article text by Monica Hernandez, ABC/WFAA | see original article
DALLAS — A family believes an Oncor electrical meter sparked a fire that killed a man in South Dallas Tuesday night. Now, investigators are working with Oncor to see whether that’s the cause.
The fire happened in the 4000 block of Spring Avenue around 10:30 [Monday] night. The next morning, family members still trying to process their loss looked over the charred remains of James Humphrey, Jr.’s home.
Relatives who live next door tried to rescue him, but the flames pouring out of his bedroom window were so heavy, no one could get in. Firefighters found him dead on his bedroom floor.
“He had lived his life, and he had a good life, but he just didn’t deserve to lose his life like this,” said Alfreda Johnson, Humphrey’s cousin and caregiver.
Johnson, who lives next door, went to check on Humphrey just before the fire broke out — never expecting it would be the last time she’d see him. She says Humphrey’s arthritis probably made it difficult for him to escape, but believes none of this would have happened if Oncor hadn’t installed a new smart meter on the home three weeks ago.
She believes the home’s wiring is too old for the new meter, claiming that’s also the reason a fire broke out at her home next door three years ago.
“When are they going to own up and take responsibility for these old houses? They’re putting these smart meters out here and these old houses cannot carry the weight of those smart meters with the wiring,” said Johnson.
SMART METER FIASCO: Fatalities & Liability
• Man dies in “smart” meter fire (Vacaville, CA – July 2013)
• Fatal fire, smart meter suspected: “Be very aware, very vigilant” says Fire Chief (Reno, NV – Sept 2014)
• Couple escapes house fire, dogs killed: smart meter blamed (Detroit, MI – October 2014)
• SaskPower to replace 105,000 faulty “smart” meters (Saskatchewan, CAN – July 2014)
• SaskPower CEO resigns following investigation into smart meter “catastrophe” (October 2014)
• PGE to replace 70,000 faulty “smart” meters (Portland, OR – July 2014)
• Lakeland Electric to replace over 10,000 faulty “smart” meters (Lakeland, FL – August 2014)
• Are tens of thousands of defective “smart” meters being stealthily replaced in Arizona? (Sept 2014)
• PECO replaces 186,000 faulty “smart” meters (Philadelphia, PA – October 2012)
• News & articles on fires – Take Back Your Power
• Archive of HUNDREDS of documented “smart” meter fires – EMF Safety Network
Firefighters are still investigating the cause, which won’t be released until the Medical Examiner’s Office releases a cause of death.
Damage has been estimated at $7,000 in structural loss and $2,000 in contents.
The Public Utilities Commission says it has not received safety complaints about smart meters before, but smart meter installations were blamed for two house fires in Arlington back in 2010.
The issue wasn’t with the meters themselves, but a fire investigator there says that when the old meters were pulled out, the main electric feeds to the houses were accidentally pulled as well.
In a statement, Oncor said: “Our thoughts are with the family in this difficult time. We are working closely with the Dallas Fire Department to understand the cause of the fire. While we understand the concerns regarding the meter, it is important to note that due to the nature and function of the advanced meters, there has been no prior instance where such a meter has caused a fire in a dwelling. Nevertheless, we look forward to completing a full investigation.”
A spokesman added that the new digital meters don’t use any more electricity than traditional meters.
Oncor will allow customers to opt out of the smart meters, for a price.
According to a company spokesperson, depending on the customer’s individual set up, there is a one-time fee to swap to a “regular” meter, then a monthly opt-out fee.
For residential customers, the one-time swap fee ranges from $169 to $211. For commercial customers, it ranges from $244 to $564. Then, the monthly reoccurring fee ranges from $26.69 to $31.38, and includes a small charge for a smart meter — even though the customer no longer has one.
Anyone interested in opting out can contact Oncor at 1-888-313-6862.
You CANNOT jam a Smart Meter on an old home with old wiring. One MORE death from a Smart Meter. See the tally of bodies here at: http://emfsafetynetwork.org/smart-meters/smart-meter-fires-and-explosions/
Yea you can hate to disagree there are zillons of those ‘smart meters on old house’s as we speak. Those house’s in that area in the above story was prob built pre WW2 or there about’s you think the power co care’s if they burn your house down don’t hold ya breath on it.I worked as a master electrician for 22 plus years all over the DFW area
The smart meter puts no more current load on the wiring than the old meter. The fire started in a branch circuit, not even at the meter for Christs sake. The meter has NOTHING to do with it and cannot have anything to do with it. That wiring is supposed to be protected by the breakers or fuses in the house, not by the meter.
““Investigators determined that this fire was the result of an unspecified electrical short in the fixed wiring of the house. More specifically, ‘the fire started in the wall space of the hallway bathroom and traveled into the attic,’ causing major damage,” Evans’ statement said.”
Go learn something about wiring and electricity and stop spreading hysteria.
Seven for the house and two for the contents? Where’d this guy live?
Let me start off by saying that I do not agree with the so called smart meters, I think they are a spying device it viloates federal wire tapping laws and its not approve by the FCC, ok with that stated my background : I live outside of Dallas I’m a native born Texan and have lived in this area my whole life I just turned 51 last month. My work history : I am a master electrician/contractor with 22 years of experience residential and commercial electrical work as well as running my own electrical business for 10 and a half years as well as my dad was a master electrician and lived here in the Dallas area from 1960 to 1995 when he passed away he was a IBEW local 59 master electrician for about 52 years.I had to get out of the Ele work in 97 due to medical problem but I have work in that area where that house is located doing electrical work for years. I have changed the service and rewired this type of house so many times I lost count not just in that area but all over DFW. Now a meter is just a meter they both ONLY basically measure the electricity be it analog or the digital smart meters that you are using at any point in the day or night (not going into the spying part here ) HERE IS THE PROBLEM those old house’s in most case’s on the service( a service for those that do not know is the ‘meter box or can, the riser that goes up to the weather head where the power co wires connect) In these old services you may have what we call in the trade SE cable or service entrance cable or SE for short can be copper or aluminum SE cable only wrapped in cloth consisting of 3 wires 2 hots and 1 neutral, typically this is the way most of those house service was done decades ago. Now the SE cable starts at the weather head (where the power co hooks on) runs down exposed ( no electrical pipe) goes into the top of the meter box or can and hooks onto the top lugs called the line side. Inside the meter box into the receiver jaws or clamps that the meter is inserted into, same thing on the bottom side, which is called the load side and using the same type of SE cable it goes out tho a hole in the back of the meter box or can, and ends up at your breaker or fuse box. from there the wires branch out ether using the old old black type of romex or if its older it could be the old knob and tube type of wiring or a combo of both ( I have seen it all ) over time the SC outer as well as the inner insulating material around each wire (the hots or phase’s) starts to break down because of age, load factors, heat, etc to a point you could dam near sneeze on it and you could see the little flakes dropping off ( I have personalty seen a BUNCH in this shape) so bad that I was required to cut the main power line at the weather head or pecker head as we call it in the trade before even trying to remove the meter as it could blow up in your face( we call that phase to ground or phase to phase) trust me its not a very good thing if that was to happen. Now comes along Mr power Co guy with his hard hat and his sun glass’s and yanks that old meter out inmost case’s with out looking inside the can, and slams that new baby in wiggling and pushing and bumping and jerking around like a fool more little flakes of insulation breaks and falls off ( and don’t tell me its not true I have seen little piles of burnt flaky insulation laying in the bottom of a meter can many times ) Now the people that lives there turns on all these big toys that love power ie floor space heaters for one now yet another flak breaks off exposing the hot or phase wire to each other as the neutral conductor is wrapped around the SE cable like strands of small wire like a pig tail on a girls hair at which is twisted to terminate at the neutral bar. Now a arch starts and starts melting the outer insulation right tho the back of the meter base and guess where right into the wall of YOUR HOUSE. And I know what your thinking should it not blow a breaker or fuse ? But there are no fuse’s in this part of the house electrical system/service the only fuse is way out there on top of the transformer on that tall power pole by the tine the power co service drop heats up to a point to blow that high voltage fuse ITS TO LATE the SE cable in your wall and or attic has all ready started a fire and it spreads from there. And that’s all folks !
So I’m guessing it’s a good idea to get an electrician in to look behind the meter?
And if the electrician finds flakes of insulating material, what happens then? Can just the material be replaced or does all the wiring need to be redone?
Btw: Thank you so much for explaining all of this.
Yes you need to call out a electrician to inspect the meter base as well as the inside of it, if found what I said a service change would be required the correct the problem, that’s just changing out the electrical service, but that area is located within Dallas and your house would have to be brought up to current Dallas electrical code, not as a complete rewire of your house, but bringing it up to current electrical codes which requires a number of different things, but if its about the same age of that one that burned I would highly suggest it. your home owners insurance may cover all or part. and a ele inspector will be called out after the electrician has completed the job by a red tag ( meaning there is something still not up to code) or a green tag meaning the power co can make final connections. you can apply for a home owners permit but a electrician would still be required to do the work.Back in the day before I had to quite due to a medical issue I was charging 1,500 to 2k. I sure its a lot more but I would get at least 3 different bids, If you have any other questions feel free to ask.
Wow, I expected it to be expensive but geez.
I’m not in Dallas…in fact I’m not in Texas at all. But this is going on nation wide and I actually was sent the link from a group in PA.
As I understand it the electric co stopped installs a couple years ago around here
because of fires in the city. But then resumed and made their way out to
the ‘burbs where we are.
Not sure how old the house is. I’m guessing it’s post WWII though. Probably 40s.
I’d still like to have it checked out though. Would the same work be required if we were somehow able to go back to analog?
I’m sitting here trying to figure out how to explain all this to the landlady. She’s a nice person and all but not sure this sort of thing is even on her radar.
I would set up a meeting with you and your landlady and a local electrician, he can describe it better than you can. if your out in the burbs it may be cheaper v being in a large city, your land lady may know of a local electrician that she deals with on a regular base’s good luck
if you could go back to the old analog meter still need to have it check out just to make sure. Better safe than sorry.
Another thing comes to mind. Microwaves only flow on the surface of a conductor. Therefore a tube would be just as good as a solid conductor. But what if the wiring is old and a bit tarnished? Maybe this would offer resistance to the flow of microwaves and any conductor nearby would get a signal induced in it. Put power across resistance and you get heat. Some pictures of burnt meters seem to show heat at screw terminals underneath. Mains wiring was not intended to carry RF currents. Some plastics are unstable in RF fields eg nylon.
see my post showing that smart meters DO SPY
You sure spend a lot of time trying to blame bad wiring issues on a new meter. Let me explain it to you: If your wiring is deteriorated the solution is to replace it not keep using it regardless of the meter.
What does the spokesman mean when he says the smart meter doesn’t use more electricity than traditional meters? Analogs don’t use electricity, they don’t run on electricity, they are metal and glass so they don’t burn.
Analog meters and they use a very small amount of electricity they( electricity arch can burn tho metal ) ( I have seen meter cans with big melted holes in them) can burn if there is a short in the meter box or can, its called a plasma fire and it can reach very high temp’s when the phase wires starts to arch from one phase to he other phase and to the metal meter box for that matter to ground , some of the older analog meters had the glass globe around them yes glass will not burn to easy a normal meter on a house would not burn tho the glass enclosure.as for using power. in a analog meter there are 2 things called a CT which is a current transformer one for each phase of the service this acts like a little censor and both are connected to a small clock motor as power is used these 2 censor’s turn the clock motor fast or slow depending upon power load of the house and in turn this clock motor is connected to little gears that turn the dials on the face of the meter and the larger flat wheel. acts just like a electric clock on your wall the amount of power it use’s is next to nothing. As for the digital meter same set up just take away the clock motor and the wheel and the gears and replace with a digital read out which still gets its input from the small CT’s within the meter again next to nothing on power use maybe a couple watts at best
What about the EMF exposure and these pulses that I keep reading about? Is there anything to that as far as having a negative impact on health?
I remember reading something about these things effecting people negatively who are sensitive to EMFs or if someone has a pace maker.
Yes look up the dangers of smart meters on youtube there is a bunch out there from medical doctors that are now coming out exposing the dangers of this device. Some people are effected while others are not. I would say young children as well as older folks are at the greatest at risk. You can buy a ‘metal cage’ that is put over the face of a smart meter that will reduce the RF output by 95 % still allowing the spy device to communicate with other smart meters they sell about 120.00 buck there about you would have to look, they only draw back to a cage is, great for your meter, but if your house is right next to other house’s your still in the other smart meters “Field”, but there are ways around that they sell RF absorbing or reflecting paint ie for your bedroom just some suggestions.
Good lord man do you not understand that you are bombarded by NIEMR from thousands of sources 24 hours a day seven days a week 365 days a year? The smart meters measly little <= 4 watts makes no difference at all. A few feet from the meter and an RF meter will show nothing but the background EMR you are exposed to all day everyday no matter what. It's amazing how freaked out people get over 1 little low powered radio transmitter out of thousands of much higher powered radio transmitters. Commercial broadcasters are cranking out Kilowatts of RF but you are worried about a 4 watt smart meter.
PS The sun bombards you daily with Ionizing EMR which is 10000 times more dangerous than any non-ionizing EMR from man made radio signals.
Laura, I understand during an experiment, pulsed microwaves were lethal to rats whereas steady waves were not. If true, they were doubtless exposed to a high level though. All this stuff I believe to be accumulative. It makes good sense to minimize your exposure as far as you can.
Yes if you stick a rat in a microwave over it will die. If you stick the rats cage next to a smart meter transmitting at 4 measly watts or less it will die of old age.
Nope. Pacemakers were tested at 6 cm distance with no effect.
The smart meter puts no additional significant current draw on the service entrance and it puts no additional current draw at all on the household wiring beyond it. This fire started on a branch circuit in a bathroom wall and had NOTHING to do with the meter.
According to a paper published in July 2010
by Cindy Sage of Sage Associates and James J. Biergiel, EMF Electrical
Consultant, the new meters may be contributing to electrical fires where
there is a weak spot such as older wiring, undersized neutrals for the
electric load, poor grounding, or use of aluminum conductors. The use of
Smart Meters according to the authors places an entirely new and
significantly increased burden on existing electrical wiring because of
the very short, very high intensity wireless emissions (radio frequency
bursts) that the meters produce to signal the utility about energy uses.
According to the authors, the typical gauge electrical wiring that
provides electricity to buildings (60 Hz power) is not constructed or
intended to carry high frequency harmonics that are increasingly present
on normal electrical wiring. The exponential increase in use of
appliances, variable speed motors, office and computer equipment and
wireless technologies has greatly increased these harmonics in community
electrical grids and the buildings they serve with electricity.
Harmonics are high frequencies than 60 Hz that carry more energy, and
ride along on the electrical wiring in bursts. Radio frequency (RF) is
an unattended by product of this electrical wiring according to the
Chris Turner, Esq.
DC Smart Meter Choice
This is all nonsense. The maximum transmission power of a smart meter is 4 watts. At 240 volts that = .0166 amps which is virtually nothing. Also virtually all service entrance conductors are Aluminum. Have you ever even looked inside a breaker or meter box?
Is there a way to defeat these Smart Meters when people are forced to switch to them?
You can opt-out if your power co has the opt-out option but the dirty bastards will charge you a amount even than, if your located outside of the city in the country where your house’s are not jammed right next to each other, than the opt-out might be your best way, if not a RF cage or RF paint on your bed room walls. Only in America wow that you have to go to this BS is unreal !
what is rf paint
Many fires have broken out in regard to smart meters. Fact!
If the main electrical feeds to the home were accdently pulled out. The smart meter would not be installed until the meter base was either repaired or replaced. If it this was not done, and fire(s) broke out it is clearly the fault of the installer.
Smart meters use more power than analog meters. The analog meter only records when power is being used. Smart meters record whether power is being used or not.It is ongoing 24/7 .The cost is added to the customer’s bill.
Like me, if you opt out, it costs! But I have no worries about a smart meter fire,
free from surveillance, and partially free from r/f.
If you did 30 seconds research you would find out that the cause of this fire was determined to be wiring inside a bathroom wall. It had nothing to do with the smart meter.
That part about being free from RF is hillarious too. You are bombarded with RF from THOUSANDS of sources all day everyday.
PHILADELPHIA – August, 2012
It was a fire in a Bucks County hometwo weeks ago, and other issues related to PECO’s smart meter program, which have drawn Pennsylvania’s Public Utility Commission into PECO’s smart meter controversy.
Michael Cappeto of Upper Makefield said the “only thing that changed in his home was we had a new meter put in.” Cappeto says that meter was installed in July. On August 12th. the meter, the electric box and sections of his home all caught fire.
PECO says it is investigating this fire and eight other overheating incidents involving the new digital meters. The utility says there have been 15 fires and meltdowns of the 186,000 meters installed to date.
Here is an article showing that smart meters are more intrusive than previously thought. Anyone who is on public gas and electric now has one smart meter on each: