Smart meter fire fears spreading to other parts of Canada



Quick Take: As we have seen with fears over electromagnetic radiation and privacy violations, smart meter fears don't have to be proven or even logical to cause an uproar. Case in point: The situation in Canada, where fires linked to one brand of meter have customers and policymakers calling for the removal of all smart meters, even other brands.   - Jesse Berst


After weeks of outcry about SaskPower’s smart meters, the power company’s CEO last week apologized after the Saskatchewan provincial government ordered it to replace all 105,000 of its smart meters at a cost of roughly US$42 million. CEO Robert Watson admitted the meters did not meet the company's own expectations much less those of its customers.


The order to replace came after eight separate minor fires were linked to the meters. This despite protests from meter maker Sensus that its meters were not at fault. "Sensus says lab tests indicate some of the fires were caused by holes in the meter boxes that allowed water in, or by power surges," reported the Globe and Mail.


In Ontario, lawmakers are calling on utilities Toronto Hydro and Hydro One to remove their smart meters, even though they use a different brand. They want "to investigate fully whether or not we actually have these questionable smart meters."


Hydro One is under particular scrutiny after a torrent of complaints about incorrect power bills-- 26,999 last year, a 37% increase from a year before. The key issue seems to be delayed or missing invoices, which then result in very high "catch up bills."


Jesse Berst is the founder and Chief Analyst of SGN and Chairman of the Smart Cities Council, an industry coalition.


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