2015-10-29 A summary of a discussion with a fire inspector

A few days ago I spoke with a fire inspector who asked to remain anonymous for obvious reasons. I will summarize our discussion which confirms many things I suspected:

Legally nothing is to be removed from the scene of a fire before an inspection has been done and approval is given.

Hydro takes meters from fires all the time, taking them before cutting the power from the pole. Often the firemen are left waiting for power to be cut at the lines so they can fight the fire without worrying about live wires.

The Provincial Fire Commissioner should be insisting that this practice end, and he doesn’t understand why it is being allowed. I told him that the Commissioner told me initially that meters were never removed prior to the inspector’s approval, but when I showed him reports which say this has happened, he said the meters are “hydro’s equipment” and they have a right to take them.

He expressed frustration, saying that without seeing everything at the fire scene, it is impossible to rule in or rule out the possible involvement of the meters.

When I asked him who is responsible for enforcing this law he said the BC Safety Authority (BCSA). I told him that the BCSA told me that they were told not to get involved with the smart meter program.

He felt the firemen should be pushed to complain, to protect the meter from Hydro, preventing its removal so that it can be inspected.

He said arcing on meter bases is not uncommon, but there could be more than one reason:

a) Sloppy installation by poorly trained Corix installers could damage the “blades” that fit into the base. Arcing and fire could occur as a result many months after installation.

b)   Some defect in the meter, but he hasn’t been able to inspect any.

c) I told him about the Texas legal brief with testimony about the meter not fitting the base properly. He had not heard about this.

He was not aware that fire reports are often not available from the fire commissioner’s office since he knows they are written at the fire dept and by the inspectors.

It was his opinion that all electrical devices eventually fail and felt it was dangerous to have any electrical meters. The analog meters were safe.

He was not aware that the meters were not CSA certified and felt we should be putting more pressure on CSA to test and certify.

He felt people in the Coalition should be speaking with their fire depts., pushing them to demand that the meters be left, and that the law be enforced.

I told him about the Quebec firefighters asking for this, expressing the same concerns he has.

I told him that an anonymous fireman told me they were told they should refer to Len Garis’s report (the one commissioned and paid for by Hydro) if they were asked about smart meters. The inspector’s opinion of the report was that it was useless, misleading and weak.

Hydro has told some firemen that they are taking the meter to be inspected at their lab. But when I asked Hydro’s lab (Powertech) for the reports on the meters they’d inspected, they said they had never inspected a smart meter. When I asked Hydro about this they said when they get a “failed meter” they immediately return it to ITRON for replacement under the warranty. Hydro does not inspect the meter for damage or cause of failure.  I shared this info with the inspector.

He told me that unless a fire inspector has definite proof of cause of fire he must say the cause is “undetermined”. So if the meter has been removed but the base shows damage that might lead him to suspect involvement of the meter, he can make notes about this but he must say the cause is undetermined. This is why Hydro can say there have been no smart meter fires reported. The evidence either is destroyed in the fire or it is removed and sent away.

I told him many reports say the electrical distribution equipment on the home was involved, but yet the cause is “undetermined.” The electrical distribution equipment refers to the meter in most instances, as Len Garis himself reported.  The inspector agreed that the smeter is considered “electrical distribution equipment”.

Conclusion: We must talk with firemen and fire chiefs. They must be urged to make Hydro stop taking the smeters.

We must write to our MLAs, even Bill Bennett,  everyone we can think of and demand that the law be enforced.

Our lives and property are being endangered, property is being destroyed, and Hydro is preventing the fire inspectors from doing their jobs.

If Hydro wants to stop us from believing that these meters are causing fires, then they should leave the meters. Why are they taking them unless they are hiding evidence?


Newsletter prepared by Sharon Noble

“An activist is someone who cannot help but fight for something. That person is not usually motivated by a need for power, or money, or fame, but in fact driven slightly mad by some injustice, some cruelty, some unfairness – So much so that he or she is compelled by some moral engine to act to make it better.”- Eve Ensler