House Fires


Incidence of fires with “smart” Meters

There have been a great number of fires that have happened upon installation of “smart” Meters in Santa Cruz (CA), Naperville (IL) , Chicago (IL), Baltimore (MD) and Philadelphia (PA), Reno (NV), Saskatchewan, and British Columbia. In order to install these devices one should be a trained electrician with years of experience. 100,000 “smart” meters were recalled  in Saskatchewan (Canada) and 70,000 in Portland (OR) because of fire danger . “ComEd (Chicago) recently disclosed the fires, as well as information about 15 other overheating incidents that caused damage to “smart” meters, only after another utility in Philadelphia, Peco Energy, decided to suspend installation of “smart” meters there following a fire in a home and a dozen incidents involving overheating “smart” meters.”

Vendors not adequately trained to install

The “smart” meter vendors have given installers, who are not trained electricians, a two week installation course . This is the first possible explanation of the fires. The installation of these meters is not simple. Chicago Con Edison said: “ Independent testing showed the cause was related to fitting and connection issues with an older-model socket that had a poor connection at the point where the customer’s wires and ComEd’s wires meet.” [2.] The “smart” meters are not designed to fit with older sockets. Furthermore, ComEd said: “All told, ComEd identified 15 connection issues that resulted in higher than normal heat conditions and damage to the “smart” meter.

Comparision between Analog and  “Smart” Meters

The maximum life of a “Smart” Meter is somewhere between 5-9 years based on recent field evidence, as compared to 40-60 years for an Analog Meter. “Smart Meters” require much more energy to run by a factor or two to three. Analog Meters are a sturdy, proven product made only  of metal and glass.  “Smart Meters” are  made of circuit boards and plastic.

Final Evaluation Decision Analogue  verses ““smart’” Meters

If you were about to buy a new toaster  and realized that at least 170,000  had to be recalled, would you still buy one??

What if you found out, that there was  no fire hazard if you stuck with your old toaster and it would last 4 times as long. So without even discussing further issues of health safety, privacy, increase in electric rates, just on the fire danger alone, WHY DO IT??

Here is Why

According to Navigant Research, the Industry’s  mouthpiece  for world wide “Smart’ Meters:

“A new report forecasts that global revenue from “Smart” Meters will increase over the next decade from $5.1 billion in 2014 to $6.6 billion in 2023. The data from Navigant Research examined the worldwide market opportunities for “smart” electric meters. [4.] There is thus a lot of money to be made here, in the short term. It is difficult  for both private and publicly owned utilities to resist this money. It could  bankrupt them after all the lawsuits, but the utility companies  are not thinking about that now. We need to raise our voices louder.

There are three ways this money is generated:

First by taking advantage of the new Time of Usage (TOU) charges. Instead of a standard rate for the winter and the summer, you will be  charged depending on the individual time at a particular hour. The (TOU) charges will still be much greater than your current charges. By analogy, what if we started charging you different rates to use your internet connection depending on the time of day. Or for watching television? How many people would accept this?

Secondly, the federal government here in their rush to the  “Smart” Meter and “Smart” Grid has allocated 10.4 Billion dollars nationally. By local utilities implementing  “Smart” Meter/AMI wireless technology they will get a nice chunk of cash. This is reported in Bloomberg  Business News of March 2010. The number has increased in the last four years since then.

Thirdly, there is fancy software to read these “Smart” meters and do much more complex (TOU) billing which we must also pay for. Some folks in Santa Cruz, CA and Naperville, IL were getting $2000 bills for two months usage when the new billing system was rolled out.