Segment #16 – Post-Installation Incidents

RESPONSE TO BCUC’s Staff Report on Smart Meter Fire Safety Concerns

KEY:  Highlighted text is from Sharon Noble  Non-highlighted text is the draft report as written by BCUC staff.


Segment #16

This segment of the BCUC response proves that there have been fires – they admit it. And BC Hydro admits it does NOT track any post-installation problems and knew of 12 because “someone” (I) had asked for information via an FOI. Please read this carefully – this alone should be enough to demand a recall of this program. FortisBC too admits to “thermal” incidents that damaged the meter but didn’t lead to fires.  This means the “thermal” incident was caught before a fire occurred – much like the many photos of the melted meters I sent to BCUC with my complaint.

Sharon Noble

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Post-Installation Incidents

Table 6 shows the number of incidents that caused equipment damage or fire after installation as reported by the utility.

Table 6: Post-Installation Incidents

BC Hydro FortisBC
Incidents for 1,930,000


rate per million installs Incidents for 124,409


rate per million installs
12* 6* 5 40

*BC Hydro states it does not specifically track post-installation incidents. The 12 incidents provided in the attached were identified as a result of internal requests for information to clarify the incidents. (my emphasis)

What an amazing admission.

  • How can Hydro or BCUC say there have been no smart meter fires if these are not tracked? 
  • Hydro has said, and I have in writing, that when a meter fails or is burned, they do not investigate its failure but rather send the meter straight to ITRON for replacement.
  • I suspect that the 12 reports they have indicated were discovered after I reported the incident and asked for information.  How many others occurred that I have not asked for?

Comment: Obvious questions are: Why doesn’t BC Hydro track the after-installation incidents? And how representative are the figures supplied by BC Hydro when they do not record incidents?

FortisBC’s post-installation event of 40 per million indicates that their installation procedures using the hot socket gap indicator and “conservative approach” does not eliminate the hot socket issue. It should be noted that the 5 FortisBC post-installation events were limited to  thermal damage of the meters and did not result in a fire. In comparison, approximately half of BC Hydro’s reported post-installation events resulted in a fire. (my emphasis).

  • What is “thermal damage” to the meter if it isn’t melting or burning?

So BC Hydro does acknowledge that there were some post-installation fires.

  • To what do they attribute these fires? 
  • Did BC Hydro take full responsibility for these fires or did the insurance company or the individual cover any repair or replacement costs?

Comment: This Report states that BC Hydro does not track post-installation incidents so that this statement is a gross error and is misleading.

Through BCUC staff’s investigation 3 confirmed and 4 unconfirmed post-installation incidents were identified beyond the 12 identified by BC Hydro in its response to BCUC questions. BCUC staff’s investigation included review of incidents submitted by a concerned citizen, reported by media, discussion with the BC Safety Authority, the Office of the Fire Commissioner and local fire departments. The identification of additional post-installation incidents   was expected as BC Hydro states they do not track post-installation incidents and the 12 post-installation incidents provided were identified as a result of previous internal requests for information to clarify the incidents

  • Why were these internal requests to clarify incidents made?

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