SaskPower switches to yearly meter readings for some customers

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SaskPower is now reading some customers' meters once a year, instead of every three months.

The change, which took effect in January, affects only customers living in communities of fewer than 500 people. That's about 42,000 people — a small slice of the public utility's total 525,000 customer base.

The Crown corporation began telling customers about the new reading schedule last month through emails, notices attached to bills, and door hangers left by meter readers.

Customers who don't self-report their monthly meter readings — either online or by phoning SaskPower — will be billed monthly according to an estimate of how much power they used the same month one year before.

SaskPower also recently launched a self-reporting app for mobile phones.

"It's definitely something that we're encouraging folks to do more and more often," said SaskPower spokeswoman Heather Johnson. "Especially, we've had folks express a desire to make sure their readings are as accurate as possible."

More efficient, says SaskPower

Johnson said the transition is meant to make better use of technicians' time.

"In the rural areas in particular, a lot of the times our power line technicians or the SaskPower staff are the ones that have to take care of the meter reads," said Johnson. 

"These are highly trained, highly technically skilled folks and their time is really better spent caring for ... or, in the case of outages, repairing the infrastructure."

No staff have been laid off as a result of the change, Johnson added.