Wiring burns after smart meter installed

Nanaimo mother blames smart meter for electrical faults in home.

A Nanaimo mother is questioning the safety of B.C. Hydro smart meters after malfunctions and a near fire in her home’s electrical system.

The smart meter was installed at Ashley Suggett’s home on Weeks Crescent Nov. 18.

“Less than a week later our electricity started going funky,” Suggett said. “We had strobe lights for our dining room table, my daughter’s room would just go crazy, our TV in our rec room would just flick itself on. My daughter is convinced our house is haunted. The cats were going nuts.”

Suggett said one of her cats would stare at the wall in her daughter’s bedroom at the spot where the electrical meter is installed on the outside of the home.

When she turned her stove on, the lights in the kitchen would brighten, but the stove would not heat.

Suggett tried checking the breakers in the electrical service panel, hired an electrician and finally called B.C. Hydro, when power to her home failed altogether.

The problems stemmed from overheated wiring where the electrical meter is plugged in the house.

Suggett was without power for two days while repairs were made.

Ted Olynyk, B.C. Hydro spokesman, said B.C. Hydro changes 40,000 meters annually for various reasons and encounter few problems.

“This isn’t a meter issue and it certainly isn’t a smart meter issue,” Olynyk said. “A lot times we’re finding it’s a wiring issue.”

Olynyk said the meter swaps, which are being handled by technicians working for subcontractor Corix, simply involve the power being switched off to the house, the old meter is unplugged, the new one is plugged in and the power is then restored to the house.

It is the responsibility of the homeowner to ensure that the wiring in the home is in good condition, he added.

“With older homes, for whatever reason, there can be a degradation of the wiring completely beyond the control of the homeowner,” he said. “There may have been multiple home owners and they may not know the condition of the wiring.”

Olynyk described the degradations as silent hazards that would be there regardless of whether the meters were changed.

“With installing 400,000 meters across the province, we’ve become aware of a few rare problems that have become evident to us,” Olynyk said, adding that in those cases, B.C. Hydro is working with homeowners to make sure service is restored.

He did not know how many issues similar to Suggett’s had occurred in Nanaimo.

There have also been instances, Olynyk said, where installation technicians spotted a degradation of the box the meter plugs into and cancelled installations until the problem is corrected.

Suggett, who rents the home, said power has since been restored and everything appears to be working correctly, but there is still a hole in the wall of her daughter’s bedroom where burned wiring had to be replaced. Her husband’s stereo and some entertainment equipment belonging to a downstairs tenant is not working.

Suggett said she does not have tenants insurance and is waiting to see what costs for repairs or replacement of the equipment will be covered.

Just Posted

Nanaimo council won’t OK Front Street bike lanes right now

Public consultation will take place before council considers approving $400,000 project

Nanaimo craft brewery’s blonde ale best in B.C.

White Sails Brewing’s Bastion Blonde Ale takes first place at B.C. Beer Awards

Huard’s Haunted House returns to terrify mid Island for another spooky season

Halloween attraction open in Cassidy every night through Oct. 31

Green Party’s Paul Manly re-elected in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

John Hirst of the Conservatives runner-up, Bob Chamberlin of the NDP third

Green Party’s Paul Manly re-elected in Nanaimo-Ladysmith

John Hirst of the Conservatives runner-up, Bob Chamberlin of the NDP third

Estheticians can’t be forced to wax male genitals, B.C. tribunal rules

Langley transgender woman Jessica Yaniv was ordered to pay three salon owners $2,000 each

Two youth arrested in UBC carjacking at gunpoint, after being spotted in stolen Kia

‘A great deal of credit is due the alert person who called us,’ said North Vancouver Sgt. Peter DeVries

People’s Party of Canada’s anti-immigration views ‘didn’t resonate’ with voters: prof

Party was formed on anti-immigration, climate denying views in 2018

Windstorm knocks out power for 10,000 in north and central B.C.

Power slowly being restored, BC Hydro says

Investor alert: ‘Split games’ pyramid scheme circulating in B.C.

British Columbia Securities Commission issues warning about scheme selling virtual shares

Federal NDP may support B.C. with major projects, Carole James says

SkyTrain Surrey extension, Massey Tunnel need Ottawa’s help

‘Issue-by-issue parliament’: Expert says Liberals need to placate NDP to be effective

Scandals, social issues, racism defined 2019 federal election, SFU prof says

‘Wexit’ talk percolates day after Liberals returned to power with minority

An online petition is calling for a western alliance and Alberta to separate

Most Read