SaskPower is moving to replace over 400 meter boxes in Regina after the city’s eighth meter fire, this time at a home already inspected by crews.
Neighbours in the Normanview neighbourhood spotted the meter box ablaze on Thursday, calling the fire department and forcing power to be cut to the home.
On July 26, the same house was inspected for meter fire risk by SaskPower, with photos documenting no damage to the meter.
SaskPower said the latest incident is prompting them to replace a total of 426 small meter boxes in a bid to prevent more blazes.
Spokesperson Johnathon Tremblay said Friday the fire shows ground movement in just a few weeks could cause problems, even if there was no initial damage.
“This time we are not taking any chances,” he said.
“We’ve isolated the problem that some of the small boxes could be susceptible if the ground keeps shifting. That’s why the ultimate fix is to remove them entirely.”
The meter box fires began occurring in July, after drought conditions caused ground shifting in the southern half of Saskatchewan.
The movement has been pulling the underground copper wiring away from some meter boxes, causing the blazes.
Homes built in the 1960s and 1970s with copper wiring and smaller meter boxes have been the most impacted by the fires.
The Normanview, Uplands and Glencairn neighbourhoods are largely made up of these homes, but inspections are underway elsewhere in the city and other municipalities across Saskatchewan.
To date, 5,600 meter boxes have been inspected with roughly 3,200 more scheduled.
SaskPower hopes the work will be complete within the next two weeks, with a focus on the three most impacted neighbourhoods.
Customers are encouraged to continue looking at their own meters for tilting or ground shifting in and around the meter box.
SaskPower said thousands of residents have phoned them, with 600 needing follow up work. The call-in inspections are expected to wrap up by Saturday.
The crown corporation is also in for a hefty bill. Each repair is costing SaskPower $1,000, while outside contractors have been hired to help with inspections.
Tremblay said they hope the onset of fall and winter will eradicate the issue.