Links to Fire Evidence

Smart FireWhile smart meter fire risks are discounted by Seattle City Council, they are an important threat and liability, especially to the property owners. Here are references that show significant fire risk and why this happens:

The smart meter, as you know, provides two-way radio frequency communication. This design feature in and of itself could lead to fires. Utilities usually disclaim any responsibility in smart meter fires and have removed forensic evidence such as the burned out, charred smart meter before an insurance company was allowed to examine it. Please see the “Direct Testimony of Norman W. Lambe” below:

  1. Direct Testimony of Norman W. Lambe, NMPRC Case No. 15-00312-UT, dated June 6, 2016. Please read this testimony to further understand the scope of fire problems with smart meters. Mr. Lambe is a Senior Property Claims Examiner at Precision Risk Management, PO Box 628, Cypress, CA 90630. (testimony) . (You can contact Norman Lambe for further information at: Norman Lambe, 
Property Adjuster
 Precision Risk Management, Inc. 
nlambe@prmclaim.com, 
714-228-7900 ext. 1159).
  2. How the Smart Meter ‘Remote Disconnect’ Can Cause FiresAugust 25, 2016, by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions.

“I have previously stated that “the most dangerous ‘feature’ included in the majority of smart meters deployed today is the remote disconnect option.” [1] [2] At the time, I was primarily referencing the increased risk that the smart meter remote disconnect (RD) poses to the electric grid from a cyber threat perspective. In addition, however, the RD is one of the features of a smart meter (as compared to other types of electric usage meters) that increases the risk of catastrophic meter failures and resulting building fires.

To help illustrate how smart meter RDs can result in fires, this article will highlight the results of forensic investigations by EFI Global, Inc. (EFI) for a failed Sensus brand smart meter reported as involved in a fire in Las Vegas, Nevada in July 2015 [3]. There were actually two separate evaluations of the failed smart meter, first a non-destructive review in July 2015 and a destructive inspection conducted in April 2016.

Here is an excerpt from the forensics report for the non-destructive review: “[It] should be noted that this meter is of the new ‘smart-meter’ variety, which differs from the original electro-mechanical meter that it replaced in at least three significant ways:”

3.a. “Keeping the Customer Safe“:

This report offers some statistics comparing meter fires prior to AMI (smart meter) deployment to what is currently happening after deployment. Tom Lawton from TESCO: “the number of reported fires in the United States has increased dramatically to the point where [Smart] Meter fires have dominated the news locally, nationally and internationally.”

The Issue

  • Hot Sockets are not a new phenomenon. Virtually every meter man has pulled a meter with a portion of the meter base around a blade melted and virtually every utility has been called to assist in the investigation of a fire at a meter box.
  • From 2007 to 2011 the four years before the start of the majority of AMI deployments there were 590 reported fires in the United States that originated in the meter or the meter box. An average of 125 per year and an incidence rate of less than one in a million meters each year.
  • Since that time the number has increased dramatically to the point where [smart] meter fires have dominated the news locally, nationally and internationally at various times over the past three years. – Utilities going through a full AMI deployment are seeing incident rates one and two orders of magnitude greater than normal, leading to a media frenzy and a public focus on the safety of the meter on the side of their house. [Slide 2]

3b. “Hot Socket Issues Causes and Best Practices” (TESCO Research On Hot Sockets, 2014): Analog meters withstand “hot sockets” better than smart meters. “At the start of our laboratory investigation the oldest electro mechanical meters withstood hot sockets the best… The latest vintage solid state meters [smart meters] withstood hot sockets the least.” 

4. Recent news coverage of smart meter fires in Kansas City, MI:

KCMO smart meter fire sparks investigation,” August 29. 2016.  “. . . The company KCP&L uses has had past issues in other places. Despite few problems in the metro, hundreds of thousands of smart meters have been recalled in the last several years across North America. And hundreds of fires have broken out in California, Texas, Florida, Nevada, Illinois and across Canada.” . . . .

The smart meter in this video that caused fires were made by Landis & Gyr – smart meter vendor for Seattle. The video also includes interviews with insurance adjuster Norman Lambe, researcher Brian Thiesen, and professor Curtis Bennett in this 4-minute clip (see below):

–Reporter: “Hundreds of thousands of smart meters have been recalled in the past several years across North America. And hundreds of fires have broken out, including in California, Texas, Florida, Nevada, Illinois, and across Canada.”

–Curtis Bennett (electrician professor): “It really is a very dangerous issue, and it should be treated as a real, unprecedented emergency in your area.”

–Reporter: “California insurance adjuster Norman Lambe currently has seven open smart meter fire claims. Of the dozens of smart meter fires he’s investigated, he says overheating is the major issue.”

–Norman Lambe (insurance adjuster): “Sparking… they are manufacturing too much heat.”

–Brian Thiesen (researcher): “These fires are going to continue to happen because, again, the basic laws of electricity are being violated.”

5. “Smart Meter Fires: Burning Meters, Burning Questions, Shocking Answers Published on Mar 26, 2016. Researcher Brian Thiesen presents shocking and disturbing facts about smart meter fires. The video includes information on Landis & Gyr and coverup on meter fires. Seattle City Light continues to ignore fire hazards and plans to install “smart” meters in 2017 on all homes and businesses.

Seattle City Light claims the fire problem is solved due to a heat sensor (which would not be necessary if not for the flawed design of the smart meter in the first place). They further claim that the property owner, not the utility, is responsible for the meter’s connection to the building, and is therefore liable if there’s a smart meter fire. This is frequently done by other utilities. Please again refer to Norman Lambe’s Direct Testimony at the top of this email.

6. “Stockton Smart Meters Explode after Truck Causes Power Surge” Stockton, California, (March 30, 2015), several hundred meters exploded off the sides of houses simply because a truck hit a utility pole. Several thousand people were without power for over two days.

For More Information on Smart Meter Fire Fatalities & Liability:

 Smart Meter Fires & Explosions

Deaths from Smart Meter Fires

Cities that Have Replaced Thousands of Smart Meters