Utility group alleges SmartMeter sparked San Bruno explosion

Clean-energy advocates filed a federal complaint alleging that newly installed SmartMeter technology sparked last Thursday’s transmission pipeline explosion in San Bruno.

Federal investigators told The Examiner that they are not investigating SmartMeters as a potential cause of the deadly blast.

SmartMeters can be used to remotely control PG&E customers’ natural gas and electricity use. They also record energy use.

PG&E operators communicate with the electronic devices through radio waves.

SmartMeters were deployed in San Bruno from November 2009 until April, according to the company’s website.

“I allege EMF (electromagnetic field) from PG&E’s SmartMeters created the ignition source,” Californians for Renewable Energy founder Michael Boyd wrote in a complaint filed Wednesday, according to documents provided to The Examiner by the nonprofit.

PG&E officials did not respond over two days to questions about the safety of SmartMeters related to gas pipelines.

The company has previously issued assurances that the products are safe.

The complaint was filed against PG&E and the California Public Utilities Commission with the Federal Communications Commission.

The complaint alleges that the SmartMeters do not meet FCC regulations related to radiation.

The National Transportation Safety Board, however, is not investigating whether SmartMeters contributed to the disaster.

“This accident involves a transmission pipeline and it does not involve residential metering systems,” NTSB spokesman Peter Knudson to The Examiner Wednesday in an e-mail. “That is not an issue that we will be looking at, since it has no bearing on this accident.”

jupton@sfexaminer.com

Bay Area NewsLocalPeninsula

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