It is almost impossible to keep track of all of the smart meter fires and related safety issues. We jump from country to country and from state to state. The latest issue is in Florida where Lakeland Electric will soon begin replacing over 10,000 residential smart meters on concerns they might overheat, General Manager Joel Ivy said Tuesday, August 26th.
Are we seeing a domino effect within the industry?
Six of the meters have caught fire during the past year, Ivy said. Early Tuesday, he said the utility was still deciding whether to replace the meters, but later in the day, he said the decision had been made.
Lakeland Mayor Howard Wiggs said Tuesday he was concerned about the issue of the overheating meters.
“It’s pretty significant,” Wiggs said.
In January, utility officials said the meter-related fires were caused by a loose base where meters are installed outside homes, not by the meters themselves. Because of the loose metal, electricity jumps through an air gap, heat can develop and burning can occur, an official said then.
Now, it appears that might not have been the cause.
Ivy said Tuesday further tests have revealed that water can seep into a device, causing it to malfunction.
“There’s some melting of the sensors inside, the circuit boards melt and so we’re replacing them,” said Kevin Cook, a spokesman for the City of Lakeland.
Lakeland Electric has issued a press release with a questions and answers webpage at: http://www.lakelandelectric.com/YourUtility/NewsEvents/TabId/4086/PostId/781/lakeland-electric-replacing-8-of-digital-meters.aspx.
At this utility webpage, the initial information posted on August 27 included the following statement:
“We have a reject rate of 12% for these meters. Rejected meters are primarily those that don’t send or receive data or commands correctly. Rejected meters include six (6) meters that have overheated [that is, caught on fire].”
On August 28, it was noticed by SkyVision Solutions that the above information was removed from the utility website and replaced with:
“The meters have not met our performance expectations. Most issues have been related to failed functionality. Six of the 10,567 meters (0.06%) have had overheating issues suspected to be caused by moisture intrusion, lightning damage, or meter enclosure overheating.”
Evidently, the utility no longer thought it wise to publicize its “reject rate” and also decided to emphasize the “small” percentage of meters that had caught fire. This is a clear case of “managing the message” and “damage control.”
Would it be too much to say that these smart meters are basically dangerous pieces of junk? … Of course, the problem is, in this instance, Lakeland Electric is simply replacing one model of smart meter with another.
Also of interest is that Lakeland Electric is only replacing 10,567 smart meters referred to as “remote disconnect” meters. These meters represent 8.7 % of all deployed smart meters. In January 2014, The Ledger.com reported:
“Since installation of smart meters began nearly three years ago, Lakeland Electric officials have replaced 178 because of overheating. The meters are part of the 121,517 devices installed for Lakeland Electric customers.”
Why isn’t the utility company replacing all of its smart meters with safer analog meters?
Watch the Video: “A Major Consumer Alert” …
[The above video contains material used pursuant to Fair Use Doctrine under 17 U.S.C. 107 and is presented in the public’s interest for non-commercial purposes.]
Note that in discussing recent fires involving smart meters, Sensus manufacturer and President Randy Bays stated that: “Our experience has shown that these issues are systemic in the industry …”
For more information on how smart meters represent an increased fire risk to your home, refer to the following article: Smart Meters Increase the Risk of Fires!
Update: Also see latest blog article entitled: Smart Meter Fires Spread to Nevada: “Be Very Aware, Very Vigilant” Say Officials