My interest was first turned to the problem of Smart Meter fires because of my work as a Property Claims Adjuster here in Southern California. As the Smart Meter roll out took place throughout Southern California, I began to see more and more situations where if the Smart Meter had not been installed, the fire would most likely not have taken place. The most tragic of these fires was the loss of life involving Larry Nikkel and the actions of Pacific Gas and Electric. The account of this fire and the loss of Mr. Nickel’s life can be reviewed at http://stopsmartmeters.org/2013/06/21/when-smart-meters-kill-the-story-of-larry-nikkel-details-emerge-of-vacaville-ca-smart-meter-fire-death/.
Now, another account of a Smart Meter fire has come my way which needs to be discussed. This new situation involves a documented case in which two separate smart meters were found to be burning at the same time and at the same location. On February 26, 2014 a fire broke out at Friars Village, which is a shopping mall located at 10450 Friars Road in the beautiful town of San Diego, California. Information concerning this fire is contained in the San Diego Fire Department’s Incident Report Number FS14023257.
Two important entries on the report provide for us an independent account of what took place at the Friars Village Shopping Mall. The first at 18:21:42, is stated, “10 minutes into incident 2 electric boxes on fire”; the second entry occurred at 19:42:09, “2 San Diego Gas and Electric Meters are on fire.”
As a normal part of the investigation and evaluation process of an insurance claim such as this fire, it will be necessary to have the opportunity to examine the meters to determine if they are the cause of the fire. In many instances in the past, examination of the meters has been denied by the utility companies, which creates a legal problem for the utility companies. However, one issue can be explored, and that is the examination of the wiring of the building into which the meters were installed. If the wiring is not compromised by age, use, or improper installation or repair, then the potential for the meters to have been the cause of the fire would appear to be the case.
If the San Diego Fire Department had not responded as quickly and efficiently as they did, a very serious fire situation on a commercial level could have developed.
As we are approaching an election this year, especially for California Insurance Commissioner, I believe the problems that have been presented by the Smart Meter installations need to be addressed on a political level. After all, the money that financed the purchase of the Smart Meters by the various public utilities in this state and country came from our taxes as a part of the stimulus program, which was meant to revive the economy and not to burn down our homes and businesses and endanger lives.