ComEd Says Some Of Its Wireless Meters Are Maybe Kinda Starting Small Fires

Wireless meters have been making the headlines lately — whether they’re tracking parking spots or submitting power-use information to electric companies, and today Commonwealth Edison has a bit more unfortunate news. It announced that several of its smart meters have been involved in “small fires” in the Chicago area.

ComEd claims the problems aren’t because of the actual meters themselves but instead can be blamed on how they’re installed in homes and businesses. These fires are just the latest in a slew of unfortunate events connected to the devices, notes the Chicago Tribune.

A sister company of ComEd stopped its smart-meter installation in Philadelphia after 15 of 186,000 installed devices overheated. One fire was reported in that case. This week, Maryland regulators held a hearing with the four major electricity companies due to concerns relating to the Philadelphia incident. Baltimore Gas and Electric Co. cited five incidents of overheating smart meters in that area as well.

“ComEd customers can be assured that we are taking every precaution possible to ensure their safety and satisfaction,” ComEd said in a statement. “We are working hand-in-hand with our PECO colleagues to understand and apply their key learnings here in northern Illinois.”

The meters are in about 130,000 homes and businesses so far, and the company says issues related to overheating have been few and far between. The company is now going to focus on how the devices are connected, as the incidents with small fires all had problems with the same type of socket.

“Technicians will look out for and modify the connection point when needed during full deployment of smart meters,” ComEd said.

ComEd confirms smart meters involved in ‘small fires’ [Chicago Tribune]



Edit Your Comment

  1. Blueskylaw says:

    Not to worry folks, ComEd won’t charge you more than
    $50.00 to come over and change their faulty meters.

    What – you actually thought that THEY were going to eat the costs on this? LOL

  2. incident-man stole my avatar says:

    I thought I saw a news reports that the same meters are starting fires in the Baltimore area…. of course now the Exelon owns BGE I expectthe same poor service that ConEd customers receive

  3. Bladerunner says:

    Puts that homeowner who refused to let the guy on her property without doing things properly into a whole new light, doesn’t it?

    • GitEmSteveDaveHatesChange says:

      Still nuts. ONE unit out of 186,000 caught fire. If my math is correct, that is .00001% of the devices. Devices that use power, batteries, electronics, etc… How many laptops/other consumer electronics catch fire every year?

  4. dpeters11 says:

    When Duke changed out meters here, they had to to replace a lot, due to gas leaks. What was worse was that it took a local news channel to get them to take it seriously.

  5. samonela says:

    Good thing our snazzy new meter is outside the baby’s room and not ours!

    No wait…

  6. PragmaticGuy says:

    Geez, with all those 55″ monitors at the new AT&T store that place will go up like a bar-be-cue in no time.

  7. Press1forDialTone says:

    This is Public Service Announcement:

    As all forms of electrical devices will be manufactured with
    the ability to communicate over the incoming electrical
    supply (disclosure not required yet, Obama wants disclosure,
    Romney does not), there must be a device to receive the information
    from inside our home and retransmit it using some medium: over the larger
    electrical network, wirelessly, etc). Be extremely wary of “smart meters”
    as they have the potential to -become- just an intrusive as a hacker
    taking control of your home computer via your Internet connection
    and will have serious privacy issues that must be addressed -after- the
    utility companies have control of the appliances (by default) and collect
    more data about you and your home energy use than is their business as
    long as you pay your bill.

    • fleef says:

      With all of the poor utility guys getting weapons pointed at them, people looming over them menacingly spouting all kinds of conspiratorial accusations, it’s actually quite easy to have a smart meter removed from your property, even if you are in an apartment! They communicate using Part 15 & 18 (unlicensed frequencies)simply tell your power co. you do not like their equipment interfering with YOUR equipment… my local electric provider APS removed my meter within 3 days of my complaining to a non-radio communicating one after I told them their radio transmitter “interfered with my wireless equipment and X-10 telephone system” (why not bring up two complaints in case one didn’t convince them..?) they were very polite about it and it was removed in a timely manner, with an apology from the company.

    • GitEmSteveDaveHatesChange says:

      So don’t fear the cable/phone company that provides your internet connection. Beware the electric company.

  8. HomerSimpson says:

    So if the meter attached to your house bursts into flames, whose fault is it?

  9. Dilbitz says:

    Since I have the meter in my basement, I’ve been whining to ComEd to put the smart meter in so I dont have to be home for a reading. They tell me its not available yet in my area. Glad I dont have a new meter now!

    I have had an estimated bill for about two years because they always come when I’m not home to let them in. I’ve tried calling my readings in, and they say theyre wrong. If I have someone come by, my reading was correct after all. Huge pain in the butt…