“On the morning of June 24, I became aware of a very strong odour of what seemed to be hot or burning metal in my house. I traced the source to my Smart Meter located inside my house,” recalled Meaford resident David Mason. “I for some reason, put my hand on the box the Smart Meter was plugged into and it was extremely hot!”
Mason, his wife and their two dogs were all in the home at the time.
He told The Independent that after finding the source of the burning odour, he phoned an electrician, who advised him to call the hydro company who in turn advised him to call an electrician while awaiting a hydro crew to arrive.
“They took my info and said they would have a crew respond as soon as possible, but that I should call an electrician as their responsibility ended at the glass in the meter,” Mason told The Independent.
Both the electrician and Hydro One arrived at the home quickly, Mason said.
When the electricians removed the Smart Meter from the panel box, it was clear that Mason’s home had narrowly escaped a much more serious situation.
Mason said that the Smart Meter was in-tact, and undamaged, however the wires leading to the meter were burned.
“The Smart Meter itself was not replaced as it in fact was not damaged. The damage was to the wiring in the box the meter plugs into. The box was replaced by Ormsby Electrical who responded very quickly after I contacted them,” Mason told The Independent.
Mason contacted The Meaford Fire Department the following day (June 25) to advise them of what had happened, and they attended the residence later that afternoon to begin an investigation, and they advised Mason that the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) will be called in to conduct an investigation.
A recent incident in Collingwood, initially blamed on a faulty Smart Meter was later determined to have been the result of other, unknown causes according to the Electrical Safety Authority who investigated that incident along with the Collingwood Fire Department.
“It is clear from the pattern of the fire and damage to equipment that the fire originated outside the electrical meter,” the ESA said in a press release earlier this month.
In January of this year, the ESA ordered the removal of 5,400 meters in Ontario which were similar in design to the Smart Meters thought responsible for several house fires in Saskatchewan. Last year Saskatchewan replaced every Smart Meter that had been installed in the province – 105,000 of them – at a cost of several million dollars. The meter in C0llingwood was not the same make and model as those ordered removed by the ESA.
When asked how safe he feels with a potentially dangerous Smart Meter inside his home, Mason said that the incident has caused he and his wife some anxiety.
“As far as feeling safe in my home, I guess my wife and I are now somewhat paranoid about it. Even though it’s a new installation, I have found myself touching the box to see if it is getting hot. As well, my house is wood framed with wood siding, and we are bordered on two sides by forest. My neighbour on the east is surrounded by pine forest as are the next two homes. The potential here for a major disaster is disturbing,” said Mason who added that he is more concerned now about the province selling a controlling interest of Hydro One to a private company.
“Given the fact that the present government is going to sell off a good chunk of Hydro One to an unaccountable private entity, I am more concerned than ever about the chances of a major problem arising,” he said.
The Meaford Fire Department had not responded to a request for comment at the time of publication on Thursday evening (June 25), however we will be following up on this story over the next few days as more information comes available, and the Fire Department has had an opportunity to respond to questions from The Independent.