PECO is continuing to suspend installation of its “smart meters” while the company and the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission continue to investigate why some of the meters have overheated.
Company spokeswoman Cathy Engel Menendez said PECO had installed 201,000 of the new meters before halting the program last month. As of Sept. 6, she stated in a news release late last week, there had been 26 reported incidents of the meters overheating.
Twelve of those incidents remain under investigation, she stated. Seven were pegged to pre-existing conditions with customers’ equipment. Seven are believed caused by “installation issues” or water.
PECO had reported only 15 incidents last month and said none were in Northeast Philadelphia. The increased number of incidents reported last week includes 13 in Philadelphia. According to Karen Muldoon Geus, another PECO spokeswoman, eight of those incidents were in five Northeast Philly ZIP codes: one in 19111 (Fox Chase and Burholme); two in 19149 (Oxford Circle and Castor Gardens); two in 19124 (Frankford and Northwood); one in 19116 (Somerton); and two in 19115 (Bustleton.)
State law requires the new meters, which send and receive information from PECO. They are designed to help the utility more quickly restore power during blackouts and also provide PECO and its customers with more detailed power-usage information. Most of the new meters are manufactured by Sensus. L&G also makes the meters.
Smart meters were installed in the Northeast throughout the spring and summer. Some residents said they thought the meters emit dangerous radiation. Others have privacy worries, and still others simply don’t like that they must allow their old meters to be exchanged for the new smart meters. The utility has countered that new meters are safe and can’t spy on customers. They are, however, required by law and the utility could cut power to customers who don’t permit the new meters’ installation.
Engel Menendez said PECO was replacing some of the Sensus meters with L&G meters to see if they perform differently. The utility also is working with Sensus to develop enhancements for its meters. The first such improvement would be for the meter to automatically shut off service if a problem is detected. The second is to send an alarm directly to PECO is a problem is detected in a meter.Customers with any concerns about their newly installed meter should contact 1-855-741-9011 to schedule an appointment to have the meter and its surrounding equipment inspected. ••EndFragment