If hot, dry weather persists in Regina, more electrical fires possible

Three fires have broken out as a result of the recent dry spell.

Unclear who will cover cost of inspections, repairs

If your meter is tilted like the one in this image, it could be because ground settling has pulled down the electrical cables. (Supplied by SaskPower)

Regina homeowners may not have seen the last of electrical fires brought on by hot, dry weather.

Three fires have broken out as a result of the recent dry spell. As the ground beneath some Regina homes settles, wiring is being pulled away from power meters attached to walls.

"If the soil conditions continue, there's no reason to believe that we couldn't have more," said SaskPower Regina operations manager Ryan Blair.

SaskPower is working to address the issue, said spokesperson Jonathan Tremblay. Crews have been out inspecting homes since Thursday and will continue to work over the weekend in the Glencairn, Normanview and Uplands neighbourhoods.

Homes at risk are older builds with underground power service, Tremblay said, noting that a "few hundred" homes fit the risk profile.

Residents in areas being inspected can expect a two-hour power outage, Blair said.

There are no plans to do any replacement of equipment on older homes that aren't showing signs of stress from ground shift, he added.

If residents see their power box tilting, wires pulling out from the bottom of the meter, or gaps opening between equipment and their home or the ground, they should contact SaskPower, Tremblay said.

And if person notices a fire, they should call 911, said deputy fire chief David Kinvig.

In the case of an electrical fire, it's imperative that people do not try to fight the fire themselves, he said. Spraying water at the fire should be avoided at all costs, as it could result in electric shock.

SaskPower covering costs — for now

It is unclear who will be paying for inspections and any repairs that may be necessary as a result of the ground shifting.

"We are covering the costs right now, but long-term, we have to look at that internally," Tremblay said.

SGI expects customers will reach out to SaskPower for repairs to electrical equipment, said spokesperson Marie Schultz.

"However, if the meter did cause a fire that damaged the property, and if the customer is SGI Canada insured, insurance should cover the damages related to the fire," she said.

SGI is only one of a number of property insurance agencies in the province.