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PCE on "smart meters".
Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment June 2009 Report
- brief and hurried reflections.
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(Rate your grid on an intelligence-
of Symbol Uses.
New Zealand is a
small place. This means the intimacy of its people enables considerable
potential for science and democracy to exist on scale. It also means the
critical process can be hampered by egos. In order to promote science
and transcend egos I will set my comments against a number of key
The Cheap Mineral Oil/Gas Era is now over and the survival of
humanity depends on our successful transition to an era in which we make
far more intelligent uses of our solar, electrical and carbon
A grand confluence of
technologies is occurring, which includes distributed generation of
resources, “smart” metering/monitoring of resource use, “smart”
household appliances, broadband, cellular radio networks, etc. This
confluence affects how we use a wide range of electrical products and
has the potential for considerable democracy or Fascism.
electrical grid/meter evaluator. This employs six categories
varying from high intelligent meter/grid to high incoherent meter grid.
Meters and grids may exhibit the characteristics of more than one
category. The rating is on a continuum:
We have the option of adopting Carbon Stewardship, Carbon Tax and
Carbon Trading strategies and each has very different impacts on the
sustainability and stewardship of communities.
(6) The Electricity Industry Reforms persist and their introduction radically altered the capacity of communities to make intelligent uses of their local electrical and other potentials.
This report, like previous reports of the PCE office of the past decade, lack science, fails to identify and address the prime risks of current policies and there are significant indications that the report has been captured by the oligarchy of bankers that control much of the resources of our planet. It fails to identify the fundamental obstacles to New Zealand adopting and modelling sustainable transition strategies. The report’s existence puts New Zealanders at greater risk.
exploration of the PCE’s preface using the Sustainability Principle of
Energy indicates deep denial of change/stewardship, a significant lack
of science and the dominance of Banker Speak:
Electricity is a wonderfully versatile form of energy …All new power
plants attract opposition… whether the energy source is
‘renewable’ or not.”
“ Better demand-side management of electricity...reducing the need for the construction of new power plants.”
…fewer new power plants… and have the functionality that will enable
peak power to be reduced."
monthly ‘post consumption’ power bill is deeply uninformative.”
cannot be stored.”
this carbon-pricing scheme into the electricity sector means the cost of
generating electricity from fossil fuels will go up relative to the cost
of generating electricity from renewable sources.”
coal power plants emit two or three times as much carbon dioxide as gas
power plants per unit of electricity.”
quotes show the PCE commits the common and dangerous error of confusing
and equating the “energy”, “power” and “electricity”
symbols. This completely undermines science in our communities. This is
pure Banker Speak and it evidences high levels of psychosis. In writing
a document such as this the authors need be very mindful of its
environment. In this case the environment is one in which a massive
global struggle for resources is occurring and bankers of the
Bulk-generated electrical products and fossil fuels sector have
colonised key symbols in our language. These bankers also control much
of our media and education curricula and they actively destroy science
for their short-term profit. In particular they destroy the following
that energy is the potential of the universe(s), trace elements of it
being actualised in any moment and the vast bulk of it being unrealised
that power is that rate that the potential of the universe(s) is
there is no such thing as electricity. Rather there is a wide range of
electrical phenomena, and these have varying and often contradictory
qualities. All that are manifest have a name.
elements of the universe(s) are forms of energy. Thus the PCE’s use of
energy symbol is not necessary and, in our current barbaric culture, it
the PCE employs the “electricity” symbol as in “Electricity =
Bulk-generated electrical products.”
“Electricity is a wonderfully versatile form of energy” to
“Bulk-generated electrical products form wonderfully versatile
Every particle of the universe(s) is a manifestation of the universal
potential and has energy. We can measure the rate at which it is
manifest i.e. its power. Thus the PCE’s use of the “power plant”
symbol is unhelpful because:
Power is a rate or measure and not a commodity.
In our current culture the “power” symbol has been colonised
by the small oligarchy that profit from the sale of Bulk-generated
electrical products. They use the symbol as a weapon in their
century-long war on community-based, distributed generation of products.
the context of this document it is more helpful to talk of
Bulk-generator plants. This allows the possibility for Micro-generator
plants (Typically 1MW), Dwelling-based generators (Typically 1 watt),
nano generators etc.
power plants” and “gas power plants” to “coal- fired
Bulk-generators” and “gas-fired Bulk-generators” (of electrical
products). This use also acts to remind us that our use of these
products involves combustion i.e. alters atmospheric balances.
bills” to “Bulk-gen bills” as this more truly reflects the nature
of the products being billed.
power” to “peak demand” of products.
Electricity does not exist. Electrical phenomena do exist. Thus the
statement “electricity cannot be stored” lacks science.
It is true that electrical currents -the subject of this document- cannot be stored. However it is probable other electrical phenomena can be stored, for instance, electrostatics.
The Carbon Trading Ethos
following statement is notable for its lack of science:
this carbon-pricing scheme (ETS) into the electricity sector means the
cost of generating electricity from fossil fuels will go up relative to
the cost of generating electricity from renewable sources.”
Analysis of the
Carbon Trading ethos indicates it is the perfect manifestation of the
psychopathy that resides in all human beings. It is fundamentally bereft
of stewardship and works to destroy stewardship. The overwhelming
evidence is that this ethos puts civilisation at very high risk.
carbon trading has existed for millennia now, albeit on a relatively
small scale until last century. We see historically, for instance, that
the trading of mineral oil/gas is subject to violent swings in price of
up to 500% in a year, the resource is vastly undervalued, its use is
very destructive of the thermodynamic balances that sustain us, the
trades benefit a small elite of human beings and if current abuses of
the resource continues then a catastrophic collapse of humankind is
carbon trades, such as biomass for food, display similar failures.
Ceding stewardship to nebulous social constructs such as “The
Market” has enabled vast subsidies to be given to meat producers and
equally vast pollution and soil despoliation.
No mention is
made of the recent secretive Meridian-Comalco deal, which could well
result in NZ households receiving very unfair price signals. Proponents
of Carbon Trading argue that is founded in ideals of transparency. All
the evidence points otherwise.
The lack of
transparency with such corporation deals indicates the authors of this
report are inflicted with a remarkable and most unhelpful naivety.
The majority of
the evidence suggests that the Electricity Industry Reforms are designed
primarily to transfer wealth from communities to such corporations. The
evidence suggests that the design is very effective, as graphs of recent
pricing trends reveal. These trends plus the Comalco deal indicate it
could well be that households will end up paying a disproportionate
amount of any pollution tax. Worse, if Carbon Trading becomes the norm
then households will provide excessive subsidies to the carbon
traders/speculators through their Bulk-gen bills.
statement also lacks science because viable options such as Carbon Taxes
and Stewardship Education (Civics) are omitted.
of Electrical Technologies
from the preface may seem trite and of little consequence. However
according to the Sustainability Principle of Energy deeper exploration
should indicate they reflect deep flaws in the document.
I have already
noted the general destruction of science and the prevalence of Banker
Speak. Effectively this sets the framework of the discussion, thereby
excluding a wide range of very valuable potentials.
For instance, the
unsustainable uses of the “electricity” symbol document preclude
meaningful discussion of our electrical potential and the confluence of
technologies (see No 2 framework).
This is a
particular tragedy for New Zealand as this lack of profound discussion
has cost the New Zealand people hundreds of billions of dollars of real
wealth this last two decades. This loss is manifest in the exponential
growth of household debt, the loss of freehold assets of communities
such as local grid and intelligence structures, the loss of
superannuation, education and health rights and general
socio-environmental failure. National assets such at Telecom, Transpower
and NZ Rail and its optic fibre network were severely undervalued and
sold off at criminally low prices.
This report comes out at the same time as the Government is stalled stupid in its review of our decrepit broadband structure. Broadband is part of our electrical potential. To use an old expression, “even the bloody drover’s dog” can see that by far the cheapest and most sustainable option is to allow communities to expand their local 230-volt grid systems to incorporate broadband technology, whether it is down existing wires or by the addition of optic fibre. Thus comprehensive discussion of metering cannot occur in a framework that excludes the confluence of broadband with other electrical systems.
and intelligent uses
report’s use of the “electricity” symbol also limits discussion of
the role of democracy and the sustainable use of metering.
The prevalence of
democracy is critical if we are to be able to make intelligent uses of
our electrical potential. The report fails to identify such democratic
models. These exist and the PCE need have looked no further than 20th
Century New Zealand. The MEDs/Trust Boards that existed pre the
Electricity Industry Reforms are the ideal structures to provide the
open platforms and conduits required if we are to enjoy the benefits of
a truly wide range of knowledge and retain our civic right to own
report’s narrow vision fails us dismally, as have all similar reports
this last generation. Get hold of the Treasury briefing papers promoting
the sale of Telecom in 1990. From memory they did not contain a single
reference to the confluence of technologies and its extraordinary
capacity to generate real wealth for NZ communities in the Post Cheap
Oil/Gas Era. I know for a fact that in the late 1980s people working in
the Telecommunications, Rail and Bulk-gen electrical products sector
foresaw this wealth potential very clearly, even if we did underestimate
the power of the Internet to amplify the impacts and potential benefits
of the confluence.
analysis evidenced deep psychosis in that its suffered from the delusion
that mineral oil is energy and is thus as bounteous as the universe.
As mentioned in
my preface New Zealand is a small intimate nation. Critical comment can
easily be misinterpreted as personal attacks. I am hoping my commentary
can be seen to transcend egos.
of NZ Electricity Commission
The PCE report
notes the Electricity Commission’s “light handed” approach to
regulation and its use of “voluntary” guidelines.
Perhaps this is euphemism for the fact that the Electricity
Industry Reform legislation enforces a brutal and unsustainable regime
on the New Zealand people while letting a few powerful private
corporations dictate almost all the rules governing our use of our
It is a fact that the Finance Minister who masterminded the sale of Telecom, who headed the 2000 Parliamentary Inquiry into the Electricity Industry and who is now the head of the Electricity Commission is the same man. David Caygill has enjoyed all these very powerful positions determining how we use a wide range of our electrical potential but he seems quite unable to envision the great confluence of technology. He reflects the lack of vision of all our key policy makers. The PCE report does not make even an oblique reference to this phenomenon as a barrier to the ability of communities to enjoy their fuller electrical potential.
Smart versus intelligent/democratic grids
flaw in the document is its inability to explore the role of democracy
in developing our fuller potential.
The report makes
inconsistent use of the “smart” symbol. The title and preface talks
of smart meters while elsewhere the report talks of “smart” meters.
This is of symbolic significance because the document is often careful
to use speech marks to signify the symbol use is questionable or
reflective of a small sector’s interests.
This indicates the authors fail to fully comprehend that technology is as only as sustaining as its user. Some of our smartest devices (drones, bombs, etc) are also our most lethal
This flaw means
the document fails to address the potential of sophisticated technology
to be used in intelligent ways. I note the PCE makes reference to
“dumb” meters in the preface.
Several years ago
when I first advanced on the Sustainable Energy Forum and on my website
the notion that the proposed new “high- tech” metering systems were
essentially “dumb” I was careful to provide a context. I defined
meaningful conversation as that in which both or all parties were
capable of equally contributing intelligent dialogue. Democracy was a
pre-requisite for intelligent discussion to occur.
As I have
consistently pointed out, since the Electricity Industry Reform
legislation was implemented in 1998 there is no way New Zealand can
enjoy the benefits of intelligent metering systems now. Indeed the old
19th Century meters and the ripple control systems of the
1950s were far more intelligent that any technology that is installed
The PCE report is
unable to discuss this phenomenon in a helpful way, for reasons that are
probably revealed in its use of the “market” symbol.
In the preface we
… the rollout of smart meters is being undertaken by the market…The
competitive challenges of our electricity market go beyond the
Elsewhere we read
“ The New Zealand roll-out is unusual in that it is being driven solely by market participants…a purely market-led rollout means there are no requirements to include the functionality that could deliver environmental or consumer benefits….”
Nowhere does the
PCE document define what this “market” is or place it in an
historical context. Thus the reader is given no inkling that until the
Electricity Reforms the NZ Market for Bulk-gen electrical products was a
relatively democratic arrangement. Every citizen with voting rights
could vote how their local community participated in this market. Thus
some 60 democratically elected community trusts representing every
region of New Zealand participated in this market as well as a few large
private corporations. The Electricity Reforms disenfranchised 99.99% of
New Zealanders. Now participation of the reformed market is restricted
to a dozen large corporations. Not one New Zealand community has
intelligent participation in our national Electrical Market this
The situation is far worse than that though. Whereas prior to the Electricity Industry Reforms every community in New Zealand owned both their local electrical grid and its intelligence now not one single community owns this vital intelligence anymore. It is illegal for any community to do so in New Zealand!
this is critical to any discussion of intelligent uses of our electrical
potential and yet this document is seemingly oblivious to this situation
and its implications. It
fails to spell out that NZ citizens have no participatory rights now and
are simply tradeable commodities, evidenced by the fact that already
this century the corporations have traded perhaps a million NZers
I made the link
between democracy and intelligence before. If this report makes the link
it is not obvious to me. I did hear the PCE state on National Radio that
“the smart meters provide the power companies with very rich data”.
I did not hear her say that individual households can no longer
own that data since the Electricity Industry Reforms - it is now the
exclusive property of these corporations. They can basically use it as
Meridian Energy, a pioneer with “smart meters” and asked if I could
use the technology to broadcast the information about my dwelling to
agencies of my choice eg my local council, hospital, consumer protection
agency etc. I was told this would not be possible. Indeed the Meridian
spokesperson seemed incredulous that I should even think to ask if I had
The PCE report states that no corporation is installing display modules in homes as part of the “smart” metering rollout. This is a further denial of my right to own my household’s data. However even if we are provisioned with display modules we are still in the invidious position of having no democratic say in how the Bulk-gen retailers use the data about our lives. Already we know corporations like Contact Energy are working closely with data mining companies such as Flybuys.
From PCE Report "Smart
Electricity Meters" June 2009
If we New
Zealanders are to make truly intelligent uses of our electrical
potential then home area networks (HAN) will connect our household
appliances, as illustrated in the report. This was always the dream of
many of us who worked in the Bulk-gen electrical industry. We saw HANS
as enhancing our community wealth and conserving national resources. HAN
is now something we fear will happen since the Electricity Reform
legislation because households no longer have any democratic right or
say in how the information is used. We face the nightmare situation in
which such HAN give the small group of bankers that now control the
Bulk-gen electrical industry even greater power and control of our
nation. This combined with the wide-scale implementation of Carbon
Trading will enable them to extract wealth from communities on an
The PCE report
fails to make it clear that the Electricity Industry Reforms were
primarily about giving these bankers complete control of community
intelligence. Control of the manufacture and retail of Bulk generated
electrical products was a relative minor objective. And as mentioned,
the Reforms have been remarkably successful in achieving this prime
objective. I shall elaborate on this statement later.
The report states
“This also raises a question,
not addressed in this report, about who should control the load –
householders, retailers or lines companies. The Electricity Commission
is currently investigating issues surrounding the property rights
associated with load management.”
It states in 7.2
the provision of telecommunications in New Zealand changed from a
monopoly to competition, it took years before people were able to take
their phone numbers with them when they switched providers. Number
portability was a barrier to consumers. In a similar vein, if
proprietary protocols are use in smart meters, consumers could face
significant barriers switching electricity retailers.”
when read together are revealing for a number of reasons. On the
positive side the PCE is to be commended for highlighting the immense
costs to communities of the corporations tailoring the technology to
maximise their short-term profits. In doing this they are only doing
what they are mandated to do. However this mandate is very dangerous
when these few corporations are given monopoly control over such
extensive and intimate information about New Zealanders.
statements, and others, reveal a fundamental hostility to democracy and
communities. For instance it is more true to say that when the provision
of telecommunications changed from a publicly owned monopoly to a
privately owned monopoly this had a relatively disastrous impact on
internet usage, the adoption of broadband, social inequity and the
democratic flow of information.
The report states
The Electricity Commission is currently investigating the question of
who should control the load – householders, retailers or lines
companies. The report omits to say that the Minister of Finance
responsible for the gifting of phone numbers to private corporations was
David Caygill. He clearly did not believe in the damaging effects of
proprietary protocols on our infrastructure in 1990 and, judging from
his major decision to reinforce the Electricity Industry Reform
legislation in 2000 there is little evidence that he does now. This
latter decision was despite the new Labour Administration being elected
on a platform of revoking the 1998 Reform legislation and of purchasing
back the newly sold Contact Energy. His decisions have been supported by
a succession of Cabinet Ministers for over two decades, both National
The question of who should control the load is entirely one of the Commissions own making and the PCE should have been able to point this out. The Commission cannot solve it. It would have been helpful if the PCE had pointed out that when communities were permitted to own their local grids and its intelligence this issue did not exist. The households of New Zealand decided how their local loads were managed and every adult had the legal right to have a direct say through their local cooperative structure. I recall as a citizen of Christchurch we were given the option of reduced hotwater heating at peak times or paying an extra million dollars for half an hours peak supply. Personally I voted for the slight inconvenience, knowing that the million dollars saved could be used to buy a lot of hot water cylinder insulation in the city.
NZ Citizens are Commodities
use of the “retailer” symbol reveals hostility to communities and a
lack of awareness of the scale of disenfranchisement that has occurred.
Before the Reforms, as mentioned, individuals had democratic rights as
to how their local community used the intelligence of their
community’s electrical grids. The intelligence was valued as an
important civic asset, which councils and trust boards used to enhance
the health and wealth of their communities.
The Reforms did
this intelligence and gave it private corporations– hence it is now
symbolised as “retail”.
commodified New Zealand citizens so we are now tradeable commodities
between the “retailers” now.
systematically erased notions that the intelligence is an important
process is instructive of the psychopathy involved.
Most of NZ’s metering was literally given to corporations, such
as TransAlta. Previously our communities owned it freehold. At least of
million of the meters of the 1.7 million or so were over twenty years
old and had been written off as a book asset. The ripple controls in
dwellings were given to the corporations for nothing simply because to
quote a Government official, “ we did not think too much about them
– they were on the switchboards with the meters and so we just figured
the power companies should have them.” This undervaluation and
destruction of the ripple system, which this report alludes to, has cost
Now having been
literally gifted the metering by the economics of the Reforms the
corporations then turned around 180 degrees and said the meters were
worth huge amounts of money (they were originally purchased by the
communities for between $30 and $70) and thus the corporations justified
a continual rental of $50 a year ever since for each meter. That is a
rort of probably upwards of a billion dollars now, particularly if we
include the costs of failing and inaccurate meter registers. These costs
can simply be shunted on to the “dumb” New Zealand citizen, who is
powerless now to do anything about them.
We then saw
trades of New Zealander citizens in which up to $700 was paid per
customer. Corporations and Government officials argued to me that this
was because the trade include the meters, which were very expensive.
This is a double lie. The
traditional meters are very cheap technology and many are 40-50 years
old then. The real trade was the human commodities and the marketing
intelligence they represent.
The PCE report’s use of the “retailer” symbol and its failure to use the “intelligence” symbol reveals a fundamental acceptance of this commodification of New Zealand citizens.
Endemic nature of loss of community intelligence
I should point
out this problem is becoming endemic. The Wellington City Council also
transferred control of its transport network to private corporations
that are nominally transport operators. The truer reality is they are
really property speculators. StageCoach, for instance bought up bus
systems, sold off the extremely valuable downtown bus depots, built
flimsy replacements out in the country and then skipped. Infratil now
shows similar colours.
Infratil also can
make considerable profits from data speculation. It recently installed
an electronic card system on Wellington buses, providing heavy penalties
for those who refuse to use it. They receive large flows of community
funds through the Greater Wellington Regional Council and when I asked
the Council who owns all the data of people’s movements they said
Infratil does. The Council has no access to it – it is the proprietary
right of Infratil. Individual citizens have no rights or say with
regards to whom Infratil trades the data with.
Also as Infratil
owns the proprietary protocols the Council is now effectively powerless
to institute an open-access, community-based system electronic card
system in the region. In other words our councils are literally dumb and
powerless and their only function is to provide ratepayers money to
The officials I
spoke to informed me they had never thought to ask these questions.
Similarly the new
“smart” meter systems increasingly mean our Parliamentarians become
more and more powerless. If these systems are integrated into Carbon
Trading structure, as suggested in the report, we will be effectively a
Fascist state. We will have no capacity to use either our electrical or
our carbon potentials in intelligent ways. The corporation’s control
of the metering systems effectively means they can control both the
design and use of dwellings. Thus they can control how we use our solar
potential on scale also. And as mentioned if the Government extends
Telecom’s monopoly over us a state of Fascism is almost ensured.
The PCE is to be
commended for bringing this ill-conceived rollout of “smart” meters
to the public’s attention. In many ways it was a brave act for a
bureaucrat, given the political context of New Zealand this last two
decades. It is understandable, even if it is very unhelpful to humanity,
that the report uses a framework that works to defeat a visionary
discussion of the issues.
deserves much deeper scrutiny. I will restrict myself to a few more
The report shows
graphs of “historical and forecast total electricity use” and
“electricity use by sector 2006”. These are interesting but do not
provide sufficient context. It would have been extremely helpful to
publish very instructive graphs of price movements since the Reforms.
These graphs reveal an immense wealth transfer from communities to
corporations with household charges for Bulk-gen electrical products
rising steeply while those to large corporations have flat-lined.
3 “Householders could be using
their electricity much more efficiently, reducing both total energy
consumption and peak power. The Electricity Commission recently
commissioned an extensive report to investigate the potential for
improving electricity efficiency in New Zealand…”
This statement is
profoundly destructive of science and a classic example of psychopathic
sustain a continuous attack on the notion that “energy efficiency”
involves the intelligent uses of resources and these uses are associated
with an increase in wealth. Their fundamental objectives are to sustain
addictive uses of the commodities they control, in particular Bulk-gen
electrical products and fossil fuels. They, Government Agencies (EECA,
The EC, the PCE, MfE, Consumer NZ et al) and our media now equate the
“energy” symbol with these commodities.
They actively use
the potency of this symbol to manipulate the behaviour of the NZ
population. When demand for their Bulk-gen electrical products is so
great that it impacts on their profits they declare “energy crises”
and get people to turn off appliances in the name of “energy
efficiency”. Thus people learn to equate the “energy efficiency”
symbol with undesirable behaviour. “Energy efficiency” is now
commonly associated with deprivation. These influential groups actively
deny the reality that energy efficiency can involve the use of increased
amounts of energy while sustaining resources. The Bankers know this use
of the “energy efficiency” symbol liberates and gives communities
greater options and would lessen community dependence on wasteful uses
of their products.
Commission statement is the embodiment of the psychopathic nature of the banker
oligarchy. It confuses energy with the forms it can take and it makes
non-science of the “power” symbol. Also humans cannot consume
energy. It is not a commodity. It cannot be created or destroyed though
it is continually transformed. Humans can however consume resources.
“Providing households with information
lack of good information has been widely identified as one reason that
householders do not use electricity as efficiently as they could. This
is because they cannot make a direct link between the electricity they
use and how much it costs them.”
Perhaps if the
authors of this report had seen the movie, “Enron, the Smartest Guys
in the Room” they could begin to understand that New Zealand is now
the world model of Enronian systems. The above statement is true. It is
also meaningless without context. I have already outlined how the report
fails to communicate the fact that community intelligence of our
electrical potential is legally impossible in New Zealand now.
It also fails to
communicate the fact that the Reform legislation is specifically
designed to enable corporations to stress grids systems to the maximum
so they optimalise their investments in thermal plant. The Reforms
enable them to better ensure price signals obscure the links between
uses of their products and the social/environmental costs.
It made great
sense for communities to use their intelligence to implement efficient
ripple control systems and a range of signals to reduce peak demand. Now
under the Reforms it make great sense for private corporations Contact
Positive Energy to charge extra for installing ripple systems because
they threaten their bottom line. They make their best money when the
national grid is stressed and require polluting plant. Watch their share
price drop as demand for the electrical products of their thermal plant
Enronian system provides prices signals that are bound to fail us as a
becomes doubly meaningless when put in the context of the Carbon Trading
ethos espoused by the PCE. Enron created carbon Trading and we only have
to look at the price signals provided by the mineral oil trades.
Motorists and jet travellers are given massive subsidies.
Motorists receive, for instance at last a $5 susbsidy for every $1 they
spend at the pump. The mineral oil trade market vastly undervalues the
resource and the prices it sets completely fail to reflect the negative
impacts on the environmental balances that sustain humanity. This is
despite the fact that a very clear physical “cap” exists on the
This flawed faith
in “the market” significantly reduces the capacity of the PCE’s
report to discuss price signals in sustaining ways. Its psychopathic use
of the “market” symbol and general failure to acknowledge the power
of individual stewardship are unhelpful too.
are NOT Corporations
potential of micro generation
..If all smart meters deployed are capable of import and export metering, the cost of installing a specific export meter could be avoided. It may be unnecessarily expensive, however to install this functionality in all 1.6 million households, as only a proportion of them might engage in micro generation and this functionality can be retrofitted
Electricity Commissions voluntary guidelines state that, as a minimum
requirement, Advanced Meter Infrastructure (AMI) systems should (among
ability to meter both import and export power on sites where this is
formally contracted between the energy retailer and their
The symbol use in the EC statement reveals the
Commission is utterly beholden to the banker oligarchy. Their corporate
ethos dominates its intellectual/spiritual state.
The focus of discussion of this PCE report is
almost entirely concerned with households. It has not looked at the
larger issues of the pricing and measurement of the costs and benefits
of the use of our electrical potential by corporations like Comalco.
Less still has it looked at how New Zealanders can be stewards of
minerals like aluminium. At the same time while it omits consideration
of the corporations it thinks of households as corporations.
Take this statement:
number of policy issues surround the kinds to tariffs needed to reward
Microgeneration is generally equated
with 1 Megawatt generating plant and the report seems to suggest
households will have such large-scale devices and thus lines losses etc
will be a significant issue.
The fact is that households are
unlikely in the medium term to export many products to their local
electrical grids and cannot be considered corporations or even small
businesses. 87% of NZ households are urban based and are unlikely to
have megawatt wind turbines, as farms might.
Households are unlikely to export more
than a few kilowatts a day for many years. This said, their capacity to
do so has massive implications for developing resilient and dynamic
grids. If we understand the relatively tiny household wattage is a civic
right and not a taxable commodity then a very different discussion
emerges to what we find in the PCE document. For instance the
appropriate and very cheap metering technology has been in existence for
130 years: the simplest meter is a reversible meter.
The banning of the use of this simple
device for co-generation in New Zealand forms a major obstacle to the
development of Dwelling-based generation of electrical products that is
not experienced in other countries without GST. Take the example of New
Zealand house which import 9 units and exports 8 units daily. This generates GST on one unit using a reversible meter.
However it generates 17 times as much tax when both import and export
meters are used. Negotiators of this sad deal say households could
register for GST. This reveals how out of touch with reality they are.
The PCE document does mention some of
the obstacles created for households by having to provision
dual-metering systems but in general it fails to list all the obstacles
to Dwelling-based generation in New Zealand. And one of those obstacles
is to apply corporation scale policy issues to households, the focus of
this document, as the PCE does. As with all the Electricity Industry
Reform legislation, such discussion evidences a major devaluing of both
humans and Civil Protection (Defence) considerations.
“Different ways to inform households
bills provide few details on energy consumption..”
This statement is complete non-science. Either the report equates energy with Bulk-gen electrical products or it is talking about every and all the conceivable bills humans are capable of receiving. And as mentioned, the idea of energy consumption is a complete denial of the Conservation Principle of Energy.
HAN + NZ Electricity Industry Reform = Danger
“ Options might
be…dynamic demand controllers, which respond to frequency changes in
the grid by switching appliances on or off. They can be retrofitted
cheaply to appliances and require no centralised control.”
This is a real
option and Contact Energy’s statement this week (Radio NZ National)
that they were not installing HAN capable “smart” meters because
there are no “smart” appliances reveals their moral bankruptcy. If
the Electricity Industry Reform legislation had not been inflicted on
New Zealand then psychopathic institutions like Contact Positive Energy
would not have existed and HAN systems would now be flourishing. It was
well within the capacity of NZ community intelligence to create the
dynamic demand controllers that the report speaks of.
In the late 1970s
the small community owned Heathcote Power Board (a cooperative of 5000
dwellings) created a simple switch that enabled households to switch all
their appliances to cheaper night rates (11pm-7am). In the early 1990s
the small Palmerston North cooperative (18000 dwellings) was installing
systems that enabled neighbourhoods to monitor each other’s burglar
alarm systems via the local 230-volt grid. In the early 1990s the small
Wellington MED installed New Zealand designed data loggers on 250 of its
biggest customers with the data being retrieved for about $1 once a
month. The first actions of the transnational corporation TransAlta
(controller of 540,000 NZ dwellings) were to dismantle such systems
because they gave too much information to their customers. This they
were mandated to do by the 1993 Electricity Industry Reforms and so they
cannot be blamed.
All this real
innovation stopped with and because of the Reform legislation. This
report in general fails to identify and address the fundamentally
unsustainable nature of the legislation. It does make allusions to it
but these are not reflected in an effective way in the PCE’s
conclusions and recommendations. There is much useful discussion in the
document. However its framework works against the purpose of the report
as outlined in 1.1.
I hope the reader can see now why it destroys science on scale. I also hope you can see why it is a very dangerous report. It promotes the use of smart metering interacting with appliances through a home area network (HAN) while it fails to make strong recommendations that the current disenfranchisement and loss ownership of community intelligence must be reversed if HAN are not to leave us very vulnerable to psychopathic corporations and Fascism.
Cars = Chaos
the longer term, the innovation that could come from really smart
meters- in conjunction with a smart grid, is exciting. Imagine using the
batteries in a fleet of electric vehicles as storage for our electricity
economic systems are imploding and suddenly additional hundreds of
millions of human beings face severe malnourishment daily now as we exit
the Cheap Mineral Oil/Gas Age. Also many millions are people are being
slaughtered in the wars for access to the minerals required for battery
systems in our cell phones etc. The report seems to be equating electric
vehicles with cars. Electric cars are their systems and this includes
the vast use of resources to construct cars, motorways, storage and
other elements of support structure. Is the PCE asking us to imagine the
planet with 3 billion electric vehicles on it? Where will the vast
quantities of minerals required come from? Are we being asked to imagine
a nightmare? Is the statement a manifestation of car addiction?
Cannot we imagine more sustaining uses of all these precious resources? For instance it is probably better to invest them in mass transit and quality broadband systems and in dwelling based generation systems.
The Power of the Dwelling Switchboard
I hope this
commentary is of assistance to New Zealand. I reiterate, the PCE is to
be congratulated on generating dialogue on a subject that our media have
long refused to engage with. I know this is true because I have tried to
engage our media for well over a decade now.
The switchboard of our dwellings is a switchboard in ways most
New Zealanders never imagine. It can mean the difference between a
country switching between democracy and Fascism. It can mean the
difference between our nation switching the forests of our hills and
valleys to industrial lakes and massive machines. It can mean the
difference whether we switch from a polluted atmosphere to a sustaining
one. It can mean the difference between peace and war. It is possible
our switchboard affects our lives more than our vote in the ballot box
The serious flaws
in this PCE document reflect the wide malaise of our culture. The
previous PCE, Dr Morgan Williams, was also unable to frame the issues in
sustainable ways. Indeed he actively promoted education resources into
our nation’s schools that were pure Bulk-gen Banker Speak and hostile
to Dwelling-based generation of resources, destroyed science on scale
and worked obscure the role of the atmosphere in our lives. These worked
directly against his nascent awareness of the sustainability of dwelling
based generation of resources.
are bankrupt of stewardship and evidence considerable psychopathy now.
It is worth noting that major architects of the NZ Electricity Reforms
included our universities, Arthur Andersen and Co (major architect of
Enron also) and the Harvard Electricity Policy Group. The latter, along
with Larry Summers, also masterminded the Electricity Industry Reforms
of ex-Soviet Union countries. These reforms transferred trillions of
dollars of wealth to the small banker oligarchy with devastating
effects on the people.
“Russia, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia were worst affected, with a tripling of unemployment and a 42% increase in male death rates between 1991 and 1994…
Pathway back to Democratic/Intelligent Electrical Grids
I will conclude
with the prime recommendation I believe the Commissioner should have
made. It is one that was refused point blank by Helen Clark and her
Administration. It reads:
The Electricity Reform legislation be amended to
permit democratic communities to once again own local wiring grid and to
trade electricity of all forms on them, including that generated from
Bulk, Micro, dwelling and other means. While they may buy Bulk-generated
electricity on the NZ Electricity market they are not permitted to own
Bulk-generation plant (To be defined). They also will be permitted again
to use community profits from these activities to promote local
dwellings as generators using glass, insulation, solar water heating and
other technologies. Democratic communities will also have the right to
use Maria compliant metering of their choice, including reversible
meters, and the right to broadcast dwelling information using broadband
or radio based metering to all agencies that are approved using the
democratic processes of the community e.g. broadcast to community based
trading, research and consumer protection groups.
A prerequisite for the right to own a local
wiring grid and to trade electricity over it is that all members of the
community with rights to vote in national, regional or hospital board
elections shall have the same right to vote in how local wiring and
electrical trades are administered.
is provided for free and is created in a spirit of love/stewardship. It
was written with a blinding head cold in my “spare” time over one
weekend, the work being sustained by my income as a school janitor. It
contains information that a consulting fee of a million dollars cannot
buy and that cannot be found in our universities. One of my hopes is
that as New Zealand continues to fail to make the great transition
beyond the Cheap Mineral Oil/Gas era our officials will begin to look
for insights beyond the small group of highly paid consultants who hog
policy formation at present. Perhaps my greatest hope is that we will
all embrace our roles as stewards.
Response from Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment
Sent: Wednesday, July 01, 2009 3:15 PM
Subject: Smart Meters Report
Dear Mr McArthur,
I am writing on behalf of Dr Jan Wright regarding your email received today. Thank you for your support and for writing to us and sharing your extensive research.
Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment
Supplementary note to PCE re Carbon Trading
Note: The Commissioner gave a very powerful endorsement of Carbon Trading in 2008 and supported the imposition of the NZ Emissions Trading Scheme legislation. This report on "smart" meter amplifies that endorsement in most powerful ways.
The Office of the
Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment
Dear Dr Wright,
Recently I posted
you my quick reflections on the “smart” metering publication. Again
I thank you for acknowledgement of receipt.
included comments on the dangers of the Carbon Trading ethos. I pointed
to its Enronian origins and its fatally flawed psychology. These
comments may have seemed extreme and unsubstantiated. I trust the PCE
Office has had time to study the Sustainability Principle of Energy and
can glimpse the high state of science underpinning it.
Here are links to
articles since published that support the thesis that Carbon Trading is
an extremely high-risk activity.
This week Rolling
Stone featured an
article on Carbon Trading that I have much reason to believe is
accurate and prophetic.
Matt also has a
video intro at the Rolling Stone link.
Great American Bubble Machine
Matt Taibbi on
how Goldman Sachs has engineered every major market manipulation since
the Great Depression
MATT TAIBBIPosted Jul 02, 2009 8:38 AM
Rolling Stone Issue 1082-83, Matt Taibbi takes on "the Wall Street
Bubble Mafia" — investment bank Goldman Sachs. The piece has
generated controversy, with Goldman Sachs firing back that Taibbi's
piece is "an hysterical compilation of conspiracy theories"
and a spokesman adding, "We reject the assertion that we are
inflators of bubbles and profiteers in busts, and we are painfully
conscious of the importance in being a force for good." Taibbi shot
back: "Goldman has its alumni pushing its views from the pulpit of
the U.S. Treasury, the NYSE, the World Bank, and numerous other
important posts; it also has former players fronting major TV shows.
They have the ear of the president if they want it." Here, now, are
excerpts from Matt Taibbi's piece and video of Taibbi exploring the key
#6 – GLOBAL WARMING
ENVISIONED BY GOLDMAN, THE FIGHT TO STOP GLOBAL WARMING WILL BECOME A
“CARBON MARKET” WORTH $1 TRILLION A YEAR….
Here is the link
to an article about James Lovelock’s new book. I am not sure how much
historic and psychological evidence he produces to back his conclusions
about Carbon Trading
Dark Side of Climate Change: It's Already Too Late, Cap and
Trade Is a Scam, and Only the Few Will Survive
is another, fourth voice in the debate over cap-and-trade, one ringing
out from shadows rarely approached by the media. In these shadows dwell
scientists who believe the time has passed for any sort of legislation
at all, no matter how radical. The best known of these frightening
climate gnomes is the legendary British scientist James Lovelock, father
of Gaia Theory and inventor of the instrument allowing for the
atmospheric measurements of CFC's. In recent years, Lovelock has emerged
as the world’s leading climate pessimist, raining scorn on the new
fashionable environmentalism and arguing that the time is nigh to accept
that a massive culling of the human race is around the corner.
of the ‘green’ stuff is verging on a gigantic scam," Lovelock told
the New Scientist shortly before the release of his latest
Vanishing Face of Gaia. "Carbon trading, with its huge
government subsidies, is just what finance and industry wanted. It's not
going to do a damn thing about climate change, but it'll make a lot of
money for a lot of people and postpone the moment of reckoning.”…
Finally I will
paste below an excerpt from an alternative commentary on two recent
Wellington events that I posted on the Sustainable Energy Forum. Thus
the Commissioner can rest assured that my commentary is based on
analysis that is applied equally to all prominent communicators of our
solar, electrical and carbon potential.
In kindness and
enjoy the hope inherent in the Sustainability Principle of Energy.
Dave, I’m pleased to see that you must
have read the 60 page PCE report
Yes, I made a
special trip into Wellington to get a copy from the PCE office so I
could write a timely review. It took less than five minutes of
application the Sustainability Principle to the document’s key symbols
to find powerful indicators that the Report is fundamentally flawed. A
further 20 hours of closer study over the weekend confirmed these
initial indicators. I would have been much happier and very relieved if
the Report had addressed the fundamental issues and had proved
I took the
opportunity of the trip downtown to catch the esteemed Robert Watson at
Victoria University. Before attending his lecture I was intrigued to
know what his views on the Carbon Trading are compared to those of, say,
Jim Hansen. Top of the Google search under “Robert Watson carbon
trading “ was Carbon News NZ where I read:
scientist here to see NZ toes the line
The appearance at a public
seminar in New Zealand of a top British government scientist this week
underlines the importance that the British authorities are placing on
whipping New Zealand into line on emissions trading.
Professor Robert Watson, the
chief scientific adviser for Britain’s Department for Environment Food
and Rural Affairs and former head of the International Panel on Climate
Change, will speak in Wellington on Friday.
I applied the
Sustainability Principle to both this lecture and the Chris Laidlaw
interview on Sunday morning. It indicates Robert is in major denial of
change/stewardship. Victoria University toasted him as a great scientist
but my analysis suggests he actively destroys science on scale.
Fundamentally he takes quality data about climate processes and packages
it up to form a most effective advertisement for Carbon Trading and mass
There is great
irony to this. I have posted on SEF the fact that while humans have from
ancient times created very sophisticated and destructive systems of
denial of change/stewardship it was Enron that took this capacity and
refined it into the Carbon Trading structures we are now afflicted with.
Enron used Bill Clinton and Al Gore to ensure they were adopted at Kyoto
and concepts of stewardship were rejected.
Soon after he
lost his seat as chair of the IPCC I heard a story from a very reliable
source of what happened. I know for a fact that Bob pointed a very
direct finger at the US as the major polluter, especially when
calculated on a per capita basis nationwide because in 2000 I wrote his
statements into the revised Energy Action climate programme that
never was. It seems Ken (Kenny Boy) Lay of Enron rang up the new
president (Georgie Boy) and told him get rid of Bob because he was
“badmouthing the USA”. Georgie Boy complied and set diplomats to
work in “Third World” countries. They pretended great concern for
the welfare of these peoples, pointed out that they would be most
impacted by human-induced changes to climate balances and thus it was
only right that they have a voice at the top of the UNIPCC. They agreed,
Bob was ousted, and Dr Putchari was put in his place.
Now this may not
turn out to be a bad thing, who knows. The thing is Bob is now a leading
promoter of Carbon Trading and promotes it far more effectively into our
media and universities than Kenny Boy ever could, even if he were still
alive. My analysis suggests history will reveal that Bob would have
acted more wisely if he had not destroyed all those barrels of oil
racing around the world promoting psychopathic regimes. His lectures
rated very high on the psychopathy and psychosis scales. Great irony and
also grim irony.
I did have a
prepared question for Robert but questions closed one before mine. I was
going to quote the Carbon News item, say how some of us are concerned by
the Enronian nature and origins of Carbon Trading, say how our research
suggests it is a psychopathic construct and then quote Janet
Redman, co-director of the Sustainable
Energy and Economy Network at the Institute for Policy Studies:
“What's at Stake in
My question would
have been, “How can you assure us you are not just an agent for the
London Stock Exchange mafia?”
I guess the same
can be asked of the inaugural Government Mfe “consultancy” meeting
that I attended in Wellington last night. You have to register to attend
and the MFE page has a single large link on it. This directs people to
New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme
An emissions trading scheme
introduces a price on greenhouse gases to provide an incentive for
people to reduce emissions and enhance forest sinks. Emissions trading
provides flexibility in how participants comply with their obligations,
enabling a least-cost response. Changes to the scheme are being
considered as part of the Select Committee Review and discussions with
Australia on harmonisation with their similar Carbon Pollution
This provided me
fair warning. I thus allowed the possibility that this is no
“Government listening exercise” but rather the probability that the
MFE is being used as a conduit for a very sophisticated campaign to
impose the Carbon Trader’s regime on New Zealand.
presentation at the meeting ticked every box indicating denial of
change/stewardship. It deserves awards for excellence in advertising
practice and I concluded it is the most finely crafted piece of work
since the Contact Positive Energy “Energy solutions” campaign. It is
a superbly effective piece of PR work, as evidenced by the response of
audience (they cannot be described as participators in this context)
consisted of a wide cross-section of ages of what one speaker called
“middle class liberal Wellington people”. A large proportion
signalled they believed in the target of “40% reduction by 2020”.
Members of the audience were allowed three minutes maximum to
speak to a beaming Nick Smith, MFAT and the other Government officials
present recording contributions. Thus I heard scores of people speak
before I had to go to catch a bus home. I left with the line closed at
about 8 speakers to go.
All the signs of
vast denial of change/stewardship were there for those willing to detect
introductory imaging of Earth’s atmosphere as a greenhouse;
comparison of NZ’s total pollution compared to that of China and
Gobbledygook such as “renewable energy” and “stationary energy”
(‘scuse me if I stop to laugh at the absurdity of such a notion);
promotion of car systems albeit electric car systems and biofuels;
“horrendous” (Quote Nick Smith) cost impacts of harvesting our
forests in the next decade;
need to conserve our Clean Green Image;
need to harmonize our carbon trading regime with that of other countries
the Government’s opinion that a Cap and Trade Emission’s system is
the efficient way to go”. Hon Nick Smith
included MPs, top policy makers and NGO executives. I did not note a
single one speaker from the audience identify the real politics
underpinning the agenda of the evening.
It seemed pretty much total capture. Not one person said, “I
suggest the real reason for these meetings has nothing to do with
promoting stewardship and everything to do with destroying stewardship
in our communities. These meetings are about sustaining our current
addictive uses of our carbon potential and promoting the interests of
the bankers who profit from intensive carbon trades speculation.”
It is interesting
to observe that it was young people in the audience (30 and under) who
made the most sage comment. It was a young person who told Hon Nick
Smith that the word he wanted for is the word “responsibility”. It
was a young person who suggested we stop using cars. It was a young
person who said it made absolute sense to him that NZ set annual targets
of a few % reductions of our pollution rather than the current distant
targets decades away. (This is sustainable psychology and when we each
get to adjusting our targets in the moment then sanity can prevail
The only older
person who offered real insight was Barry Coates of Oxfam who spoke of
the inequitable impacts of human-induced climate change. However he
failed to articulate the probability that if Carbon Trading is
implemented universally then it will cause a massive and violent wealth
disparity. (See Janet Redman quote above plus 2008 “mineral oil
people, including SEF folk, spoke very eloquently. That they received
loud applause was symbolic, as their contributions failed to address the
real politick. Indeed they all tended to essentially endorse the Carbon
Trading ethos and in some cases, the related Electricity Industry Reform
and car ethos.
particularly younger people, pleaded with the Minister to be strong in
pushing for a commitment to a 40% reduction in pollution by 2020 and
promised to support him in every way they could. Sadly often this
promise was accompanying by signs that they still consider our car and
jet use acceptable. Their
actions at the pump and airline counter will undermine any capacity they
have to offer him real support.
I did not get to
speak, which might not be a bad thing. My writing may be difficult to
comprehend but my public speaking is far, far worse. It is possible that
other silent members of the audience feel the same as I do.
For instance, I
remarked to a stranger who departed at the same time as I did, that I
figured the evening was a giant Banker’s con to force Carbon Trading
on New Zealand. He agreed, saying it had nothing to do with stewardship
of the atmosphere. He had attended international conferences overseas on
the subject and “..it is entirely about money, money, money.” He
said the London stock exchange expects the carbon trades to quickly
become by far its greatest source of income.
If this is true
then it does not bode well. The London Stock Exchange makes massive
profits from speculative trades of commodities such as food, mineral
oil, armaments, the British Afghan opium operations and hosting very
corrupt agencies such as Russian Mafia, the London division of AIG etc.
Indeed the UK would collapse overnight if these trades were banned.
End supplementary note to PCE