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Representatives from Philadelphia-based utility PECO and smart meter vendors Sensus and Landis+Gyr attended a Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission (PUC) special meeting in Harrisburg yesterday.

The PUC called the meeting last week to discuss PECO's recently suspended smart grid program. The utility halted its program in August amid overheating issues with its Sensus meters and two related fires in Bucks County. (PECO spokesperson Cathy Engel Menendez recently told Renew Grid a third fire occurred on Sept. 6.)

At the meeting, Mike Innocenzo, the utility's senior vice president of operations, reassured the commission that PECO is dedicated to safety and addressing any issues with its smart meter installations. He also said the utility is planning to cover damages caused by overheated meters, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

Although the utility has installed both Landis+Gyr and Sensus units, all 26 confirmed overheating issues occurred with Sensus meters.

Local news station 6ABC Action News reports one PUC member asked PECO, "Is the company willing to make the decision that 'We're going to go with the meter that's not causing these issues’?"

"We are absolutely committed to safety, and we are committed to the success of this project,” said Innocenzo. "As we make our decision going forward, it will only be for the decision that we can ensure provides for safe and reliable service for our customers.”

PECO’s smart grid program remains on hold while the utility further investigates the issues, but PUC Chairman Robert Powelson noted that the meeting wasn’t a witch hunt against smart meters.

According to Action News, he said, "This hearing is not a debate about whether or not to meter. We are moving forward with metering in Pennsylvania.”


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