Saskatoon

SaskPower meter melts in Saskatoon due to dry weather, ground shifting

It's the latest in a series of 30 to 35 electric meters in Regina, Moose Jaw and now Saskatoon experiencing similar conditions in the past week and a half or so, according to SaskPower.

It's the latest in a series of linked incidents in Regina, Moose Jaw and now Saskatoon this summer

A fire truck at the Saskatoon house where a meter melted on Sunday afternoon. (Bridget Yard/CBC News)

Dry weather conditions and ground shifting have caused another SaskPower electrical meter to heat up and increase the risk of potential fires — this time in Saskatoon.

It's the latest in a series of 30 to 35 meters in Regina, Moose Jaw and now Saskatoon experiencing similar conditions in the past week and a half or so, according to SaskPower.

"This extreme ground shifting due to dry conditions is tugging on wires and pulling them from behind meters, and in some cases, especially on older homes, we sometimes see a fire start," said Jonathan Tremblay, a SaskPower spokesperson.

2nd case in Saskatoon 

While the Saskatoon Fire Department was called to investigate a meter on Arnason Crescent on Sunday afternoon, Tremblay said SaskPower was still confirming whether there was a fire.

"We certainly saw the smoking and some melting of the meter box area," he said.

One other meter in Saskatoon experienced the same issues last week, though with less damage, said Tremblay.

"It's less common for Saskatoon and areas where the soil is less clay-based, but still we've seen [some]."

SaskPower shut off the power on Arnason Crescent starting at around 4:30 p.m. to help firefighters investigate. Power was expected to be off for a small number of residents on the street for potentially a few hours.

Rare occurrences 

Tremblay said a meter catching fire, like ones recently seen in Regina, is a rare, once-in-a-decade occurence.

Of the 35 meter cases this summer, only five involved ones catching fire, said Tremblay.

"Ground is compacted and pulling away cables," he said. "Environment Canada says it's the driest year for southern Saskatchewan in 135 years."

Things to watch out for 

Tremblay pointed to three signs that customers should call SaskPower about:

  • Tilted power poxes. "That means that the wire under it is being pulled down and pulling  down the power box with it."
  • Frayed or exposed wires being pulled  from under the meter box
  • Significant gaps between a house and the ground.

"All three things are cues to give us a call," he said. The number to call is 1-888-757-6937. 

with files from Bridget Yard

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