In Canada, nearly a dozen house fires have been started by newly installed smart meters, causing a massive recall of over 105,000 devices. The meters are Sensus Generation 3.3 smart meters, which were installed by SaskPower, the local government utility monopoly.
According to the Ontario Fire Marshal, smart meters have been linked to 23 cases of fire between 2011 – 2013. Of those cases, ten were meter failures caused by internal faults, while 13 were small fires linked to high-resistance heating.
After the most recent fires were reported, the Ontario Energy Board, a government agency, spent two weeks attempting to find out who else might be at risk, as thousands of families waited nervously.
After the investigation was complete, the agency claimed that no other homes were at risk, but they still felt the need to uninstall all of the meters across the province, retest them, and then reinstall new ones. When it is finally finished the re-installation process will cost at least $15 million.
Unfortunately, these incidents have not deterred the government from their smart meter policy, but instead they are insisting that it is only a specific model number that was not tested properly, which caused the fires.
“I don’t know whether there was enough testing done. We’ll certainly be conducting, along with SaskPower, an internal review of the procurement procedures around this around the safety concerns people had. We want to determine when these were originally ordered, if there were safety concerns known at that point in time, so we have a lot of questions we’re going to be discussing with SaskPower about how this came to be,” Canadian Energy Minister Bill Boyd said in a statement.
However, SaskPower says that there is nothing wrong with their meters, and that the fires were likely a result of improper installations.
Despite the massive recall, both the government and the corporations involved with developing the devices are downplaying their potential danger.
Fire isn’t the only potential risk caused by smart meters, many researchers have also suggested that these devices emit radiation, which could be harmful in large doses. Others are concerned about the invasion of privacy created by the devices, and how they could allow government agents to monitor every aspect of their personal energy use.