Stockton Smart Meters Explode After Truck Causes Power Surge

From: CBS Sacramento

A power surge left thousands without power in Stockton on Monday after smart meters on their homes exploded.

The explosions started at around 8:30 a.m. after a truck crashed into a utility pole, causing a surge.

When the customers in more than 5,000 homes get their power back on will depend on how badly damaged their meters are.

Neighbors in the South Stockton area described it as a large pop, a bomb going off, and strong enough to shake a house.

“The neighbor across the street, his meter doesn’t look as bad but his receptacles are all blackened.” said Brad Abernathy.

PG&E says a dump truck crashed near its Alpine substation on Arch Road. When the truck hit the utility pole, the top wire fell onto the bottom wire, creating a power surge.

“The top lines are considered our freeways. The bottom lines are our distribution lines taking power directly to homes,” said PG&E spokeswoman Brandi Ehlers. “So when the two collide, they’re at different voltages and the higher voltage wins out, causing an overload.”

Power is expected to be restored to most customers by Monday evening, but the damage varies by home.

From:Scoop Feed

STOCKTON (CBS13) — A truck crashing into a power pole led to a chain reaction of events that left 8,000 homes without power on Monday, March 30. The wreck has people questioning the safety of California’s requirement that every home must have a smart meter.

The crash happened in Stockton, California, just outside of Sacramento. The wreck caused one power line to fall on top of another, creating a power surge to the homes. The smart meters were unable to handle the surge and exploded. Some of the explosions were serious, others were not. Each home’s smart meter will have to be replaced before power to the home can be turned back on. There is no timetable for the repairs to each individual home.

This is not the first time California’s regulation requiring smart meters in homes has come into question. In August of 2011, a power outage due to a storm in Palo Alto, near San Francisco, created serious problems for a number of homeowners. When Pacific Gas and Electric turned the power back on, the surge blew up a number of smart meters in homes. More than 80 fires were reported, and a number of home appliances were damaged. Homes that did not yet have the smart meters installed reported no problems.

California’s Public Utility Commission has required homes to have smart meters as a way to get consumers to use less energy, especially during peak seasons. Over the past four years, a number of organizations have asked that the program be discontinued.

Smart meter opt-out fees rescinded in Arizona, commissioners fearing liability

At a meeting last Monday, and after spending an hour in “executive session” privately discussing the issue with their lawyers, the Arizona Corporation Commission (ACC) rescinded the decision they made last December to allow APS to charge an extortion fee to people who refuse a “smart” meter.

Last December the ACC had approved a $50 up front fee for those not “grandfathered in” with an existing analog meter, and $5 per month to avoid the harm inherent in “smart” meters. That misguided, illegal and ill-considered ACC decision was appealed both by Pat Ferre of Payson, Arizona and I in separate appeals.

In rescinding their previous decision, the slow-learners at the ACC decided to still allow APS to continue trespassing via their bio-toxic surveillance devices, AKA “smart” meters.

Meanwhile, people may continue to refuse “smart” meters at no cost. Be warned however that calling APS to refuse a “smart” may result in customer abuse. While some calls to APS go smoothly, I still get reports of people being told by APS that they have no more analog meters. That APS claim is nonsense; don’t settle for it.

There is also a recent ACC docket submission by someone complaining that APS replaced their analog meter with a “smart” meter when they had not asked for that. So be vigilant. A rogue utility is at large. It has captured its regulators and should be considered dangerous.

The ACC’s latest decision also allows for APS to reapply for an extortion fee in their next rate case which I believe is not until July, 2016. So the issue is not over..

You can listen to the ACC arrive at their latest decision at the 1:03:37 mark here: They talk for 14 minutes.

Note that even though they had just discussed the issue for an hour privately, when the mikes are on and the public is back in the room, the commissioners have a hard time talking. It’s like they are scared or something. Nobody wants to touch the tar baby. When they finally do begin discussion, they start by repeating the obvious like ‘well, Legal has given us 3 options, #1 is ….’ Note also that actually granting the relief that Pat and I had requested in our appeals — the removal of all “smart” meters as not compliant with various Arizona Revised Statutes — was never mentioned as an option. So the lawlessness continues at the ACC.

A couple telling details, from the AZCentral story:

“Other commissioners said they were unhappy to rescind a decision, although they gave few details as to why they needed to take such action.

“‘This would not have been my preferred mechanism, but maybe the most prudent one,’ Chairwoman Susan Bitter Smith said.

“Commissioner Bob Stump agreed.”

PS – Some people thought $5 per month was good deal. 1) Any amount of money to avoid harm is extortion. 2) There are people for whom $5 is unfordable. 3) “Opt out” is faux choice for people still getting injured by their neighbors’ meters. 4) APS is the party that “opted” everyone “in.” As such, any costs involved in “opting out” belong to APS. 5) $5 can become more very easily. The APS solar fee is a case in point. They asked for $50 and got $5 but are now back asking for $21.

See also:

Smart Grid Awareness: Smart Meter Refusal Fee Rescinded in Arizona (with audio clip)

AZ Central: APS smart-meter fees rescinded


by Warren Woodward