A report by Olivier Lemieux

March 5 2015


The owner of a house that was destroyed by fire in Quebec is convinced that the smart meter installed by Hydro-Québec could be the cause of the fire that occurred last November in the Chauveau sector.

Claude Martel says the latest generation meter was installed one week before the disaster. The day after the fire, the Hydro-Québec teams were already there to recover what was left of the device.

According to him, everything points to the smart meter to explain the disaster. The fire came from the outside and from what he was told a representative of the protection against fire service Quebec (SPCIQ), his home is not in question.

Claude Martel believes that the smart meter Hydro Quebec caused the fire. 


“My feeling is 100% it’s them other [Hydro-Québec]. I can not tell if it is the “meter” smart or the one who asked, but you can not set fire to a house even faster, “he said.

The protection against Quebec Service fire did not appreciate the famous counter disappear as quickly after the fire on the street Villon.

In order to recover the device for the purpose of the investigation, the SPCIQ has sent a formal request to Hydro-Québec.

This imbroglio has ensured that a directive was sent to all employees of SPCIQ, the FM93 has obtained a copy. She reminds them not to let anyone leave the scene of a fire with an element of the investigation.

Procedure to revise

This is also the FM93 who reported that Hydro-Québec employees have recovered the meter in question without informing the fire department. But the SPCIQ must possess the meter to complete its investigation into the cause of the fire.

Voiselle France, the spokesman SPCIQ, recalls that any fire is considered a crime scene until the investigation has not been concluded. Thus, she added, no part of this scene must not be removed.

“Investigators are not able to complete their investigation because they lack evidence that is counter” confirms France Voiselle.


The fire department Quebec wants to hand over the smart meter. 


The SPIQ argues that representatives of Hydro-Québec withdrew smart meters on fire places several times in Quebec without the approval of the investigator in the file. This procedure is to review, hammers the SPCIQ because only the investigator may formally exclude the counter potential causes of a disaster.

The SPCIQ however, says that the only case to clear up until now is the burning of the house of Claude Martel.

In other cases, investigators have excluded the counter with circumstantial evidence. In short, the seat of the fire could be clearly identified in a remote area of the meter in the house.

Hydro-Québec is reassuring

The spokesman for Hydro Quebec, Patrice Lavoie, ensures that the corporation will conduct audits to determine whether the counter should remain at the scene of the accident for longer after the fire.

He asserts, however, that since the fire at the home of Claude Martel took place several months ago, the counter may never be found. He mentioned that the Crown corporation audits will attempt to locate it.


Patrice Lavoie Hydro-Québec ensures that the Crown corporation collaborates with firefighters. 


“The counter, when it receives, we definitely do not keep on forever. Obviously, it is no longer functional also to be handed to another client, so it is simply recycled, “he explains.

Patrice Lavoie says he believes the meter is not in question. If in doubt, he invited the leader of the Quebec City fire department to contact Hydro-Québec. “We will collaborate and discuss with him to explain precisely how our appliances,” said the spokesman.

Counters of removed

Elsewhere in Canada, the Ontario Office of the Electrical Safety ordered last January uninstalling 5400 smart meters because they presented a fire hazard.

In Saskatchewan, the government forced SaskPower, in July 2014, to withdraw 105,000 smart meters installed in homes and businesses because of concerns raised by unexplained fires related to eight devices.

According to Hydro-Québec, the technology used in Quebec is however not the same as that of the meters installed in Ontario and Saskatchewan.