May be OT: Smart meter base fire

http://ca.news.yahoo.com/fire-guts-home-smart-meter-installed-100624843.html
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Should make an interesting court case if it gets that far. I would think forensic investigation of the meter base would be key. If it was obviously badly deteriorated before they swapped the meter, then the homeowner could argue that Hydro should have seen it and notified them, not just swap the meter.
And if it was not badly deteriorated before they swapped, but shows evidence of a new crack, etc, then the homeowner can argue Hydro damaged it.
You also gotta love Hydro's position. Homeowner's should have an electrician regularly inspect the meter base and hydro will pull the meter for $100. LOL
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On 8/5/2012 8:52 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

The basic idea is that the last person to touch something owns it. This sounds a lot like a thread a few months back where it was described the utility hired someone to go house to house to swap out meters as fast as they could including not using bypass jumpers. The folks from our electric utility are carefully trained to examine everything they can when they have the opportunity to do so.
How exactly is a customer supposed to know they should be worried about the meter base? Should they call to have the meter base opened each time DST changes and have their electrician present?
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That would seem to be the position of Hydro..... Which raises the interesting question that if a homeowner is supposed to regularly inspect the meter base, what else in the house electrical system are they supposed to regularly inspect?
Fortunately for the homeowner this will be a fight between their insurance company and Hydro. Hope they have good coverage.
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On Sun, 5 Aug 2012 07:47:16 -0700 (PDT), " snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net"

Insurance companies don't really fight that hard. It is too easy to just use that loss (and others) as an excuse to raise rates.
I can say for a fact, the FPL contractor who swapped my meter did not inspect anything. I am not even sure he would know what to look for. He yanked the old one and popped in the now one in about 10 seconds. The whole process from cutting the seal to putting on the new one was less than a minute. I assume there was some bookkeeping going on in the truck but the meter had my address on the box and the seal was in that box. The old meter and old seal went back in that box. He was doing them 4 on a trip from the truck.
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On 8/5/2012 11:51 AM, snipped-for-privacy@aol.com wrote:

Our electric company has pretty good standards and would never allow that.
Even during the last big northeast blackout everybody dropped off from NYC/ NJ through upstate NY, Canada and into Ohio but even though we are part of the PJM interconnect our utility had spent some bucks to design in protections so when the dominoes started to fall in the companies that were less prudent our utility automatically disconnected itself from the grid to protect itself.
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On 8/5/2012 8:52 AM, snipped-for-privacy@optonline.net wrote:

My hydro company charges $350 for a meter pull, and they've been known to make you wait 10 business days from the day they receive a formal request.
They made me wait 8 business days for a meter pull when I did a panel change a couple of years ago. Electrician and the Electrical Inspector in particular, were none to pleased with them.
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On 8/5/2012 11:24 AM, Duesenberg wrote:

Our electric company does not charge anything additional for routine stuff such as pulling a meter for a service change as you described.
I don't know a lot about it but when I hear "hydro" it is typically someone from Canada. I think the "Hydro" companies are government owned or quasi government owned? That would surely be one explanation for such routinely bad service.
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wrote:

Ours (in Ontario - Kitchener and Waterloo in particular) are municipally owned and operated and are pretty good to work with. Most electricians are authourized to pop and replace the meter - not sure if they install the seal or if the local hydro authourity comes and does that - but most electrical contractors can now even do the inspections - they are spot checked, and if they screw up and get caught they loose the priveledge,
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On 8/5/2012 8:07 AM, Duesenberg wrote:

And then I come across this pdf from my electricity provider: shorting to meter base when meters are pulled
http://haltonhillshydro.com/PDFs/Meter_Base_Failures.pdf
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This guy may have been wearing Z-81 rated sun glasses but that was the only PPE he could have had. Otherwise it was sneakers, shorts and a "FPL Contractor" T shirt. He had 4 meters in a milk box on a little tube frame hand truck.
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Duesenberg wrote:

Why would that be "off-topic" to this group?
The meter-base is a standard part of every home, and issues surrounding it and smart-metering in general is very much "on-topic" for this group.
Replacing a conventional meter with the electronic smart-meter is complete bullshit on many levels.
We all know that the cost of implimenting SM measurement and billing far exceeds the savings in meter-reading costs for utilities, and that it wouldn't happen if not for the fact that home-owners will get stuck for the bill. The issue of billing more appropriately based on the real-time cost of electricity is just pure horse-shit for the residential market ON AN INDIVIDUAL HOUSE-to-HOUSE basis.
But this house fire raises another aspect of the engineering side of this change-over.
Old meter bases and analog meters are examples of high-current infrastructure that can (and frequently do) go decades without physical manipulation. To say that they were designed for X cycles of plug/un-plug becomes stupid for items that have this long time-scale and rarity-of-manipulation.
Statistical modelling would have shown that a large-scale campaign to replace working analog meters with crazy-stupid-ass smart-meters would have resulted in a small number of improper installs that would have resulted in dammage to the base contacts and a high probability of resulting thermal problems and fire.
This single event with BC Hydro will be hashed out in the courts, and someone will end up paying $500k - $1m when this is all over -> and thus any meter-reading cost-savings for this municipality that would have been gained with smart-meters will be lost for the next 5 to 10 years because of this single meter-install-gone-bad event.
Another reason why -> if it's not broke, don't replace a working meter with a smart meter because it will be more expensive for EVERYONE (except the SM maker) in the long run.
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At less than 5 minutes from leaving the truck to returning to the truck, replacing my meter and the neighbour's 15 feet away, I can GUARANTEE the guy who changed mine didn't check any lugs - and more than one try to get the meter on the base should raise an IMMEDIATE red flag to an installer. They should go in "like butta' "
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