Livonia fire officials, DTE investigate home blaze
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#1 Oct 25, 2013
DTE goes to change the meter to the new digital brand. They almost burn the house down in the process. DTE tentatively blames the home owner because the home is on the "customer side" of the meter. DUH!
The misdirected power came from the "DTE side. Generally the meter change is fool proof, but this proves the rule.
#2 Oct 25, 2013
I started a fire in the house last week and my son died.
My wife was surprisingly supportive when I told her that I've always loved arson.
#3 Nov 4, 2013
THe changeout of meters is no different than a power failure. DTE says always power down one's home during a power failure so there is no surge when the power is returned. This could be the cause of the fire. IMHO the utility is being very negligent in changing out meters with power on in homes. What if there had been no one home and there were pets in the house? One can come up with any number of scenarios for this. There have been fires in other parts of the country that involve the new meter installs. One fire is one too many where we are told it is 'safe as a cell phone'. which btw can cause brain tumors with continual exposure.
#4 Nov 4, 2013
It's generally impossible to get a "fireball" explosion from returning power to the line on an individual home. The voltage spike that takes out equipment is high voltage and not much amperage. And as I say the meters are a plug in design that precludes something like crossing a wire. Hence, the investigation because the answer is not obvious. It may, however, be obvious to the installer who now wants to play dumb. Regardless, I see no culpability on the homeowner's side. It's interesting the DTE jumps to that conclusion instantly.
I went for months after moving with DTE billing me for the old location where service was supposed to have been transferred. They said I needed a letter from my new landlord. DUH. I paid cash for this property. I am not renting. I finally had to file a complaint with the PSC and the matter was resolved immediately. DTE is totally unresponsive to the public.
I must say my change to the digital meter went flawlessly. My actual usage has gone down slightly. I keep a record of the KWH usage too. They got it right in my case.
#5 Nov 4, 2013
Of course the installing service tech is playing dumb. Wouldnt you? And wouldnt his boss want him to? they dont want culpability. Gotta wonder what their training is...I personally have an unlimited power plant license so have more knowledge than the avg. consumer.
Yes, inside everything should be powered down...not saying that was the cause of this particular fire...but when the new meter goes in it DOES create a surge into the appliances left on. There are peeps in my neighborhood who lost some equipment but didnt know it was due to the new meter surging elec. cuz they didnt get the notice as they use their rear exits not the front. So they never contacted the utility, elderly peeps who are not so savvy. Reading about these meters nationally one finds out even more info...there have been fires in other states too. Some from the new meter AFTER it was installed.
AND if one has equipment that synchs with the internet for iphone use for ex:....this 2 way radio wave for reading can also access them. Like the camera in the new flat screen TV, or that new thermostat, or the refrigerator with the new control the EPA is
asking for so it can be shut down on peak power periods. Orwellian yes but not out of the question.
#6 Nov 4, 2013
In my case it was an actual DTE truck and DTE employee uniformed and ID technician who installed it. I was waiting for him so I turned off the computer and left everything else on.
Eventually, when a critical mass of customers has the smart meters in an area, DTE will likely test and deploy Internet service over the same power line(BPL). The technology is viable now and in use. There are some interference problems and of course the cable companies fight this option. Then the opportunities for problems will be multiplied.
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