Nova Scotia Power's $133M smart-meter plan gets green light

Nova Scotia Power has been given the green light by Nova Scotia's Utility and Review Board to go ahead with a $133-million project to install smart meters in homes and businesses across the province.

URB also tells company to provide details about the cost to customers to opt out of program

The rollout of smart meters is expected to begin in late 2019. (CBC)

Nova Scotia Power has been given the green light by Nova Scotia's Utility and Review Board to proceed with a $133-million project to install smart meters in homes and businesses across the province.

The meters will allow the company to automatically measure how much electricity people consume and will largely eliminate the need for meter readers to take the measurement in person.

The company will also instantly know if a customer loses power, which it says will result in more efficient power restoration.

On Tuesday, the board released its decision, which included a provision that customers would be allowed to continue to use the device they have, which is something the company had already planned to allow.

By Aug. 31, Nova Scotia Power must inform the board of the cost to consumers of opting out of the smart-meter program. As well, the board wants to know the plan for informing customers of this option.

The decision notes the company anticipates the all-in cost per smart meter will be $269. Nova Scotia Power will pay that expense.

Nova Scotia Power estimates it will save $38 million over the next 20 years by using smart meters, primarily because of reduced labour costs that would normally be spent on meter readers.

The company expects installation to begin in late next year.