Smart meters: SaskPower denies installation problems as two more units catch fire


SaskPower is again under the spotlight as the Canadian electric utility has admitted to an eighth fire caused by a Sensus smart meter, according to CBC news.

During a news conference about the seventh smart meter failure since May 2014, the energy company confirmed that crews had just gone out to deal with another fire.

The rollout of smart meter installations were suspended last week as six meters have caught fire between May and July this year.

SaskPower is still playing down the meter failures with Mike Marsh, SaskPower’s vice-president of operations, saying on Monday that: “People need to know the failure rates are still within what the industry calls normal, but we are concerned about any failure.”

What is causing the fires?

The utility, however, is yet to find a cause of the fires.

Mr Marsh explains: “The type of meter failure is really specific in every case. In some there have been meter socket issues, in the past and I know some of the manufacturers point to that as the reason.”

The Canadian political opposition party NDP is pointing the finger at installation of the meters and is calling on the Government of Saskatchewan for tougher regulations.

NDP SaskPower critic Cathy Sproule has accused the company of cutting corners and hiring installers that don’t meet provincial standards, saying: “They’re very high-powered units. We want to make sure people are safe. We expect the government and SaskPower to demonstrate that.”

Meter installation problem?

SaskPower, however, is denying that installation company Grid One Solutions has anything to do with the failures.

Marsh said: “They are not qualified electricians. But in most jurisdictions in North America, a competent worker is what is used to install the smart meters.”