Some residents in the central California city of Stockton learned the hard way that so-called "smart meters" installed on their homes by the electrical utility can some times be anything but smart. Two days later, some were still in dark with no power.
It all began Monday when a dump truck crashed through a Pacific Gas & Electric utility pole. When the truck hit the power poles, live wires came crashing to the ground. A line carrying 60,000 volts landed on a lower line designed to carry only 12,000 volts. That sent a surge of power through homes and businesses near the accident, initially knocking out power to thousands of customers.
“The top lines are considered our freeways. The bottom lines are our distribution lines taking power directly to homes,” said PG&E spokeswoman Brandi Ehlers. “So when the two collide, they’re at different voltages and the higher voltage wins out, causing an overload.”
More than 8,000 homes were without electricity because of the surge, but have since had the power restored. Neighbors in the area described the sound as "a loud pop, a bomb going off, and strong enough to shake a house." Another neighbor told CBS13 that "The neighbor across the street, his meter doesn’t look as bad but his receptacles are all blackened." said Brad Abernathy.