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TORONTO – Some Ontario properties may have been outfitted with the smart meters that are being pulled out of Saskatchewan over fire fears.
Alan Findlay, a spokesperson for the Ontario Energy Board, said an investigation into the use of Sensus smart meters in Ontario is still underway.
“What I can say, however, is that the handful of utilities who have reported having some of the same type of Sensus meter have reported no safety issues with the meter,” Findlay said in an e-mail to Sun Media.
The Ontario NDP is calling on the provincial government to investigate the situation and confirm whether any properties in the province were outfitted with the same model of smart meters that are suspected to have caused eight fires in Saskatchewan.
NDP MPP Lisa Gretzky said the energy ministry has had enough time since learning that Saskatchewan is removing the meters to determine if any Ontario homes are at risk, but there has been no public update.
“I think it’s incumbent on the government to investigate fully whether or not we actually have these questionable smart meters installed in our homes and to act quickly,” Gretzky said. “The people of Ontario deserve to know whether or not their safety is at risk.”
Gretzky said she has sent a letter to Energy Minister Bob Chiarelli to ask that he investigate and act quickly if these meters are found in Ontario.
Saskatchewan opted to remove a particular model of the Sensus smart meter after eight unexplained fires.
Hydro One has confirmed that it did not use the suspect meters.
Gretzky said she has asked the non-partisan Electrical Safety Authority to provide a “clean bill of health” for smart meters in Ontario.
“It’s a great concern that an answer hasn’t been brought forward,” she said.
Beckie Codd-Downey, a spokesperson for Chiarelli, said in a statement that there are no immediate plans to remove smart meters for fire concerns.
“We continue to study the actions of Saskatchewan and determine if we have any cause to consider the same action,” she said. “We note that the investigation into the cause of the incidents is still in progress and that it has not yet been determined whether the issues originated from the meter itself versus an issue with the meter base or as a result of the installation process.”
The OEB does not mandate which models of smart metres should be used by local distribution companies, she said.
Almost 4.8 million residential and small businesses have smart meters, mandated by the provincial government.
Sensus has issued a statement saying that its site inspections point to “external factors,” such as water intrusion due to holes in meter boxes, as a cause for the problems rather than a flaw in the product.
“Safety is our number one priority and all Sensus meters go through rigorous testing and meet or exceed industry safety standards,” Sensus president Randy Bays says. “I have been personally involved with our customers and Sensus quality and engineering teams as we work to collect fact-based and data-driven information on these specific incidents.”
Some U.S. utilities are removing smart meters as well.