The city of Medicine Hat has put a stop to installing automated electricity meters after problems cropped up in Saskatchewan.

SaskPower put its smart meter program on hold because eight caught fire between May and July this year.

In all cases, the failures only affected the outside of a home and no one was hurt.

The meters, supplied by U.S.-based Sensus Corp., allow utility companies to bill consumers for the power they use every month rather than relying on estimates between meter readings.

Medicine Hat officials said the protocol for converting to automated meters includes three safety checks to make sure sockets aren’t worn or deteriorating, plus a silent alarm that sends a signal to the utility if the socket temperature gets to 80 C.

However, officials said they want to get more information before proceeding with the city’s meter program.