Lakeland fire sparks concerns about 'smart meters' - WFLA News Channel 8

Lakeland fire sparks concerns about 'smart meters'

Posted: Updated:
LAKELAND, FL (WFLA) -

A charred electrical box is what's left of a very scary weekend outside Cherie Oberg's Carillon Lakes condo in Lakeland.

Oberg says the digital "smart meter" on her home burst into flames damaging two adjoining meters. The flames fizzled out by the time Lakeland firefighters arrived, but the fear sparked by the situation is still smoldering for Oberg and her neighbors. 

"Oh my gosh, somebody could have died. We could have all lost our homes," Oberg said. 

"It was totally scary," explained neighbor Sandy Williams. "We came out. There was still a little bit of smoke smell. We could smell the air way down at the other end of the building."

Oberg and her neighbors are convinced the "smart meter" itself is to blame for the fire, but Lakeland Electric and city officials dispute that.

City spokesman Kevin Cook says a preliminary investigation revealed the problem was not the "smart meter."
 
"What we found is the can, the apparatus that the meter actually fits onto, that looked like there was an electrical short inside that can," Cook said. 

"We found out it's not the actual meter itself. It's the housing of what the meter plugs into which unfortunately is the homeowners responsibility," he said.

The explanation is very similar to the one given by Florida Power & Light in 2011 when a similar situation unfolded at a South Florida woman's home.

According to our partners at WPTV in West Palm Beach a fire erupted in July 2011 at a home that just had a "smart meter" installed. An FP&L spokeswoman at the time said, that this was not related to either a traditional meter or a smart meter, this was a wiring issue in a customer's home.

Cherie Oberg said she was basically told the same thing by Lakeland Electric about the fire at her home.

"I was told the box, the electric box isn't sufficient for the new meters, and yet Lakeland Electric put in the new meters regardless," she said.

There are consumer complaints all over the country that blame electrical box and house fires on newly installed smart meters, and consistently utility companies deny the meters are the problem.

A spokesman at the Consumer Product Safety Commission in Washington D.C. says the agency is aware of the growing number of complaints. 

"We're trying to find out what's going on," said CSPC Deputy Director Alex Filip. He says the agency is trying to find a pattern or defect if one exists.

If you have a concern or complaint about a smart meter you can contact the CSPC at 1-800-638-2772 or e-mail the agency at https://www.saferproducts.gov/CPSRMSPublic/Incidents/ReportIncident.aspx.

 

  • 8 On Your SideMore>>

  • Magic diet pill promoter found running new business in Tampa

    Magic diet pill promoter found running new business in Tampa

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 5:02 PM EDT2014-09-02 21:02:23 GMT
    File Photo: Nick CongletonFile Photo: Nick Congleton
    Nick Congleton is in hot water with the FTC for selling "magic diet pills," and under investigation by Florida's Attorney General for a defunct travel club that owes hundreds of consumers for vacations they never received.Now, he's keeping a low profile and running a new business out of an unmarkedwarehouse in the Channelside District, where he didn't have much to say to Eight On Your Side this morning.
    Nick Congleton is in hot water with the FTC for selling "magic diet pills," and under investigation by Florida's Attorney General for a defunct travel club that owes hundreds of consumers for vacations they never received.Now, he's keeping a low profile and running a new business out of an unmarkedwarehouse in the Channelside District, where he didn't have much to say to Eight On Your Side this morning.
  • Home Depot probing 'Unusual Activity' after reports of data breach

    Home Depot probing 'Unusual Activity' after reports of data breach

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 1:55 PM EDT2014-09-02 17:55:41 GMT
    Home Depot may be the latest retailer to suffer a massive credit card breachHome Depot may be the latest retailer to suffer a massive credit card breach
    Home Depot may be the latest retailer to have suffered a massive credit card breach, the company confirmed on Tuesday, after Krebs on Security reported that a large cache of stolen data had appeared on black market sites.
    Home Depot may be the latest retailer to have suffered a massive credit card breach, the company confirmed on Tuesday, after Krebs on Security reported that a large cache of stolen data had appeared on black market sites.
  • Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Community reaches out to Spring Hill family after theft of lawn equipment

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 8:45 AM EDT2014-09-02 12:45:21 GMT
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
    Michael Depace wants to say "thank you" and give a huge hug to everyone that reached out after a thief stole $3,500 worth of lawn equipment from him.
  • NewsMore>>

  • Magic diet pill promoter found running new business in Tampa

    Magic diet pill promoter found running new business in Tampa

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 5:02 PM EDT2014-09-02 21:02:23 GMT
    File Photo: Nick CongletonFile Photo: Nick Congleton
    Nick Congleton is in hot water with the FTC for selling "magic diet pills," and under investigation by Florida's Attorney General for a defunct travel club that owes hundreds of consumers for vacations they never received.Now, he's keeping a low profile and running a new business out of an unmarkedwarehouse in the Channelside District, where he didn't have much to say to Eight On Your Side this morning.
    Nick Congleton is in hot water with the FTC for selling "magic diet pills," and under investigation by Florida's Attorney General for a defunct travel club that owes hundreds of consumers for vacations they never received.Now, he's keeping a low profile and running a new business out of an unmarkedwarehouse in the Channelside District, where he didn't have much to say to Eight On Your Side this morning.
  • Dead fish creating problems on Honeymoon Island

    Dead fish creating problems on Honeymoon Island

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 4:43 PM EDT2014-09-02 20:43:31 GMT
    Red Tide spotted on the shore of Honeymoon Island.Red Tide spotted on the shore of Honeymoon Island.
    Scattered on the shore of Honeymoon Island in Pinellas county are hundreds of dead fish.Park rangers started noticing the fish wash on shore on Friday, just before one of the busiest holiday weekends of the year."In some spots it scattered and as you move up north on the beach it's up in the hundreds of fish," said park manager Pete Krulder.
    Scattered on the shore of Honeymoon Island in Pinellas county are hundreds of dead fish.Park rangers started noticing the fish wash on shore on Friday, just before one of the busiest holiday weekends of the year."In some spots it scattered and as you move up north on the beach it's up in the hundreds of fish," said park manager Pete Krulder.
  • Explosion at beverage packaging facility in Lakeland

    Explosion at beverage packaging facility in Lakeland

    Tuesday, September 2 2014 4:24 PM EDT2014-09-02 20:24:13 GMT
    An explosion at a Lakeland beverage packaging facility sent a 60,000-pound boiler onto a CSX railroad track Tuesday morning. The boiler, which holds 4,000 gallons of steam, was half-filled.
    An explosion at a Lakeland beverage packaging facility sent a 60,000-pound boiler onto a CSX railroad track Tuesday morning. The boiler, which holds 4,000 gallons of steam, was half-filled.
Powered by WorldNow

200 South Parker Street, Tampa, FL 33606

Telephone: 813.228.8888
Fax: 813.225.2770
Email: news@wfla.com

Can’t find something?
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Media General Communications Holdings, LLC. A Media General Company.