Smart meters cause stir in St. Leonard
Published Wednesday, November 6, 2013 8:21PM EST
Last Updated Wednesday, November 6, 2013 8:22PM EST
A St-Leonard man, his family and tenants have been living in a hotel after a fire damaged their four-plex.
Tony Di Minno believes that the recent installation of smart meters nearby is to blame for his displacement. But, Hydro-Quebec -- the company responsible for installing the meters -- says otherwise.
“Maybe it was a bad connection somewhere, when [the meters] were installed,” Di Minno suggested, pointing out that following the meters' installation, his freezer began acting up and his electricty started weirdly fluctuating.
Soon after, on Oct. 26, smoke was spotted at the back of Di Minno’s house by one of his tenants. Firemen were called to the scene to put out the flames.
Di Minno hasn’t had electricity since that day. He’s been staying with his family and tenants at a nearby Quality Inn, courtesy of the Red Cross.
Following Di Minno’s allegations that the smart-meters were the cause of the blaze, Hydro-Quebec sent an investigator to examine the electrical box where the flames started.
The company concluded that a short-circuit between two wire’s in Di Minno’s electrical box was the culprit that caused the blaze.
“It's been demonstrated that it's a contact between two wires in the socket which belonged to the client,” said Hydro-Quebec’s Patrice Lavoie.
And despite Di Minno’s persistent allegations, Lavoie is adamant that the meters could not have been the reason behind the fire.
“The smart meter by itself cannot cause the fire -- that's for sure,” he said.
Di Minno suggested that the company might not have hired properly skilled workers to perform the installation.
Hydro-Quebec said it has installed over 800,000 smart meters across the province, and that employee competency is certainly not the issue.
“Our employees are really well-trained to do this kind of installation,” Lavoie said.