Wires dangling and meter fires when surge blows out 60-70 Smart Meters, November 2013

From Ontario, Canada
Forest Standard, November 7, 2013:

Surge Blows Smart Meters, Leaves Neighbourhood Without Hydro

by Eric Nixon

Hydro One replaced upwards of 70 Smart Meters that blew out in a power surge on Eureka Street on Thursday, October 31st. Some of the meters reportedly caught fire, while others were blown off houses completely, leaving bare wires dangling.

Families on Eureka Street in Forest found out the Hydro One Smart Meters they have on their homes aren’t quite as smart as they were led to believe. A power surge blew out between 60-70 of the meters on the street and led to hydro [electric power] being shut off for more than a day, starting about 1:00 pm on Halloween.

Don Plowright, who lives with his wife in the Fairview Court Apartments, says the meters sustained a lot of damage. “Some of them blew right off and hit one of the windows,” he remarks. “Ours was all blackened. The people next to us, the meter was blown right off and the wires were sticking out.”

That led to Hydro One taking immediate action to prevent anyone from getting injured. “They cut all the wires leading into the apartment building, so that no one could get electrocuted,” says Plowright.

Apparently, this was a totally new experience for Hydro One crews. “They were really surprised. They said that they’d never had anything like this happen before. There’s safety things that they have that if anything happens, it will short everything out. But, for some reason, it didn’t. That why all the things blew,” Plowright recounts.

Hydro One employee Ron Core, one of the crew members onsite, says the surge was caused when a 16,000 volt line landed on a 2,000 volt line during the high winds last Thursday, blowing one transformer and destroying the Smart Meters.

… When [the meters] were installed at his former residence, Plowright says, “The guy that looked after that say they’re not very good. Most of the old ones were made in Canada. These are made in China and they’re not made to stand up to real rough weather. He didn’t think much of them.” The meters are manufactured by a company called Landis + Gyr, which is headquartered in Switzerland, but was bought by Toshiba Corporation of Japan in 2011.

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