Manitoba Hydro investigates after surge fries Winnipegger's hydro meter

Manitoba Hydro is investigating after a handful of customers had their hydro meters explode at a Winnipeg housing complex Friday morning.

Hydro spokesperson says they've never seen anything like it

Manitoba Hydro is investigating after Chris Cumbers' hydro meter exploded Friday morning. (Submitted/Chris Cumbers)

Manitoba Hydro is investigating after a handful of customers had their hydro meters explode at a Winnipeg housing complex Friday morning.

Chris Cumbers was getting ready for work at his townhouse at a fourplex in McGillivray Park sometime between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. when he heard a loud bang just before his lights went out.

He says the noise startled both him and his dog, but at first, he wasn't overly concerned.

"My first thought was that a transformer must have blown really close by, because it was a really loud bang," Cumbers told CBC News Saturday. "I didn't think much of it.

"Your first thought isn't that your meter has exploded."

Chris Cumbers wasn't too worried about the loud bang he heard when his power went out Friday morning, until he saw that bang had come from his outdoor hydro meter exploding. (Submitted/Chris Cumbers)

But when he left for work a short time later Cumbers found out that's exactly what had happened.

The bang he heard had come from an explosion that blew his outdoor meter's cover right off the wall, scattering pieces of plastic throughout his backyard.

He says the same thing had happened to all three of his neighbours in the fourplex.

Cumbers was afraid about the risk of an electrical fire, so he took his dog to a relative's place while he went at work.

He also called Manitoba Hydro, which replaced the meter after an electrician checked that everything was safe.

Other than a few fried power bars, Cumbers says there wasn't any major damage at his home, although one of his neighbours told him the blast blew up light bulbs at his townhouse.

'No one had a solid answer'

So what caused the blast?

Cumbers says both the electricians and Manitoba Hydro workers were left scratching their heads.

"Between the five electricians and the Manitoba Hydro people, no one had a solid answer to what happened," he said, adding the mystery has him a little worried.

"There's always that initial fear in the back of your mind that something like that could happen again."

Manitoba Hydro spokesperson Scott Powell has worked for Hydro for 20 years and says he's never heard of anything like it.

"Exceedingly rare is the way I would characterize it."

Powell says Manitoba Hydro officials know a wire from a 24,000 volt system had fallen onto a 4,000-volt supply line nearby Cumbers' home during Friday morning's stormy weather, and they assume that likely had something to do with the exploding meters.

But they're still not sure for sure.

"We believe it could have been an over-voltage — but we're going to investigate that a little more," he said.

"No one's ever seen it before."

Cumbers says he was just happy crews were able get his meter fixed and power back in time for Friday night's Winnipeg Jets match-up with the Vegas Golden Knights.

"My big concern was having the electricity on before the puck dropped."

With files from Holly Bernier