Smart Meters Installed With Electric Power On–Fire Results
On August 17, 2010, in Arlington, Texas (near Dallas), Oncor technicians were replacing a perfectly functional analog electric meter with a “smart” meter. The electricity was NOT turned off to the property before the meter swap was done and the wires caused an electrical short and smoke.
The official report stated the following:
“Command talked to Oncor Tech’s [sic] and the information they relayed is that due to the age of the residences in the area and the black gumbo soil that is known to cause major foundation problems, it is also a major cause of the problems encountered during the meter switch. The electrical service to the homes in this area are underground and over the years the majority of the service boxes on the exterior walls are in dire need of repair as they have pulled away from the walls or the bottom pipe connector has pulled out of the box and the feed lines are stretched to the max. When crews come out to change the meter they pull down to remove it. When this happens and due to the above stated issues the plastic connectors break and the feed line contacts the metal box fusing the line open and overloading the wiring in the home. …Command talked to Oncor claims rep about how to avoid this happening again [this was the 2nd house fire in 2 days in Arlington caused by smart meter installations]. FD’s suggestion was that when Oncor in [sic] working in the area they should cut power to the homes they will be working on first then pull meter so that if a connector breaks it can be repaired quickly without either a fire or shorted out equipment occurring.”
So Oncor says that older homes are a major problem with smart meter installation, yet they give residents no notice of the installation (in the case where somebody would even know they might be at risk and could try to protect themselves) and they certainly seem to be blaming anyone who lives in an older home for any safety problems encountered when Oncor switches meters. And (according to Oncor), there is no way to opt-out of installation under any circumstances.
Since August of 2010, Oncor has continued to install meters without cutting power to homes first. One of their employees, Rick McCullough, admitted it in court, under oath during one of the hearings in the lawsuit referenced in previous postings on the bansmartmeters.com site.
If they do cut power without giving residents advanced notice, they are violating Public Utility Commission (PUC) rules.
If you see anyone from Oncor (or any other electric utility in Texas) installing smart meters without cutting power at the pole first, please take photos and report it to us. And if they do cut power without prior notice, also report that.
For details of the cause of the fire and damages, see Arlington Fire Department’s report.