QUEBEC-Risk of “burst” force the withdrawal of 4300 meters

LA PRESSE.CA

Published May 27, 2016 at 05: 00 am | Last updated at 05:00

Risk of “burst” force the withdrawal of 4300 meters

Les 4300 compteurs d'ancienne génération, pour la plupart... (PHOTO BERNARD BRAULT, LA PRESSE)

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4300 meters of older generation, mostly installed in small businesses, should be replaced by the end of the year by ‘intelligent’ newer models.

Some 4300 meters legacy must be replaced emergency by Hydro-Québec this month because of the risk “burst” and “expulsion” of the device. Here what all these defective meters be removed over the next few days, the Crown Corporation recommends citizens to wear “safety in the vicinity of the counter glasses”.

Twenty-two incidents involving a Sentinel Itron 345 V meter, a model manufactured from 2005 to 2009, have been identified by Hydro-Québec in recent years. Part to protect counter voltage variations can cause a short circuit inside the unit if it is faulty. “[The result] is an expulsion or a break-up of the meter. It happened in a number very, very limited cases. Talking about less than 1% of these counters”, said Marc – Antoine Pouliot, spokesman for Hydro-Québec.

22 breakage caused “minor damage” and caused no fire. Nobody was injured, says spokesman, who does not consider the device as “dangerous.”

“Our analytical grid, it is zero risk, it is for this said people in the letter, if you approach the counter, put on safety glasses. ” It is the principle of zero risk.”

Marc-Antoine Pouliot
spokesman of Hydro-Québec

These 4300 meters of older generation, mostly installed in small businesses, should be replaced by the end of the year by ‘intelligent’ newer models. But because the problem detected in the month of April, Hydro-Québec has decided to speed up their replacement.

“It’s very very very recently was the link of cause to effect with breakage. There had been incidents before, but it was believed isolated. In April, has been testing and quickly found the need to replace the counters”, explains Marc-Antoine Pouliot.

“WHO PAID FOR IT? ”

Already, 3300 appliances were withdrawn by the Crown Corporation technicians. “It still approximately 1000 to replace. It has already met with all traders. We took an appointment with them. They have asked us to wait a bit to avoid an interruption in their activities”, said Marc-Antoine Pouliot.

Gérard Castonguay, a trader in the Borough of Outremont in Montreal, is part of this group. He was surprised to receive a letter from Hydro-Québec, two weeks ago, indicating that one of its electricity, installed recently, meters should be replaced to soon. “I find it curious that we have changed our counters two years ago and on the spare me. It is an astronomical cost!”, he wonders.

The Montrealers deplores that the activities of its printing company should be disturbed by the fault of Hydro‑Québec. “They say they will come between 8: 00 and 17: 00 and they will cut electricity. But come before or after the hours of work! It is a small printing press. It means that all the time, I have 20 people who are not working”, he denounced.

Gérard Castonguay also questioned the extent of the costs of this operation of replacement of counters. “Who pays for it? ” Is the manufacturer who pay the installation, removal, the campaign of customer notification, repeated appeals, the technician who comes to us, etc.? I have been waiting since two months installing a new connection in the nearby building and Hydro tells me that there is no time. But there is time to change the meter? », he says.

Early replacement of these older generation meters will be without additional cost, according to Hydro-Québec, as the operation was already planned in the coming months. The American company Itron will be prosecuted for having delivered defective meters? “It is a question that our lawyers are evaluating,” said the spokesman of Hydro-Québec, stingy of comments on this issue.

A SMART METER IN THE VAST MAJORITY OF HOUSEHOLDS

Despite a noisy opposition to the project, Hydro-Québec has started to replace the 4 million electricity meters of the province in 2012 by new generation devices, so-called “intelligent”. Since then, 3.8 million meters have been installed in the vast majority of households in the province. There are about 200 000 meters of older generation, as the Sentinel 345 V of Itron model. Over the next year, almost all these old meters will be withdrawn from circulation. Smart meters automatically transmit data of consumption of electricity to Hydro-Québec, without the intervention of an employee on the premises, as was previously the case.

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