SaskPower plans to install 7,500 more smart meters

SaskPower plans to roll out 7,500 more smart meters to industrial and commercial customers. This follows the pilot project that began in October and saw 584 meters installed.

It's still not clear when smart meters will roll out to residential customers

SaskPower's initial smart meter program was halted when the utility was told to remove about 105,000 devices installed. (CBC)

More smart meters will be installed throughout Saskatchewan following the completion of a pilot installation. 

The pilot program launched in October, 2017 with 584 meters installed for commercial and industrial customers. According to a news release issued by SaskPower, the devices operated as planned.

One of the meters malfunctioned and stopped working, but SaskPower said that is "routine for a small percentage of any electronic device." 

The provincial Crown corporation also found that certain locations are more difficult to communicate with in its data network. It says it has made adjustments in those cases.

About 7,500 more meters will be installed for commercial and industrial customers in the province for the expanded pilot. 

At this time, it's unknown when residential meters will roll out. SaskPower said that timeline will be in part determined by the results of the expanded pilot.

In 2014, the Saskatchewan government ordered SaskPower to remove 105,000 smart meters installed at homes and businesses across the province.

The removal came in the wake of several unexplained fires associated with the units. The price tag for the removal was pegged at $47 million. 

A review of the provincial smart meters said warning signs were missed and customer safety was not given enough priority by SaskPower. 

According to the review, the company had received advice that it should have installed small batches of meters gradually and then monitor them for problems. 

Instead of doing that, the company installed 105,000 during a three week period.

It was eventually determined that moisture and other contaminants were the cause of the fires, rather than issues with installation.