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Smart Meter ‘nuked’ breaker, stove

About 14,000 Smart Meters have been installed in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows. - Black Press/Files
About 14,000 Smart Meters have been installed in Maple Ridge and Pitt Meadows.
— image credit: Black Press/Files

She lost a freezer-load of food just before Christmas, her microwave oven was zapped beyond repair, two computer chips on her new stove were fried and the breaker for her hot water tank damaged.

It all adds up to about $1,000 and Nicole Driedger wants B.C. Hydro to pay the bill because she says the damage was caused by the installation of a Smart Meter on her Stonehouse Avenue home, Dec. 19.

“I’m not the only person this is happening to,” Driedger said Tuesday.

“There are people all over Maple Ridge that this is happening to.”

Driedger says the damage was caused as a worker was installing the new meter on the side of her house.

She says something was jarred in the process and caused a surge in electricity, which led to the damage of the electrical appliances.

That led to a $450 bill from the electrician who repaired the breaker switch and who also checked the rest of her house.

“It’s nothing to do with the functioning of the house, or the wiring of the house.

“He told me there was nothing wrong with the house.”

Driedger and her family has been in the house in west Maple Ridge for only a year and already had an electrical inspection done when they bought the house.

She says her other electronics all have surge protectors on them, so they weren’t damaged. Her fridge wasn’t on at the time, so it wasn’t affected, she added.

She was told the proper way to install a meter is to first shut off all the secondary breakers in the house, followed by the main breaker, after which the install can take place.

Driedger called B.C. Hydro, then was referred to Corix, the company that’s installing the new meters for B.C. Hydro.

Corix said it wouldn’t process her claim, so Driedger called B.C. Hydro again. She waited 10 days before getting a response and was only told to submit her claim denial from Corix to B.C. Hydro, so Hydro could submit it to its own claim department.

Driedger said a friend told her to claim it on her house insurance, but she’s worried about her premiums increasing. When the spoiled food is included, resulting from a resetting of the deep freeze also caused by the power surge, she lost about $1,000.

“I’m not asking for all new appliances. I just want the repairs done, that’s all, because I have all new appliances.”

However, Cindy Verschoor, manager of communications for the Smart Meter program, said  damage resulting from megter replacement is rare. B.C. Hydro replaces about 45,000 meters a year even without the smart meter program.

So far, B.C. Hydro has replaced about 616,000 meters across the province.

“A normal appliance should be able to withstanding being plugged in and unplugged and the process of installing a meter is no different,” Verschoor said.

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