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Letter to the Editor: Naperville Smart Grid Advocacy Not Really for the Customer

Reader takes issue with city and its process.

"APPROVAL", not "acceptance" was requested in the Memo to the Naperville City Council.  

"The City Council has advocated for utility customers' rights throughout the beginning stages of the smart grid implementation in Naperville," Community Relations Manager Nadja Lalvani said. "The forward-thinking Council created the NSGI Customer Bill of Rights, a document that promises our customers that their inherent rights to information, privacy, options and security will be protected to the fullest extent. This handbook builds on that important document and lets our customers understand the process behind how the City will protect their rights."  

Much has been intentionally omitted.  There is no real option to opt-out, no option to keep a NON-SMART meter.   A recent judgement in Maine has allowed citizens there to do just that.  Further, there is no advocacy for health problems from smart meters or the mesh network that the Smart Grid will blanket over our city.  Citizens have previously asked for health advocacy to be included in the Bill of Rights.  City Manager Doug Krieger says that health issues are inferred under the privacy portion.  How can health be inferred under privacy?  

Oh, and if you do have a "claim," it goes to the Public Utilities Advisory Board.  And they have had NO INVOLVEMENT in this project.  Nothing like throwing the trouble-makers over the fence for someone else to deal with.  

I'm still searching for an analogy to describe this chain of events.  Its like buying a car without finding out what the features are.  What is the MPG, the warranty, and does it seat 2 or 6?  You can ASSUME these things.  If you knew that a car had a low MPG, no warranty and only seated 2 people when you have a family of 6, would you still buy the car?    

The cart was put before the horse; The Customer Bill of Rights, the "high level" document, should have been "accepted" first, with the Handbook requiring an APPROVAL.  Because the MEAT of what's REALLY going to happen to your usage data and how it will be protected (or not -- its "shared" with "students and researchers" -- see page 6) is in that Handbook. 

Per the press release (below), the City is currently seeking public input and feedback on the handbook.  Now that its approved, what are the chances that changes will actually be made, "after the fact?"  Highly unlikely given that many requests to include or modify the Customer Bill of Rights were not considered worthy.  

The attached document has a picture on page 7, describing how data extracted from a Smart Meter can be analyzed.  The diagram is from the NIST, who is referenced in the Handbook as standards used by the City of Naperville for its Smart Grid.  

The full "accepted" Handbook is here:  http://www.naperville.il.us/emplibrary/Smart_Grid/NSGI-CPAHandbook.pdf 

Jennifer Stahl
Naperville, IL

City Council Champions Utility Customers' Privacy Rights with Acceptance of the Customer Privacy and Advocacy Handbook

Council Seeks Public Comment on this Document Focusing on Privacy Measures

The Naperville City Council reaffirmed its commitment to Naperville utility customers' privacy, security and right to choices through acceptance of the Naperville Smart Grid Initiative (NSGI) Customer Privacy and Advocacy Handbook. This document is now available to view on the City's website at www.naperville.il.us/smartgrid.aspx, and the City is currently seeking public input and feedback on the handbook.

Called "Protecting the Privacy of Naperville Electricity Customers: A Customer Privacy and Advocacy Handbook," the nine-page book lets utility customers understand additional privacy measures the City is taking to protect its customers' personal data with the NSGI implementation. The document also provides direction to customers on how to file any privacy violation complaints and petition the Public Utilities Advisory Board for a resolution. 

"The City Council has advocated for utility customers' rights throughout the beginning stages of the smart grid implementation in Naperville," Community Relations Manager Nadja Lalvani said. "The forward-thinking Council created the NSGI Customer Bill of Rights, a document that promises our customers that their inherent rights to information, privacy, options and security will be protected to the fullest extent. This handbook builds on that important document and lets our customers understand the process behind how the City will protect their rights."

The NSGI is an investment in Naperville's city-owned utility to modernize the electric grid using digital technology and includes a combination of utility infrastructure upgrades, operational efficiencies and new tools and programs designed to give customers more information, options, choices and control over energy use. The NSGI will offer numerous benefits for residents and businesses in Naperville, including greater service reliability, potential cost savings, a reduced carbon footprint, and more choices. 

The City encourages residents to visit the website, review the Customer Privacy and Advocacy Handbook and submit comments to smartgrid@naperville.il.us.  The document is available to view at www.naperville.il.us/smartgrid.aspx

To receive news about the Naperville Smart Grid Initiative delivered straight to your inbox, sign up for the Smart Grid eNewsletter at www.naperville.il.us/enews.aspx. For more information on the Naperville Smart Grid Initiative, visit www.naperville.il.us/smartgrid.aspx. For more information on the City of Naperville, visit www.naperville.il.us

Gil Jones January 29, 2013 at 05:34 AM
While everyone is lamenting the 'bill of rights' and 'procedure' the bigger picture still eludes Naperville. I'm talking about UN's Agenda 21. I see no mention of it in comments so I must assume the city of Naperville has been duped which is the only way communities across America would accept smart meters...Semper Fi

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