Smart meter fires: SaskPower and Sensus hit again as 10th unit overheats


Saskpower-smart-meter-replacementIn Canada, Saskatchewan electric utility SaskPower faces further embarrassment as it confirmed that a 10th smart meter installed as part of a province-wide rollout had failed this week due to overheating.

The utility said the unit had melted in a similar way to the failure of nine other Sensus 3.3 smart meters since June 2014.

A SaskPower spokesperson said the damage caused by the residential meter  in the White City area, east of Regina, was contained to the meter. “There is no damage to the customer’s home or property,” he said.

Smart meter recall

The news comes as SaskPower is scrambling to replace 105,000 smart electric meters with analogue models following an order by the provincial government in August this year to recall the products.

The spokesman confirmed that 65% of the meters have been removed and the process will be completed by March 15, 2015 at the latest.

He stressed in local media that SaskPower customers may request a priority exchange if they are concerned about their smart meters.

Contaminants in the meter

The cause of the tenth meter failure is unconfirmed but is likely to be the same as identified in the independent investigation by the Crown Investments Corporation – the Sensus 3.3 model of smart meter does not seal properly allowing moisture and contaminants to alter the function of the unit.

One of the investigators electrical engineer Jack Ritenburg had given assurances in October 2014 that the meters should hold up over the winter saying “we don’t think snow is going to be as difficult for things as just heavy, heavy rainfall.

“You’d need a lot of snow to be equivalent to four inches of rain.”

(Pic credit: SaskPower)