in Up Front
print the content item



Canadian utility SaskPower has halted its smart meter rollout as it investigates recent fires associated with the meters.

As part of a smart grid project, the company plans to deploy 500,000 smart meters across Saskatchewan and has so far installed about 105,000 units. However, over the past two months, there have been six reported fires at the meters. Tyler Hopson, a SaskPower spokesperson, tells Renew Grid that each incident involved a Sensus smart meter.

According to a July 16 blog post on the utility’s website, the incidents, which the company terms “meter failures,” were “caused by apparent heating at the meter.”

“The safety of our customers and employees is our first priority and is non-negotiable. We take each instance very seriously and, as such, are investigating fully,” the blog says. “It’s important to note that in all cases, the problem has been contained to the location of the meter.”

SaskPower also points out that the six affected meters represent only 0.006% of the total 105,000 units already deployed. Nonetheless, the utility says it has stopped smart meter installations indefinitely until it completes its investigations and feels any potential risks have been addressed. 

“Nothing is more important than the safety of our customers and employees,” writes SaskPower. “While our meters comply with industry standards, we are taking the extra step of ensuring we have done everything possible to ensure the highest level of safety.”

This is not the first time Sensus smart meters have been tied to fires: In 2012, Renew Grid reported that Philadelphia-based utility PECO suspended its smart meter program after experiencing overheating issues with its Sensus meters.

Overall, a PECO spokesperson said there were more than 25 overheating incidents, three of which resulted in fires. Although the utility initially said investigations showed installation issues or “pre-existing conditions with customer equipment” were to blame, PECO later opted to swap out the Sensus meters for Landis+Gyr units and resumed its smart meter program.

When reached for comment for this story, Sensus requested that questions be directed to SaskPower and did not provide further comment regarding the PECO incidents.


Hybrid Energy Innovations 2015
Latest Top Stories

Sensus Issues Refund To SaskPower After Smart Meter Woes

As SaskPower continues to swap out its Sensus units following several meter failures, the two companies have reached an agreement in order for the utility to recover costs.


The Smart Utility's Guide To Choosing A Smart Meter

Electricity providers across North America are taking on grid modernization. This article outlines the myriad factors a utility should consider in order to select the best-possible smart meter.


DOE Report: U.S. Wind Power Prices Reach All-Time Low

According to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE), wind power continues to play a larger role in the U.S.' energy mix and is the cheapest it has ever been in the country.


Survey Reveals What U.S. Consumers Expect From Their Utilities

GE's new survey measures Americans' views on the state and future of the grid, as well as how much extra consumers would be willing to pay for better power reliability.


How A GIS Can Help Utilities Address The Aging Workforce And Capitalize On Data

Baby Boomers, whose experience and know-how have served the utility industry so well for decades, are retiring. The author suggests utilities can use a geographic information system (GIS) to fill in resultant knowledge gaps.

S&C Electric_id176
Hybrid Energy Innovations 2015
edf_id180
Future Energy_id187