- Three smart meters have caught fire in Portland General Electric's (PGE) service territory and the incidents have prompted a mass recall and refit of 70,000 installed residential meters.
- The fires were caused by electrical component failures within the meters, the Sensus 2S Gen3 RD, which were installed between 2010 and 2012 and are typically used in rented homes and commercial spaces as they can be switched on and off remotely.
- The utility hopes to have all 70,000 smart meters replaced with new models by October.
PGE first embarked on its smart meter roll-out in 2008 and today has another 785,000 meters installed in its Oregon in addition to the 70,000 that will be replaced.
Sensus, the meter manufacturer, was made aware of possible problems with the meter by PGE as early as last year. Although PGE raised its concerns with Sensus, the meter maker is not issuing a recall order, said Bill Nicholson, senior vice president of customer service at PGE.
Canadian utility SaskPower put the brakes on its own smart meter roll-out earlier this month following several smart meter-related fires within the space of a couple of months — these meters, too, were made by Sensus. PECO, the Philadelphia-based utility, already replaced Sensus smart meters in its territory in 2012 for the same reason.
"The industry, as a whole, has experienced meter issues for years," said Sensus spokeswoman Linda Palmer. "Given that there are more than 40 million meters deployed to date in North America, the failure rates are very low."