Truck Crash Causes Smart Meters to Explode

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. They are concerned that incidents like the truck accident or severe weather will have larger implications if the smart meters are blowing up or damaging appliances as a result of the outages.

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