Northeast Times

More PECO meters scrutinized

Start­Frag­ment

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 

You can reach at jloftus@bsmphilly.com.

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