Fire captain finds hazardous power surges follow Smart Meter installations

Matt Beckett is a fire captain who lives in Cameron Park, CA. He sent the following account of serious electrical problems that occurred after Smart Meters were installed on his house:

“My family moved into a 1982 built house approximately nine years ago and remodeled almost everything (including ALL electrical fixtures: lights, fans, switches, sockets, etc). Our home had what I believe to be it’s original analog meter at the panel. Two years ago PG&E replaced that meter with a “Smart Meter”. Immediately following we noticed power surges in the form of our refrigerator motor intermittently speeding up simultaneously with our lights becoming brighter. As a seventeen year veteran and current Fire Captain this caused me to become very concerned. We notified PG&E and called a licensed electrician to come out and assess. Both arrived at our house within one hour. The electrician checked “our side” and PG&E theirs. Nothing was found to be wrong or faulty, but PG&E decided to change out the connections at the power pole just in case. He also pulled the smart meter and replaced it with an analog. Two years have come and gone without any electrical problems. However, on 11/5/12 our analog was replaced with another smart meter. Within one week of this we noticed power surges once again in the form of lights becoming brighter, refrigerator motor becoming louder, motion light activating by itself in no wind conditions, and while vacuuming the motor increasing speed much like the refrigerator. This culminated on 11/25/12 with my wife noticing a plastic like burning smell coming from our office. Upon further inspection we noticed our computer, phone, and shredder were not working. They were plugged into a Belkin brand surge protector that fortunately did it’s job. This caused the carpet to become hot and melted underneath in a dime sized spot and burned up (inside) the surge protector. Immediately, we called PG&E and another electrician as in the past. Both were at our house within an hour and the same result was found. “Our side” checked out fine and PG&E did not notice anything wrong or faulty. The connections at our roof top power drop were changed by PG&E just in case (even though he thought they were fine). However, the smart meter was replaced with another smart meter. Later that evening our family room TV and components were working fine. However, the next morning they had no power. When I inspected the surge protector that they were plugged into, the same condition was found as in our office.”

Some homes just don’t work well with Smart Meters?

Matt spent four hours on the phone with PG&E, dealing with this problem and notifying them of his concerns. He demanded a rush on switching back to an analog meter. He says, “I’ve been met with multiple attitudes and accusations that I’ve not done everything I can do to make sure it’s not my house causing the problem.”  According to Matt, the only time there were electrical problems was when PG&E changed from the analog to the Smart Meter.

Although PG&E tells Matt he can file a claim for the damaged surge protectors, they say he now has to pay $75  plus $10 a month to keep an analog meter on his home.

Matt’s story is similar to the East Bay fire captain who reported electrical problems and a too hot to touch Smart Meter. Arcing Meter Hazards. Evidence is piling up against Smart Meter installations connected to burnt out appliances, fires and explosions.

Sandi Maurer, director of the EMF Safety Network has been compiling Smart Meter related fires stories since 2010. She says, “It is unthinkable that PG&E, other utilities, and regulators in California have neither publicly admitted to, nor squarely addressed this serious safety hazard related to Smart Meter installations. They are failing their statutory obligation to ensure safe and reliable utility service. ”

29 thoughts on “Fire captain finds hazardous power surges follow Smart Meter installations”

  1. This is stunning. Our house which was built in the 50’s is experiencing similar things. I’ve noticed our new energy star refrigerator has been running oddly – the motor speeding up and slowing down intermittently. Our lights are also dimming and brightening. We do not have a ‘smart meter’ exactly. I refused installation of one, however, recently found out that SMUD (Sacramento Municipal Utility District) had swapped out our analog meter in 2007 without our permission. They gave us a ‘digital itron meter’. Come to find out, this is a pre-smart meter. It was originally pinged by a drive by truck to be read, but I just found out via a public information request to SMUD, that it is sending out RF signals (emissions) every 30 seconds! Aha! It’s not as bad as the 13,000 and up emissions from smart meters, but still significant. No wonder I’ve suffered so many symptoms and believe my family is also experiencing health issues related to this dirty electricity and RF/EMF pollution. SMUD refuses to allow us to retain or regain our analog meters, unlike PG&E who is granting this to customers making this request. SMUD’s original opt out fee was $127 with a $39.40 per month thereafter charge. They also insist on installing a ‘radio free, non-communicating’ digital meter instead of allowing customers who have opted out to keep or return to analogs. I don’t trust them. Like PG& E, they originally said that their smart meters only sent out emission every 4 hrs. or 6 times/day. We knew that was a lie and got the SMUD board to admit the truth. Their smart meters send out RF blasts 13,000 to 240,000 times per day. SMUD has not informed all of their customers about their opt out. They told the 3,000 plus who originally refused smart meters that they had no choice. Of those that still said no, many were violated when meters were installed in spite of their requests not to have them. One of my friends intercepted the installers and stopped them. They came back later when she wasn’t home and did it anyway. This happened to others as well who had officially called and written letters stating they did not grant permission for installation of a smart meter. After the 3,000 who refused smart meters were informed of SMUD’s prohibitory opt-out charges, most capitulated and accepted smart meters. About 350 did not and defended their analog meters. Since the number of opt outs is now so low, SMUD has ‘benevolently’ lowered the monthly opt out fee to $14/month, but is still charging the $127 one time fee and has retroactively charged others who refused SM installations the $39.40/month. SMUD has still not informed ALL of their customers that there is an opt out. We are fighting SMUD on this and continue to push for our right to have an analog meter. I want my analog meter back. This is criminal. SMUD needs to be held accountable for such reckless and dishonest behavior.

  2. Hi David- I am aware of this case which started with a burned out computer- humming noises in the home- and a fire that started in a swamp cooler that killed the occupant- all after a smart meter installation. Can you please keep us informed about this case? Thanks, Sandi

  3. I’ve VERY INTERESTED in this! We just lost 8 major appliances and a surge protector, 2 light fixtures, and 2 wall outlets (one of them made us think our washer had burned up also). On two of these occasions we had to call the fire department! We have owned this house since it was built! It’s been remodeled over and over and kept up through the years. We only had to call the fire department once in all those years and it was because an older refrigerator was shorting out and smoking. These last two calls were just 2-3 months apart! And our house was on fire inside the walls because of power surges sent through our outlets. All of these other things occurred just after they installed the “smart meters!” We were not given a choice. They just knocked on our front door and said they were installing new meters for the electric department and if we had any compupters on that we should cut them off till they got finished. We were not even told that they were a different kind of meter! And now after I realized that no one has the kind of “Bad Luck” that we’ve been having, I remembered them installing the new meters. Then I heard about the “smart meters” on WNOX Radio Station. It was a talk show and they had one of the mothers that was arrested over the “smart meters.”

  4. ON ABOUT 4/1/2013 I WENT TO USE MY MICRO WAVE AND MY POWER STARTED ACTING UP. LIGHTS WERE FLICKERING AND MICROWAVE SOUNDED LIKE IT WAS STARVING FOR POWER. I REMEMBER THINKING IT HAD TO DO WITH THE SMART METER THAT NV ENERGY IN LAS VEGAS INSTALLED ON MY HOUSE WHICH I ADAMENTLY TOLD THE INSTALLER I DIDN’T WANT ON MY HOUSE. THEY WENT IN MY YARD ANYWAY WHILE I WAS AT WORK AND PUT IT ON. THIS HAPPENED SEVERAL DAYS IN A ROW. ON 4/5/2013 I CAME HOME FROM WORK AT JUST ABOUT SUNDOWN. WHEN I TURNED MY LIGHTS ON THEY WERE WORKING KINDA STRANGE GOING FROM BRIGHT TO DIM AND FLUXUATING. THEN I TURNED ON MY SWAMP COOLER AND IT WAS LIKE A BIG DRAW ON MY POWER, I TURNED IT BACK OFF AND GOT SUSPICIOUS ENOUGH TO GET ON THE INTERNET AND SEARCH SMART METERS. AS I WAS OPENING AN INTERESTING PAGE TITLED “SECRETS ABOUT SMART METERS”, THE LIGHTS ABOVE ME STARTED FLICKERING THEN GOING VERY VERY BRIGHT. IT GOT SO BRIGHT THEY WERE LIKE HOLOGEN LIGHTS AND IT SCARED ME ENOUGH TO TURN THEM OFF FAST. I KNEW THERE WAS SOMETHING WRONG SO I OPENED MY BACK DOOR AND WAS SHOCKED TO SEE MY WORK SHOP WITH BILLOWING BLACK PUFFY CLOUDS OF SMOKE. HAVING ONCE BEEN A FIREFIGHTER IN THE PAST I KNEW THAT WAS A SIGN THAT IT WAS VERY VERY HOT AND THAT THIS WAS GOING TO BE A DEVASTATING FIRE. AFTER THE FIRE WAS OUT I WAS SITTING IN MY HOUSE WITH MY TWO DOGS DIGESTING THE FACT THAT MY SHOP WAS TOTALED ALONG WITH ABOUT 20K WORTH OF MY TOOLS, AND I HAVE NO INSURANCE, WHEN THE POWER WENT OUT. I KNEW THE FIRE WAS OUT SO I FIGURED THEY WERE WORKING ON IT FOR WHAT EVER REASON. THEN THEY CALLED ME OUTSIDE FOR A GUY FROM NV ENERGY TO EXPLAIN TO ME THAT THEY TURNED MY POWER OUT TO CHECK THE LINES THAT WERE ABOVE MY SHOP. THE GUY SAID THE LINES WERE FINE BUT THAT ONE OF THE CLIPS THAT THE METER PLUGS INTO WAS BROKE AND FOR HIM TO TURN MY POWER ON I HAVE TO GET THE THING FIXED CALL FOR AN INSPECTION THEN HE CAN TURN MY POWER BACK ON. HOW DID IT GET BROKEN? THEY BROKE IT AND NOW I HAVE TO FIX IT.. NOW TWO WEEKS LATER I AM STILL WITHOUT POWER, I HAVE TO APPLY FOR A PERMIT TO REPAIR MY ELECTRICAL AND IT’S STILL COSTING ME MONEY. THE ARSON INVESTIGATER TOLD ME THAT THEY COULD NOT DETERMINE THE CAUSE OF THIS FIRE. I TOLD HIM ABOUT MY POWER SURGES PRIOR TO THE FIRE AND THIS MAN DID NOT EVEN LOOK AT THE METER. IN THE MEAN TIME NV ENERGY TOOK THE METER AND SENT ME MY FINAL BILL. THESE PEOPLE ARE RESPONSIBLE FOR MY 30 TO 40K LOSS AND I’M AFRAID I CAN NOT HOLD THEM ACCOUNTABLE.

  5. We have stories from two fire captains that smart meters are a fire hazard. A wrongful death suit was settled by PG&E in CA, that was smart meter related- Find an attorney who can help you recover your losses. They need to be held responsible for this. Document everything in writing. Sandi

  6. I too am a victim of a smart meter in Pennsylvania. The day my new smart meter was installed I was home and experienced a power surge like I’ve never seen before! There was literally electricity in the air, it had a sound and light bulbs exploded, fixtures were smoking, arcing occurred in the service panel, surge protectors burnt, appliances failed and even wire nuts in outlets, switches and junction boxes melted! To this date the electric company and it’s subcontractor have denied any responsibility for their product or their actions. I have had to file a homeowners insurance claim and estimated damage is in the several thousands and they are trying to settle for less than the amount of damage! I’ve also had to hire and attorney. I am looking to get into contact with other victims…WE all need our voices heard! Admin can you help?

  7. So this is interesting. At my last rental, they put in Smart Meters about a year or two after I moved in. I coincidentally blew a large number of surge protectors during the later years I lived there, so I bought power conditioning UPS’ and they kicked in several times a day. I hired an independent electrician to come check everything out, and he found 0 problems. Without understanding more about the inner workings of a Smart Meter, I can’t agree with the findings yet, but I find it interesting fire chiefs have noticed this as well.

  8. I am wondering if anyone has connected a ScopeMeter to the power supply to look at and capture, if wanted, the waveforms and voltage sags and swells that may be occurring in the homes?

    We have captured some very interesting data but have not been able to determine if the automatic meter reader (ARM) may be the cause of this. Does anyone have expert knowledge of the different ARM’s and Smart Meters and is willing to share information to help us all understand them better?

  9. Chuck,

    What type of data have you captured? I have scope shots of the SMPS transients that the SM puts on the wiring. Where are you located? How can we collaborate? Please advise.

  10. Hi Eric,

    I have Fluke ScopeMeter 4 channel data from cow contact testing, if you have Fluke 5.1 software, I can send it to you.

    I am in Minnesota and wondering if the cows are telling us just exactly how sensitive they truly are.

    I have an email in to Rob States as well.

    We are simply looking for answers on how to mitigate this if the captures we have are truly from AMR (automatic meter readers). I must say the answers I have received from the AMR company and the utility make me far more curious and perhaps therefore more in need of good information.

    Thank you so very much for responding!
    Please let me know if you are interested in the data or how we could visit if you would be so kind.

  11. Chuck, Sounds really interesting. I don’t have that software. Perhaps there is another way to get the images to me. Rob States is nearby andI know him but is is always very busy. Have you checked with Dave Stetzer? Call me at 916-395-7336 PT Sacramento.

    Here is a video I made about DE & HFVT. https://www.dropbox.com/s/1xz9r2je2kftia3/00012.MTS

    Check this link to see what I have been doing with the local utility.
    http://stopsmartmeters.org/2013/05/13/sacramento-smart-meter-awareness-finally-wins-the-official-right-to-an-analog-after-much-blood-sweat-and-tears/

    Hope to hear from you soon!

    Eric

  12. Okay, I haven’t experienced any damage to equipment or PCs, but, I have now had two (2) unexplainable “drop outs” on clear, low wind days … going on the 2nd year with a Smart Meter in the ONCOR system in the DFW (Dallas) area … just for the record I thought I would post this.

    Further info: A front (rare for that to happen in July for us!) moved through last evening, and today skies are clear, temps are moderate (90 deg F at the moment) at about 3:45 PM CST in the afternoon with light to negligible winds.

    When this ‘drop out’ occurs, it is only for an instance, and then ‘things’ power back up. I think the last time this happened either the TV or the PC didn’t shutdown/reset so didn’t require a reboot when power came back. That event was also on a clear, low to no wind day.

    PS. I’m an engineer with wireless, embedded micro/firmware and some power electronics experience as was as being a longtime ‘ham’ radio operator. The event prior to today’s I also had a LW (about 250 kHz) receiver on and didn’t detect any arcing or ‘static’ (lightning) discharges taking place … I have noted ‘arcs’ or nearby lightning strikes when power has been lost in the past (storms, cars hitting power poles on this distribution circuit etc.) … One might say these ‘events’ were well-observed by myself when they took place.

    _Jim

  13. Wow!, very interesting to bump into this website. I am with a Smart Meter in the ONCOR system in the DFW (Dallas) area and have lived in my home for almost 13yrs with no electrical problems with the analog meter.
    Problem with voltage in the house, surges in the form of our lights getting too bright when we turn on our kitchen compactor or microwave and breakers tripping off, my computer power supply replaced also replaced 2 Belkin surge protectors because of problem with voltage.
    I have independent certified electrician come over to check for problems and he found no problems with the wiring in the house. This is what the Master Electrician found:
    **When there is a LOAD added to any leg, the voltage drops to 89 on one leg and 138 on the other leg. Neutral and Ground tested and are correct**.
    My problems started shortly after the new digital smart meter was installed and did not realize it till now that I have the master electrician confirm it. I have replaced many electronics in my house, including my outside A/C unit compressor that cost me $1500 to replace and I am afraid it will go out again with the voltage in my house going up and down or worst yet my house may catch fire when no body home. My problem is with the smart meter and the electric company is responsible for my damages. I am considering hiring a lawyer. I need some advice please.

  14. This attorney already won at least one case against a smart meter fire: Contact Brad Leigh at the Leigh Law Firm (281) 419-3476.

  15. I have a duplex. A little less than a year ago, my downstairs neighbor allowed a smart meter to be installed. Shortly after that, her microwave went out, the stove’s electronic ignition went out, her computer went out, her electric drier went out. I had two electricians come out and check things out. The first found no problem. The second changed two circuit breakers and tightened up all the screws on all the outlets and switches. We thought that solved the problem. Now, however, she is reporting problems with her (new) microwave as well as her computer. As for my unit — no “smart” meter and no electrical problems!

  16. “Digital meters—whether or not “smart”—cause dirty electricity to flow through your home’s wiring. The problem is what is called the “switched mode power supply.” Switched mode power supplies are used to run the digital meter (whether a smart meter or DTE’s radio-off opt-out meter).In order for a smart meter to be powered, the 240 volts coming off the power line to the meter must be stepped down to 4–10 volts. A switched mode power supply is the device used to step down the voltage from 240 volts to 4-10 volts. This generates an enormous amount of what is commonly known as “dirty electricity” and referred to by electricians and electrical engineers as “voltage transients,” “voltage harmonics,” “line noise,” and “power quality issues.”

    “Dirty electricity is a spiky, pulsed, highly variable electrical current that rides through all the circuitry of a building. It has devastating health effects… ”

    http://www.smartmetereducationnetwork.com/index.php

  17. 4 major problems on 3 different major appliances in 3 months—not mathematically probable—-AC capacitor died in June, Refig evaporator died in July, AC blower died in Aug and now AC not starting up—-ALL EVENTS OCCURRED AFTER “SMART METER” was installed in MAY

  18. We had one leg of the 240v 100A service read 116v, while the other read 124. Our renters reported the power going out in part of the house, and there were no popped circuit breakers. Finally one day I was able to measure one leg going to zero volts. I figured that one of the connections must be corroded, so worked on them – no change. I finally called PG&E, and after explaining what I had done, the technician opened the panel and pulled the smart meter. One of the plug connectors was significantly discolored, and the meter pin was so hot you could not touch it. The technician and I worked on the connector enough to get it working, but I was told that I needed to replace the connector. It turns out that Eaton (the box manufacture) no longer makes the box or has any replacement parts. This means that I need to replace the entire box, which PG&E tells me requires a building permit. PG&E has not been very responsive or helpful concerning this incident, other than the technician getting the circuit back up. Note really sure what my next steps are.

  19. While we do not have a SMART meter installed yet we are having the EXACT same issues as posted here. PGE has been trying to install a SMART meter and recently attempted to without our permission. We are rural with dogs and a locked gate so they cannot access our meter thank God. We had a fire out at our pole and we believe the transformer caught on fire. We looked outside heard crackling and something melting was dripping from the pole and PGE came out that night. Never really inspected our lines coming from the pole to our house, said “sometimes it happens” and said he replaced the connections at the transformer to the drop. A lineman came out next day, looked up at it where the drop attaches to the weatherhead (without a ladder) and said “the connections look fine” and left. At a later date they installed some “bird diverters” out on the high voltage line. Few months later our well pump went out. We never even thought it could have had to do with the PGE issue. $5000 out of pocket. Since then over the past few years we would have power outages, which PGE would recognize and stated they were working on the problem. Being in a rural area we kind of expect it every so often. However; in the last year we’ve had a power outage out here from a fatal car accident. Months later, another one from an accident. We looked outside, heard the sirens, etc. We noticed a few red lights glowing out on the high voltage lines that we have never seen before. The next day, our son’s tv literally blew up. Huge boom sound, smoke, cracked the screen. Convection oven went out, dvd player, high end coffee maker, now our newer fridge is out and our front loading washer and dryer aren’t working properly, etc. The list goes on. Brighter than normal lights, brown outs, etc. Called electrician out. Panel has to be replaced. Readings coming to our panel from PGE are 190+ on one side and 50 something on the other! We cannot use our appliances, lighting in most of the house, and are afraid to actually. We now have to have our entire panel replaced (to the tune of $2600 more). We are afraid PGE is going to jerk us around submitting a claim, but cannot take this any more! Has anyone been successful in submitting a claim? We are in a terrible position (using ice chests, etc) but have to have this work done asap and know this cant be a coincidence. Advice? Feedback?

  20. Some ideas for you to check out. Excess voltage/ power surges the transformer cannot handle? Is there smart grid equipment on the pole near you? Have you looked into “hot socket” on your meter? Consider a whole house EMF filter? (contact Stetzer for more info +1 (608) 989-2571)
    I will also email you about going after PGE.

  21. According to research by TESCO smart meters are more prone to “hot socket” than analog meters. see http://emfsafetynetwork.org/wp-content/uploads/2010/03/TESCO-Lawton-on-Hot-Sockets.pdf
    If PGE will not fix this problem consider filing a formal complaint with the CPUC. A formal complaint would allow a hearing with a judge. The expedited complaint would be best avoided as there are no transcripts of the hearing. Here’s a description of their different complaint processes including forms: http://www.cpuc.ca.gov/NR/rdonlyres/43D7B57B-E8BA-4A04-B563-5F498548C536/0/ComplaintForm20121102.pdf

  22. Hi my name is Renee and I live in Columbia Tn 45 minutes south of Nashville. I got sick in March of 2014 and in September I had to go out on disability from work. I have been to many Drs 4 ER’s and 2 specialists and the latter 2 diagnosed me with Fibromialsa (not sure how to spell that one) and Raynauds Disease. My next referral was to a neurologist which I never made because my short term ran out so my insurance did too. So I was left to my own resources to figure out why I was sick. My joints and muscles ache horribly my memory is not food anymore as well as my eyesight. My digestive system is bad and alot of the time my food tastes like metal and the list goes on. Myhair and skin has changed as well as my dogs. I had notice I said had 2 big oak trees in front of my home 1 was already cut down and the other died last summer along with 3 pine trees and alot of the plants in my home. I feel like I am full of static electricity. I also have those surges with my refrigerater along with flickering lights sometimes humming in the walls. I also hear a constant ringing in my ears which drives me nuts!!!! On one of my many nights of insomnia I stumbled across the smart meter on the internet and it wasn’t by accident either. I can’t feel most of my fingertips and they feel like plastic. Now I am into it with my electric company have been to 3 board meetings and they denied me my right to choose which totally makes me mad to say the leasswt because now I have astronimical bills and paying for something I don’t want I thought I lived in America where we had the right to make choices. I have been in my home since 1999 and I know this house better than my electric company which by the way my water is a smart meter too this monts water consumption $96 really and of course there are no leaks which I knew anyway but they are saying I must have had a running toilet again really and I wouldn’t notice that I felt like saying no I’m not stupid like you I check mine but I still HAVE to pay it cause they are always right with and I am always wrong. I need help please my mayor my legislatures and even the public utility review office asked me what a smart meter was well needless to say I called the commissioners office back in Washington and tole them that if they were going to give me names and numbers of people in my area that are put in a position to help consumers with issues like this that it would be nice to educate them about the products first what a joke Now I have to write a formal letter to Washington before they can even think about investigating it this is crazy!!!! Thank you for reading and I pray you contact me.

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