Domino Effect: More Smart Meters Being Replaced Due to Fires

Lakeland Fire“A Major Consumer Alert”

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.

Domino EffectIn 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

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Source Material for this Blog Article:
“The Ledger.com” article entitled, “Overheating Concerns: Lakeland Electric to Replace 10,657 Residential Smart Meters — Officials fear overheating; six residential meters have caught fire,” August 26, 2014, at http://www.theledger.com/article/20140826/NEWS/140829388?tc=cr
WTSP Channel 10:  “Lakeland Electric to Replace Hazardous Meters” at  http://www.wtsp.com/story/news/local/2014/08/27/lakeland-electric-meter-fire-replacement/14694889/
“The Ledger.com” article entitled, “Lakeland Electric’s Smart Meters Can Overheat — Utility has replaced 178 because of the problem,” January 16, 2014, at http://www.theledger.com/article/20140116/NEWS/140119331

About SkyVision Solutions

Raising public awareness and finding solutions for smart grid issues related to invasions of privacy, data security, cyber threats, health and societal impacts, as well as hazards related to radiofrequency (RF) radiation emissions from all wireless devices, including smart meters.
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20 Responses to Domino Effect: More Smart Meters Being Replaced Due to Fires

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  9. x says:

    There was a smart meter fire on Sooke Lake Road in Langford BC a couple of weeks ago. The fireman stated on the nightly news “we had a hydro meter on fire.” This was quite obvious from the video where the meter had been completely consumed, meaning the temperature was above 500 degrees C to ignite the polycarbonate case, and yet, a few days later, the official line was: “[The smart meter] wasn’t the direct cause of the fire … combustible objects near the house could have contributed to the blaze, which is not considered suspicious.”

    No it’s not suspicious, it was the damn “smart” meter!

    [Webmaster Note: This smart meter-related fire is addressed in a prior comment on this page, complete with video and follow-up on story.]

    • Mary Quite Contrary says:

      Same thing in Lowell Ma- children were killed, big fire~ Everything about it says smart-meter… but will we hear that from any authority – of course not.

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  12. bcfreedom says:

    [Responding to BC Hydro fire (below)] Same thing happened with a fire on Glenwood in Kamloops 2 years ago. Multiple lines in the Kamloops Daily news with ‘smart meter’ ‘electrical’ and ‘panel’ couple days later… a magic ember jumped out of a fire that was AT LEAST 12 hours old (homeowners had been gone for that amount of time before the fire started) jumped over to a garbage can and started the fire. Like magic, the whole issue went away. Couple weeks later, there was another one, I walked there myself, saw the debris on the ground and everything. I even spoke directly with the homeowners; it was the smart meter. Went to the fire chief and he referred me to the Len Garis report and told me he knew Len personally and trusted his opinion and that was all he needed.

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  16. New smart meter-related fire [*] on Vancouver Island on August 27, 2014. Neighbors had ITRON Centron II smart meters from BC Hydro. As stated by firefighter, “We had the Hydro meter on fire.” See video below:

    [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.]

    [*] Update:

    The above fire appears to be caused by a smart meter based upon the video news report and some on-scene accounts; however, it is noted that a follow-up news report of August 29 states that “[The smart meter] wasn’t the direct cause of the fire.” “[C]ombustible objects near the house could have contributed to the blaze, which is not considered suspicious.” These statements are somewhat ambiguous. So, the smart meter may have been an “indirect” cause of the fire? How did the “combustible” objects near the house catch on fire if nothing was “suspicious” and no one was home at the time of the fire according to news reports?

    http://www.timescolonist.com/news/local/smart-meter-not-to-blame-for-fire-langford-investigators-say-1.1335297

    Further Update:

    Based upon the best information available, the fire dept. believes a smoldering cigarette was thrown into a planter near the home and somehow the planter then caught on fire which then somehow caused the smart meter to catch fire. A bit hard to visualize, but this scenario would likely have a wooden planter placed below the smart meter catching fire; rising heat from flames was then sufficient to overheat the smart meter causing it to explode/ burst into flames which then further engulfed the home. Thus, the smart meter is unlikely to be documented as the cause of the fire although the house fire may not have occurred if it were not for the smart meter.

  17. S Barringer says:

    A reject rate of 12%. That is totally unacceptable. If cars were produced that failed to work 12% of the time, the public would stop buying the pieces of junk. Then consider that 12% of the homes they are mounted on can burn to the ground. This is going to get expensive for insurance companies. Why aren’t the insurance companies complaining? Or will they complain after thousands of homes burn to the ground? How about if 12% of baby strollers were unusable? How about 12% of life-critical medications being unacceptable? The fact that any meter put on my house has the 12% potential of burning my house down and killing me and my family is TOTALLY unacceptable. No smart meters, period! Even 1% of any device being capable of burning your house down is unacceptable. We don’t have this problem with analog meters. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!!!!!

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