Disconnect outside dwelling terrible idea!

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kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
About 30 years ago, graduating high school seniors in our town gathered up every flamingo yard ornament in town and planted them all in the principal’s yard.
We had someone take up a realtor's for sale sign and place it in front of the school overnight one time.

That was mostly harmless fun at the time, today they'd probably prosecute for whatever they can come up with if they figure out who did it.:(

Which there is now cameras when back then there wasn't.
 

winnie

Senior Member
Location
Springfield, MA, USA
Occupation
Electric motor research
I'm more concerned about smart meter disconnect functionality than a physical switch in the side of the house.

I know from personal experience that the smart meters in my neighborhood transmit their consumption numbers in the clear. I used an off the shelf software defined radio receicer and freely available software to decode the messages myself.

I would not be surprised if the 'disconnect command' has very poor security.

Jon
 

retirede

Senior Member
Location
Illinois
I'm more concerned about smart meter disconnect functionality than a physical switch in the side of the house.

I know from personal experience that the smart meters in my neighborhood transmit their consumption numbers in the clear. I used an off the shelf software defined radio receicer and freely available software to decode the messages myself.

I would not be surprised if the 'disconnect command' has very poor security.

Jon

And in that case, the homeowner cannot simply walk out and turn it back on!
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
I'm more concerned about smart meter disconnect functionality than a physical switch in the side of the house.

I know from personal experience that the smart meters in my neighborhood transmit their consumption numbers in the clear. I used an off the shelf software defined radio receicer and freely available software to decode the messages myself.

I would not be surprised if the 'disconnect command' has very poor security.

Jon
Makes it poor method as far as a safety disconnecting means.

Security of information - is there much of anything worth concern here? Usage patterns and accumulated totals, but is that of much value to anyone other than the POCO and the customer, and on little lesser level someone just harvesting data for sales promotion reasons. Still other than if you have security holes that allow to identify the customer, which would more likely be in the business end of this and not in the monitoring end of it there should be no personal information that is subject to interception just some meter ID that gets assigned to the customer on the business end of the software.
 

gene6

Senior Member
Location
US
Occupation
Electrician
Makes it poor method as far as a safety disconnecting means.

Security of information - is there much of anything worth concern here? Usage patterns and accumulated totals, but is that of much value to anyone other than the POCO and the customer
Your kidding right? Smart meters create their own mesh networks and have well known vulnerabilities that are too expensive to fix . Combined with the new smart water meters its extremely easy to monitor a entire neighborhood of meters to detect your lifestyle patterns and deduce when your home /not home, when you cook when your in bed, and when your in the shower etc.
 

RumRunner

Senior Member
Location
SCV Ca, USA
Occupation
Retired EE
No idea about that, but most all meters in Illinois are smart meters per the Illinois Commerce Commission requirements, and the company with the most customers in the state is the one that does the remote disconnect.
Disconnecting power for most of California’s communities with their own local government is a serious issue. It doesn’t matter what government commission authorizes it.
Whoever authorizes it is setting himself/herself up for big trouble.
Someone who holds the key to shut off a customer’s power cannot willy nilly, nonchalantly shut the power off.

Here comes the vultures just waiting for anyone with a lawsuit.

If a customer is home bound, elderly or just plain incapacitated—and passed out or died because the machine that he/she depends on stopped working for lack of power--you better find yourself a good lawyer to save you.

Even this approach is not a godsend. Be prepared to get bankrupt because lawyers will haul you to the cleaners.
Electricians, mechanics and plumbers had been sued for negligence.
Non-payment of bills is not ground for such inconsiderate act. There are requirements before you can carry-out such an authoritarian act.

Power supplier has to practice due diligence to do this. One is notifying relatives that grandma is going to lose power.
What happens if the old lady’s relative is nowhere to be found? Then they go to plan “B”. Whatever the plan “B” is. . . it is not in POCO’s favor.
California;s Laws favor the customer . . . . not the business owners in most cases.

As an example—if you are a landlord you can not evict a tenant easily as telling him to pack up and hit the road.

You are required to pay his/her month’s rent towards his subsequent accommodation. OUCH!

Weird? Try California for a test run and find out for yourself.
 

gene6

Senior Member
Location
US
Occupation
Electrician
Disconnecting power for most of California’s communities with their own local government is a serious issue. It doesn’t matter what government commission authorizes it.
Whoever authorizes it is setting himself/herself up for big trouble.
Can you cite an example in law that states power companies have to keep the lights on? I was always told the law protects them the other way. Customers have a duty to protect themselves.
 

jim dungar

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Wisconsin
Occupation
Retired Electrical Engineer - Power Systems
Can you cite an example in law that states power companies have to keep the lights on? I was always told the law protects them the other way. Customers have a duty to protect themselves.
In northern states it is not uncommon to have laws prohibiting service disconnection during the heating season.
 
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Jraef

Moderator
Staff member
Location
San Francisco Bay Area, CA, USA
Occupation
Electrical Engineer
In order to notice the e-stop button, the kids would have to lift their eyes from their smart phone... 😁
New product idea based on this: put a phone sized touchscreen next to the main disconnect and a label that says “Power and Internet Disconnect Interface”, then program some screens that make it look like they can hack into the system to kill power, but don’t actually connect it to anything. The Millennials will get so absorbed into playing around with the screen trying to hack it that they will not notice the easier method of just moving the switch handle to Off. In the mean time once they start messing with the screen, it is activating the intrusion alarm silently.
 

don_resqcapt19

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Illinois
Occupation
retired electrician
Disconnecting power for most of California’s communities with their own local government is a serious issue. It doesn’t matter what government commission authorizes it.
Whoever authorizes it is setting himself/herself up for big trouble.
Someone who holds the key to shut off a customer’s power cannot willy nilly, nonchalantly shut the power off.

...
So you are telling me that in no case can the fire department take steps to shut off the power at a fire scene? The utility shut off is done at the request of the fire department to provide a safer scene much quicker that sending a trouble man to cut the service drop. They still send out the trouble man, but the power is of much sooner.
 

macmikeman

Senior Member
I have put in hundreds of outside meter/ main boxes. I don't even know the count, it's been 45 yrs of doing this , never ever once heard of anybody messing with a meter / main in order to break into a house. They just break into the house. Never heard of kids doing mischief this way either. You people are worrying about a non issue. That is a fact.
 

ActionDave

Chief Moderator
Staff member
Location
Durango, CO, 10 h 20 min without traffic from wing
Occupation
Licensed Electrician
I have put in hundreds of outside meter/ main boxes. I don't even know the count, it's been 45 yrs of doing this , never ever once heard of anybody messing with a meter / main in order to break into a house. They just break into the house. Never heard of kids doing mischief this way either. You people are worrying about a non issue. That is a fact.
100% agree. Outside disconnects have been the norm in my area since the 1970s.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Your kidding right? Smart meters create their own mesh networks and have well known vulnerabilities that are too expensive to fix . Combined with the new smart water meters its extremely easy to monitor a entire neighborhood of meters to detect your lifestyle patterns and deduce when your home /not home, when you cook when your in bed, and when your in the shower etc.
How is that information you mentioned any more personally invasive than many other data collection methods a person may not even realize is going on in other aspects of this data driven world we now have? Does POCO's provide this information along with your name and address to third parties or do they use it for their own load management reasons?

If someone does hack into the system, what do they gain that is of much value to them? If for malicious intent they likely looking for a possible back door to gain access to your personal information that is not really direct component of this part of this system but it does have to link to billing department at some point.

Yes there probably is security measures to try to keep others out of the system, but the primary content transmitted between your meter and wherever it gets collected probably not worth all that much compared to just trying to find a way into other parts of their systems.

Why does some cyber criminal care when I am cooking or in the shower? How can they be certain I am in the shower from just electric load data other than to study a lot of data and conclude that it is a high probability I might be? Is someone really going to determine when to physically break into a residence based on this data? Most those situations are much less organized crimes of opportunity, and if using communications is easy to just stalk a victim on social media and figure out their habits or even knowing exactly where they are at a given time based on things they post.
 

gene6

Senior Member
Location
US
Occupation
Electrician
Yes there probably is security measures to try to keep others out of the system,
Ye of faith.
Why does some cyber criminal care when I am cooking or in the shower?
Use your imagination. I doubt you have millions to loose.
just one scenario:
A hi value corporate target wont have their home alarm system active while in the shower and their cell phone will usually be locked but not physically protected.
Breaking and entering to obtain the sim card from a hi-value target would allow a 'sim swap' to crack two factor authentication of highly secure networks.
The phone could be replaced before the person is out of the shower.

Simpler options are perfect timing for just grabbing the keys to your van and taking off with your van.

How can they be certain I am in the shower from just electric load data other than to study a lot of data and conclude that it is a high probability I might be?
The smart water meter data is also transmitted in there. The utility can alert you when they think you have a leak.
Is someone really going to determine when to physically break into a residence based on this data?
One can establish a reliable pattern for when a valuable target is not at a particular physical address without having to physically observe. Like say a gated estate.
For example to serve a search warrant to a person whom is know to be armed and potentially unstable,
or for corporate espionage reasons.
These types of targets are not your typical 'post everything on social media' types.
Other possibilities are sending a kill signal to an entire block to spoof a power outage.
 

kwired

Electron manager
Location
NE Nebraska
Ye of faith.

Use your imagination. I doubt you have millions to loose.
just one scenario:
A hi value corporate target wont have their home alarm system active while in the shower and their cell phone will usually be locked but not physically protected.
Breaking and entering to obtain the sim card from a hi-value target would allow a 'sim swap' to crack two factor authentication of highly secure networks.
The phone could be replaced before the person is out of the shower.

Simpler options are perfect timing for just grabbing the keys to your van and taking off with your van.


The smart water meter data is also transmitted in there. The utility can alert you when they think you have a leak.

One can establish a reliable pattern for when a valuable target is not at a particular physical address without having to physically observe. Like say a gated estate.
For example to serve a search warrant to a person whom is know to be armed and potentially unstable,
or for corporate espionage reasons.
These types of targets are not your typical 'post everything on social media' types.
Other possibilities are sending a kill signal to an entire block to spoof a power outage.
I guess you can always not utilize metered services, electric, water, gas, etc. Even if you purchased bulk fuel, some those have tank monitors that send data to the supplier so that resupply request is automated. Telephone services have forever tracked the numbers you called and how long the call lasted. You might only seen ones actually answered and that did have any added fees on your billing statements, but when there was reasons for investigations they had ability to pull up much more activities.
 

RumRunner

Senior Member
Location
SCV Ca, USA
Occupation
Retired EE
So you are telling me that in no case can the fire department take steps to shut off the power at a fire scene? . . . ..The utility shut off is done at the request of the fire department to provide a safer scene much quicker that sending a trouble man to cut the service drop. They still send out the trouble man, but the power is of much sooner.
I’m not telling you anything to that effect. . . my preceding post and accompanying link is clearly confirming the fact.
It is an A POSTERIORI. (a general principle based on observation)

If what you mean by the word “TELLING” meaning spreading the gospel from the pulpit—that would be the strongest misguidance.
I’m not here acting like a preacher that exemplifies overblown ego.

This a kind of individual who ignores other’s opinion.
He is mostly interested in expressing his own opinion.

He is hell-bent in expressing and dessimilating his own opinion in contrary to other opinions expressed.
Read the forensic report again.
You are taking your statement out of context.
The gist of the discussion is smart meters - and the reason they are installed.
They are NOT meant to shut off customer’s power at will and they are meant to monitor customers power consumption.

And I’m responding to that.

Now, it is out of logical reasoning that when fire had broken out and firefighters are already at work fighting the blaze-- what would stop them from busting the meter with their fireman’s ax especially when grandma is trapped inside.

Oh, let’s wait for the POCO guy to shut the power of first. (duh)

I think there is a need to sharpen the skill in syllogistic reasoning in this instance. Reviewing the statement is in order.

In addition-- if I were the first responder, I would not trust that the power is off just because someone called the POCO office to shut the power via SMART METER.
Would you?
 

don_resqcapt19

Moderator
Staff member
Location
Illinois
Occupation
retired electrician
...

Now, it is out of logical reasoning that when fire had broken out and firefighters are already at work fighting the blaze-- what would stop them from busting the meter with their fireman’s ax especially when grandma is trapped inside.

Oh, let’s wait for the POCO guy to shut the power of first. (duh)

I think there is a need to sharpen the skill in syllogistic reasoning in this instance. Reviewing the statement is in order.

In addition-- if I were the first responder, I would not trust that the power is off just because someone called the POCO office to shut the power via SMART METER.
Would you?
and you are completely distorting the facts...have you ever been a fire fighter or an electrician??? Busting the meter with an ax is very unlikely to disconnect the power, and would make it almost impossible to pull the meter out of the socket...something that is very dangerous to do, but will kill the power to the building. Most firefighters are taught not to pull the meter because of the extreme danger of an arc flash/blast that can occur because of a short circuit when the meter is pulled...the only OCPD in the circuit would be that of the utility fuse on the primary side of the transformer and not sized to limit an arc flash/blast event.

Power on or not, the search and rescue of any victims will be accomplished, and if the utility opens the disconnect in the meter that process is safer. And the meter disconnect will happen in minutes as compared to the typical 30 to 90 minute physical response time of the utility.
 
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