Arcing Meter Hazards

The following letter and photo were sent to the EMF Safety Network from a California fire department captain (Ross) who saved his home from a potential Smart Meter fire in 2009.  PG&E has admitted that Smart Meters have interfered with GFI’s and AFCI’s, but they have not admitted to any connection with a Smart Meter fire.

Friday August 21st 2009 approx 7pm PST

I was at home doing yard work in the late afternoon when my wife came outside and told me that “half the power was off again”. This had been happening on and off for about two weeks and it kept happening when I was at work. This was the first time I got a look at what was happening. It was a hot day and the AC was on. The power went off when my wife turned on the stove.

I then went into my garage and check my fuses. As I opened the door from the house to my garage I could smell burnt electrical smoke. I then rushed over to the fuse box but immediately determined that it was not the source.

I then went out side to where my meter was and I could instantly smell the burnt electrical smoke. As I was looking at the meter I inadvertently placed my hand on the meter itself and almost burned my hand. The meter was so hot you could not touch it. I then went back into my garage and felt the wall area where the meter comes in contact with my home. The wall was also very warm. Being the firefighter I am, I began to remove the sheetrock from the wall to check if I had a wall fire. There was no wall fire but the metal box into which all the homes wiring from the meter is stored was also too hot to touch with a bare hand.

At this point I called my father-in-law who is an electrician to come over and have a look. When he showed up, I told him what was going on and when he touched the meter a look of amazement came over his face and he stated ” This isn’t supposed to be this hot, we need to kill the power”.

At that point we shut the power off to my house and called the PG&E emergency line due to the fact it was a Friday evening.

PG&E sent out a service truck. When they arrived the gentleman walked up we explained what was going on and he asked “When was your Smartmeter installed” I told him ” About two weeks ago”. That when a light went off in my head.

When he went to pull the meter, it was still to hot to touch and the PG&E service worker had to put gloves on, even though the power had been off for approx one hour.

As son as he pulled the meter we could see what had happened. The receiving clips for the meter were burnt.  He then asked ” Did your power go off when the AC kicked on?” I said ” No my power went off when my wife turned on the stove to cook dinner”

He then said ” That makes sense, the burnt area is where your 220v goes into your house, you’re lucky it didn’t start a fire”

I then asked ” How did this happen?’

He then proceeded to tell me that they were having nothing but problems with the contractor who was installing the meters and that it was costing PG&E more money to follow the contractors through each neighborhood and fix the problems they were causing and that the reason they did this is that PG&E didn’t want to pay its own workers wages and wanted a cheaper price.

As you could imagine I was shocked at this admission.

He then went on, telling me that the burnt area was more than likely due to the contractors not being able to fit the new Smartmeter into place, so the widened the receiving clip and shoved it into place. By them widening the clips, the caused an area of no contact which then caused arcing every time we used and appliance with 220v.

What he said next then floored me.

He said ” Well you need a whole new box and there is no way we can repair it tonight. Technically you own the box and we would tell you to hire an electrician to fix it. PG&E own thee lines underground and everything up to the meter. Because this is behind the meter, technically its all on you”

At that point I almost blew my lid but then he said ” I am writing this up as a bad install by the contractor. I am tired of following those guys around and fixing their problems because it’s not right. I’m going to make them pay for it and hire an outside electrician to do it.” I was relieved at that point.

He then kept telling us more and more about all the problems and how this company only gave these people installing the meters two days of training and were hiring people who were not electricians. He also told us about injuries to contact employees were receiving due to lack of training.

At that point he said ” here is what I’m going to do for you. We are not going to be able to rebuild this until Monday, but I will bypass the 220v so you can use your basics, you just wont be able to do laundry or have no AC.”

He then alluded to the fact he wasn’t supposed to bypass the220v but he did it for us anyways.

Come Monday, the third party electrician showed up at my home to repair my box. He asked what happened and I told him, he then says ” This isn’t the first box I have had to fix because of those guys” meaning the contractors.

The pic you see [is] of the burnt area where the 220v went into the house.  Also you see the strips of metal in the other clips, this is where the PG & E service worker bypassed the 220v so I could at least have 110v for the weekend.

17 thoughts on “Arcing Meter Hazards”

  1. We lived in our home from 1985 to 2008 without any electrical issues. But starting in 2008 we had the very same problem with lights flickering . Like Jeanette we ignored it but it became progressively worse. At the time we were unaware that our electric meter had been changed to a smart one. On March 3 2009 the lights dimmed and brightened more than usual. Our laundry machine was spinning double and suddenly stopped. When I went downstairs I noticed a smouldering power bar, a large burn in the rug and immediately turned off the power. We called an electrician . His report states he investigated “dangerous erratic electrical behaviour”. The panel was reading 180 v on one side and 60 V on the other. He could not determine a cause. In retrospect we should have involved our house insurance who may have assisted us in linking it to the meter installation. Instead the experience cost us over $5,000 to rebuild our panel and replace and repair the damage to appliances and floor. We felt grateful that we were home otherwise the house may have burnt down
    We only discovered that our electric meter had been changed when Neptune (the contractor for Toronto Hydro and Toronto Water ) started demanding access to our house to install a Smart Water meter in 2013. It seemed very possible that our incident in 2009 had a cause. We contacted Toronto Hydro requesting copies of the work order for our installation. It took over a year of repeated e mails for them to finally give a date . After that they have ignored all further communication.
    We have to date not permitted Neptune in to install another smart meter on our property . We feel justified in our lack of trust for this contractor who along with Toronto Hydro altered something on our property without the decency to inform us.
    Toronto Water is now threatening to fine us up to $50,000 and or shut off our water supply.

  2. All the lights in our house are flickering, and even the microwave flicked off
    in mid cycle. The flickering lights started last year, but when summer came I guess we didn’t notice it as much, since we didn’t need the lights in the house as often, and just chocked up the occasional flickers to problems with random power surges in the area.

    But during the week of Thanksgiving, this year, the lights in all the rooms of our house, upstairs and down, became more noticeable. Lights in different rooms
    radomly go dim and then bright again, every 15 minutes or so. Last year, we had just noticed one light in the living room dimming, and had the power company man come out to check the box, but he said he couldn’t find a problem.He figured it was probably just a bad connection in the light socket. So we endured the dimming and flickering light. It was quite disturbing because it would go completely off, then on again, at radom moments.

    During the week of Thanksgiving, this year, we noticed the lights in different rooms of the house radomly dimming and flickering and some even going off then on again. So I called the power company and they sent out a man–the same one as last year– at 9:30 at night. He stayed until 11:00 p.m. trying to find the problem. He could see our lights flicker through the curtained windows and commented they were sure enough flickering. He came to the conclusion that maybe the wire from the power pole to our house was worn. He did comment that he heard arcing in the meter box but he couldn’t tell from what. So he came the next day and replaced the line from the road to the box and said if the lights continued to dim we needed to hire an electrician to come and replace a couple of switches where the problem might be.

    My daughter put the problem on facebook and a man said he would come and check out our box and see what was going on. He determined there were two screws that were hot and we needed to hire a master electrician to replace the whole breaker panel outside the house as well as inside. I looked up the cost for electricians and was floored. I don’t have that kind of money. The man said if this problem continued it will ruin all the electronic appliances and computers in our house. But I live on a fixed income that will not allow for the cost of repairs. I don’t have an extra one to two thousand dollars to have the meter box and breaker panel replaced. And if it is the smart meter causing the problem, it will still be there even if they replace the old breakers.

    We figure we didn’t start having this problem until the smart meter was installed.
    We were not contacted about the installation and were not even aware of it until we saw it on the side of our house, replacing the old meter.
    When I contacted the power company, with the complaint that I had researched that the meters were not safe, and I wanted it removed, they denied they could be unsafe and said it was just something I had to live with, more or less.

    So now I live in dread that the house is going to burn down in the night or when we are gone.
    I am having a relative who is an electrician come and take a look at the breaker box. , But home electricians, if they aren’t aware of the problems with smart meters, will just charge a lot of money to replace what they believe is the problem with the old breakers, and get rich while doing it, when the real problem–the smart meter– will continue to cause problems.
    I feel helpless in the face of problems a big power company created and I’m just suppose to buck up and pay the bill.

  3. Just read account about arcing smart meters causing fires. I live in Laguna Woods, CA, a retirement village in Orange County and managed by PCM, INC.
    SCE has just put on their smart meters on every home, usually without any notice. I did not even know I had one until the FIRE INSPECTOR, while making out the report of the electric fire that destroyed most of the house at 1:30AM on April 3, 2012, asked me if the meter was new. It was always a gray metal analog meter, now I was looking at a new smart meter. What I do know is that I was having random trouble with the plugs in 2 rooms. My printer would not start and the computer would turn off and have to be rebooted. The fish tank would stop running etc. I could get things running again, so really wasn’t alerted there was a major problem brewing in the electrical box. For about 3 days before the disaster, my cat was acting strangely. She has always been a quiet little thing so when she was crying all the time as she walked through the house I took notice. I just could not seem to calm her. I had no idea that that has been seen in cats & dogs prior to electric fires. The wires put out a high pitched sound that humans can not hear, but hurt the animals ears. Unfortunately, I am now in a motel, unable to even get in the burned house. Because of asbestos in all the homes here, what wasn’t burned is contaminated. A total loss.
    The electric company is not going to tell any one there is a problem with the smart meters. Residents have died due to “unexplained electrical fires”. Unless residents start demanding the truth, more people, not only seniors, might lose their lives. Materials losses do not matter, but losing a loved one in a fire that should not have happened is immoral.

  4. amateur install = full load “hot” install = arcing = tension = hurry = wrench & torque = bent prongs = fire hazard – post install ongoing arcing = increased current = more recorded arc induced electricity “demand” = dramatic uptick in kwh consumption = dramatic uptick in bill = ca ching

  5. Dear Sirs and Mesdames,
    We the people here in Victoria Australia have had some Smart Metres rolled out and put on peoples properties, that is into their meter boxes. As in America we the house owners own the meter box but not the Electric Meter or Meters, they are owned by Power Core Australia or three other similar companies. I have put a notice on my Meter Box saying…. ” Stop ! do not put a Smart Meter on my property ! The present meter is working perfectly and I do not need a Smart Meter now or in the future.I have also told them that I have my Meter Box Padlocked.

    ” I wrote to the Chief Executive Office of Power Core in Victoria Australia but he “Duck Shoved his duty,” and passed my letter onto the Customer Liasion officer who said that ” although there was a halt on rolling out and putting any more Smart Meters by the Victorian Government for several months into peoples property whilst the Victorian Govt is examining the whole issue from top to bottom.” She rang me at home the other day and I told her that I will not allow her Smart Meter Men to take out my old meter and install the New fangled Smart Meter even if the Victorian Government let Power Core go ahead and continue to begin rolling out Smart Meters again, owing to the ongoing problems that many of our Victorian householders and business are having with these Smart Meters, such as fires breaking out in the Meter Boxes and fridges, washing machines, computers, fax machines and other electrical devices etc.
    I told her I had locked my Meter Box and said that I would only unlock it so the meter man could read it but no way would I allow Power Core to take out my present perfectly good meter and replace it with a now highly suspect Smart Meter.
    I see from what I have read on the Internet that it is now Illegal for any more Smart Meters to be allowed to be placed on Californian peoples properties or businesses.
    The only reason for Smart Meters is to Wheedle ever more money from customers and put the Meter Reader Man out of a Job.

    My Curse on Power Core and their evil ilk !


    Richard Leschen, Ararat, Victoria 3377 Australia.
    Richard Leschen.

  6. I do electrical work among my many tasks and I have to say you don’t force things that don’t fit. I also inspect everything for problems when I work on old stuff. I am just dumbfounded by PG&E willingness to pass on this seemingly easy task especially when some house are just older. Things oxidize, rust, get weak. You got to pay attention to detail and obvious Wellington’s cheap version is not.
    We live in a very rural area where fires are serious business, like they aren’t anywhere, but a house fire can yield a forest fire. As we move into the dry period of the year a fire would be devastating. We are not deployed by any PG&E sortees yet and when they come finally we will either opt out assuming no Smartmeter is involved or go off line permanently.
    What is most disturbing in here is yet another utility overseen by our CPUC doing something downright dangerous. One would think post San Bruno that everyone would be working a bit more safer.
    What we need is a SmartCPUC or a SmartPG&E but what we got is something that…

  7. For those of us who live in apartments,
    can you suggest a form letter that could be sent to landlords,
    especially those landlords who do not live in all the buildings they own.
    For that matter, how about a form letter to City offices of Rent Arbitration offices,
    so they can alert all landlords on their lists.

  8. Haste makes waste.
    How many more problems will it take to stop this automated billing meter project ?
    How many lawsuits will arise out of this program ?
    The whole project has been a failure from day one, and all the ratepayers money has been wasted on shoddy installations by an out of state contractor (Wellington Energy) of untested, unsafe and unwanted radio meters.
    Why does PG&E spend millions of their ratepayers money per day on false advertizing of a product that is a forced sale. No need to advertize, most people do not have a choice unless they guard their property with fences, dogs and guns to fight this all out war upon the citizens with this “deployment” of new meters.
    I hope PG&E and all the other power companies lose their ass in court and are forced out of business over this failed meter project.

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