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.
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.