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UPDATED: Smart meter catches fire in Regina; 9th failure so far

WATCH ABOVE: Mike McKinnon looks into Saskatchewan’s 9th smart meter fire, which is the first since August

REGINA – SaskPower has confirmed crews were called in to replace yet another failed smart meter on a resident’s home on Regina’s east side early Friday morning.

The fire at the home on the 2400 block of Swayze Crescent broke out after one o’clock a.m.

The homeowner, Joan Riemer, said she woke up to the sound of banging outside her bedroom window.

“I looked out my bedroom window and saw flames coming up,” Riemer told Global News.

She discovered her meter was on fire, and said the blaze caused some damage to the exterior of her home and barbecue cover.

It’s the province’s 9th smart meter fire in 2014; the first since August.

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SaskPower said the failure is similar to “four or five” others this year, calling it a ‘consumed meter’.

“It’s the plastic case and cover that overheats and melts,” said SaskPower’s acting CEO Mike Marsh. “When that melts, it falls off the meter box itself.”

The unit was replaced with a new, digital non-smart meter. SaskPower is in the process of replacing the 105,000 smart meter units that had been installed prior to late July.

Riemer said the fire is a reminder of the faulty meters still on the side of thousands of Saskatchewan homes.

“I have lots of friends and family here and they’re all worried now after I told them what happened,” Riemer said. “They’re getting on the phone to SaskPower to see if they can get their (smart meters) changed right away.”

The replacement project is about 40 per cent complete, with roughly 65,000 meters still to be exchanged. Residents can still ask for a priority replacement, though project can’t be finished until February.

“This was a big replacement order in one shot,” said Marsh. “The manufacturer (Sensus Corp.) is doing everything they can to support us. We’ll continue to keep pace with that manufacturing cycle.”

This recent failure comes on the heels of a scathing report released on October 27 that led to SaskPower’s top executive, Robert Watson, resigning.

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Cause of the fire is under investigation. The review found that moisture was a leading cause in the previous eight fires.

Joan Reimer discovered her meter was on fire early Friday morning, and said the blaze caused some damage to the exterior of her home and barbecue cover.
Joan Reimer discovered her meter was on fire early Friday morning, and said the blaze caused some damage to the exterior of her home and barbecue cover. Joan Riemer / Supplied
Reimer said the fire is a reminder of the faulty meters still on the side of thousands of Saskatchewan homes.
Reimer said the fire is a reminder of the faulty meters still on the side of thousands of Saskatchewan homes. Joan Riemer / Supplied
SaskPower has confirmed they were called in to replace yet another failed smart meter on a resident’s home on Regina’s east side early Friday morning.
SaskPower has confirmed they were called in to replace yet another failed smart meter on a resident’s home on Regina’s east side early Friday morning. Joan Riemer / Supplied
SaskPower's smart meter replacement project is about 40 per cent complete, with roughly 65,000 meters still to be exchanged.
SaskPower's smart meter replacement project is about 40 per cent complete, with roughly 65,000 meters still to be exchanged. Joan Riemer / Supplied
The fire at Reimer's home is the province’s 9th smart meter fire in 2014; the first since August.
The fire at Reimer's home is the province’s 9th smart meter fire in 2014; the first since August. Joan Riemer / Supplied