SaskPower set to put smart meters in homes across the province

·2 min read
SaskPower is getting ready for mass deployment of smart meters. (Cory Herperger/CBC News - image credit)
SaskPower is getting ready for mass deployment of smart meters. (Cory Herperger/CBC News - image credit)

SaskPower will start putting smart meters in homes across the province in January.

"The decision to proceed with mass deployment comes after a successful pilot of new rigorously tested smart meters," said Don Morgan, the minister responsible for SaskPower, at a news conference on Monday.

The Crown corporation's pilot project saw 17,000 volunteers receive a smart meter. The meter records how much electricity people are using so they will be charged an exact amount and eliminates the need for billing estimates.

The province previously had to order SaskPower to remove 105,000 smart meters from homes after eight fires related to the devices.

"I would say to people these are well tested now … and are working fine," said Morgan, who said he used a smart meter in his own home as part of the pilot.

He said his meter worked great. He also said that new meters are different from the ones associated with the fires, but from the same manufacturer.

Mike Marsh, the president of SaskPower, said the new meters go above the industry's safety standard.

"We stand behind the quality and safety of these meters," he said.

The new smart meters will also be able to inform SaskPower when a customer faces a power outage.

"As we all know from last week's storm. Saskatchewan receives some unpredictable and harsh weather which can result in an outage. By alerting SaskPower of outages we can deploy teams to fix those outages even faster," said Morgan.

Cory Herperger/CBC News
Cory Herperger/CBC News

Starting in January, people who live in farms and rural areas will be among the first to receive the meter. Morgan said that's because people living in those areas typically receive a meter reading once a year, whereas people living in urban settings typically receive a reading every three months.

In addition to the 17,000 meters the province installed as part of the pilot project, the Crown has also already installed 45,000 industrial and commercial smart meters in the province.

The rollout of the meters to customers will take place over the next few years, depending on SaskPower's supply, which has been affected by a global microchip shortage.

The switch will not be mandatory. Customers will have a choice as to whether they want to opt in.

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