Not-so-smart meters

The root of the smart meter sorcery./ Daryl Mitchell

The root of the smart meter sorcery./ Daryl Mitchell

SaskPower pushes meters that burst up trying to read power levels.

Author: Billy Patterson

I remember when SaskPower launched their smart meter program; I remember because I opted out. At the time, I had strove to make my home as electronics-free as possible. The cellphone stayed in the car and for months I didn’t even have one. The laptop stayed off (one year and counting… it’s broken I think), and I felt relative peace and meditative calm within my humble sanctuary. Imagine my surprise this year when I see that a smart-meter has been installed on my house without my consent, against my overtly expressed wishes. I was pretty pissed off. I felt like it was intrusive to have this EMF-pulsating machine transmitting my energy usage every few seconds to be gathered by SaskPower. This technology can measure the amount of electricity you use for each device plugged into the grid. Because of this, I feel that it provides the government, which remotely monitors these meters, with too much information on my personal habits.

And all that was before houses started burning down. Albert Kobialko is currently suing SaskPower after his house burnt to the ground when the outsourced Texas-based installers were switching his meter.

“They’re the one who caused the fire and are not taking responsibility for it,” he said in a CBC interview.

So far, only nine fires from smart meters have been confirmed, but several more people have complained about burn marks and smoke when their change took place. Since beginning installations, SaskPower reports that people returned 359 meters, of which 21 were burnt and 174 were not operational due to over-charging and over-counting energy use. This entire project reminds me of GMO’s in our foods. With yet another industry not doing its due diligence on its product, who knows what the results will be until it’s too late? Now every individual in the 65,000+ homes with smart-meters has to face the possibility that their home may burn to the ground while they are sleeping or away. All this is due to the inept management of SaskPower and our provincial government.

Nov. 7, 2014 was the most recent official smart-meter fire in Regina. According to the Leader-Post, a woman named Joan Riemer heard a bang at around 1:30 a.m. and went outside to find her smart meter on fire and it had spread to her barbeque cover. Luckily, she was home and moved her BBQ before the two propane tanks attached to it ignited. That is a substantially terrifying situation to wake up to, and it could happen to almost any person in this province right now.

After the Crown Investment Corporation found that SaskPower did not have sufficient concern for the public safety, CEO Robert Watson resigned. And SaskPower’s new aerial camera-drone could conceivably replace him and do a better job managing our public utility then our current government’s appointees.  If Brad Wall isn’t to blame, the buck should definitely stop with Economy Minister Bill Boyd.

Boyd himself said in an interview with the Leader-Post that, “[if] there was information presented (to government), and we didn’t act on it, clearly there would be a problem with that and I would resign.”

He also told CJME Newstalk 980 radio, “Of course there’s no other way to test them, than to put them on a house.” Later in that interview, he declared, “[any] time that somebody is put at risk in terms of safety that is not something the government of Saskatchewan would want to see happen. If that happened, that is wrong.”

It’s deplorable he has not resigned. He has even tried to spin this crisis to seem like it was his government’s decision to remove the smart meters three days after the seventh and eighth confirmed smart meter fires this summer. The opposition has proven SaskPower decided to remove the meters itself and informed the government of this decision the day before the Sask Party made their ‘big announcement’ the program had been cancelled.

There has been at least one death caused by Sensus meters in the United States. Will it take a death here in Saskatchewan before our government takes responsibility on this catastrophically managed project? Is this how they are managing our burgeoning tar sands enterprise, and carbon “capture,” storage and re-release project? Probably: it’s Business as usual in Saskatchewan.

1 comment

  1. J.G. Smith 20 November, 2014 at 12:21

    “Of course there’s no other way to test them, than to put them on a house.” Are you kidding me????? That’s the equivalent of stating that the best way to test a new drug is to just go ahead and start the injections.

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