Homes in a Bartlett subdivision received electric and gas smart meters in January 2014. Six months after meter installations, on a Saturday morning in June, one residence’s electric smart meter sent an alarm to MLGW. As a result, a technician was dispatched. While the technician checked the meter, the residents came out, confused, as they hadn’t contacted MLGW to report any power problems—but their smart meter had.
The MLGW employee found the meter socket overheating and noted that the mastpipe, which contains wiring running from the elevated weatherhead to the meter center, was also dangerously hot. In addition, the employee observed new electric wires in the socket, an indication the home might have been expanded recently, resulting in a larger electric load.
While Code Enforcement officials inspect wiring inside the building and in the electric panel as part of the building permit process, they do not inspect the meter socket. Had MLGW been notified at the time of the home renovation to determine whether the existing electric service could handle the new larger electric load, this potentially dangerous overheating could have been avoided. Instead, the electric smart meter’s built-in sensors activated, alerting MLGW to a developing problem. MLGW made the necessary repairs, reinstalled the smart meter and all was well.
In addition to recording consumption, smart meters monitor for potential dangers and send alarms to MLGW, notifying the utility of problems before they may be apparent to building occupants. This is just another way that smart meter technology benefits our customers and our community.