zoning By-Laws to address the health and welfare impacts concerning the operation of Smart Grid/Smart Meter Installations in the Town of Sheffield.
Section 10. Definitions
Electric Utility: Any corporate entity or any individual responsible for the installation, operation, maintenance, measurement, monitoring and/or billing of electricity usage. For the purposes of this definition, Electric Utility shall include such corporate entity or individual and any or all of its affiliates, agents, assigns, contractors, divisions, predecessors, representatives, service providers, subsidiaries, successors, and vendors of any and every type or form whatsoever.