Officials from PECO spoke before the Pennsylvania Public Utilities Commission (PCU) Thursday afternoon in Harrisburg to assure the commission and members of the public that the company’s smart meters are safe for use on residences, 6ABC.com reported.
The smart meters, which can now be found on over 200,000 area homes, have been linked to several overheating incidents. They are also connected to fires in Bristol, Newtown, Upper Makefield and other Bucks County communities.
PECO officials testified to the PCU that the smart meters installed at customers homes are safe, according to 6ABC. However, the utility several weeks ago suspended all new smart meter installation for the time being.
Since the utility began installing the smart meters in spring, 26 meters have overheated and two of those incidents caused property damage beyond the area surrounding the meter. It has been determined through a forensic investigation that 7 incidents were caused by pre-existing conditions with customer equipment and another 7 were caused by installation issues or water intrusion. The company also reported recently that 12 incidents remain under investigation.
As part of the meter upgrade program, PECO has been using several different brand's meters. Sensus brand meters appear to be the only ones to have overheating issues.
"We have extensive empirical evidence as to the safety of the Sensus meter," Randolph Wheatley, a meter company representative, told 6ABC.
PECO has been working on wirelessly updating the Senus smart meters' software. The update adds a feature that would shut a meter off if overheating occurs. An early alarm system is also being installed, spokeswoman Cathy Engel Menendez told Patch last week. The utility is also working with Senus on the issue.
In an effort to test meters from different companies, PECO has replaced thousands of the Sensus meters with the L&G brand to see if that product performs better, Engel Menendez said.
Thursday’s hearing is Harrisburg was done at the request of the PUC.
A similar hearing was held in Maryland last week to discuss several Sensus meter overheating incidents that have occurred in that state, according to the Balimore Sun.
Smart meters and related overheating bouts are also becoming an issue in several states.
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