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Issues with the New Gas Smart Meter Installations

By: Fred Willcox
Copyright© 2012
All Rights Reserved

It is alleged that there have been problems caused by the new smart meters used to measure natural gas use.

An inspector friend of mine called yesterday to tell me about a house blowing up in his daughter’s neighborhood in Austin. The initial report on the explosion stated that there were gas leaks in the natural gas supply pipe leading to the new natural gas smart meter. The natural gas pipe was unprotected steel and it is alleged that the vibrations and/or stress produced by the replacement of the gas meter caused the steel pipe to be damaged and leaks to occur. What is interesting about this is that the natural gas supplier is updating their meters without updating the supply pipes.

Some of the old gas meters were installed too close to electric meters, breaker panel boards and air conditioning condensing units. While the natural gas providers have used the old meters claiming that the hazardous locations of the meters were “grandfathered”, the natural gas suppliers are installing the new smart meters without moving the locations of the meters in violation of their own policies and safety rules.

It is interesting that if you update systems in your house you are required to bring the system up to current safety requirements. Apparently the providers of the natural gas that creates hazards in your home and on your property are not required to live up to the same safety requirements that you are.

There are also allegations that the new meters are allowing an increase in gas flow or pressure that is damaging components in the natural gas fired equipment and are causing natural gas leaks.

While the use of smart meters means the loss of jobs for meter readers, I have not noted a drop in my natural gas bill that reflects the savings due to the decrease in the number of employees of the natural gas provider.

No one will now be reading the gas meter at your house. There will be no human being walking across your property that may notice the odor of natural gas indicating a leak. That means you are less safe. And you are not saving any money.

Make sure that your natural gas provider is properly installing your smart meter. Make sure that your supplier also installs new pipes to service your new meter so that the old pipes are not damaged. Then make sure that your natural gas fired appliances have not been damaged by the difference in gas flow and pressure. Your natural gas supplier, at least in my area, is responsible for the supply pipe up to the meter. From the meter through your house, generally you are responsible for the condition of the gas pipes and appliances.

Make sure that you and your family are safe.