SaskPower to begin piloting commercial smart meters

SaskPower says safety testing on the meters have is done and it will spend the next year monitoring the technology.

Utility doesn't plan to install smart meters on homes until 2018-19

SaskPower will be testing around 500 new smart meters. (Trent Pepper/CBC)

Smart meters will start making an official comeback in Saskatchewan soon. 

On Thursday, SaskPower president and CEO Mike Marsh announced a plan to install around 500 commercial and industrial smart meters in a pilot program to monitor the technology and its software over the next year. 

Smart meters can transmit data without the need for a meter reader on the site. Marsh said SaskPower has spent the past three years testing the new meters. 

"We worked hard with the meter industry," he said.

"We are very, very confident that we have a very, very, good meter specification and one that has the highest standard in the industry today." 

Safety testing completed, utility says

The utility's highlighting of safety comes after the provincial government ordered 105,000 meters be removed from homes and businesses in 2014 after more than half a dozen electrical fires sparked widespread concerns. 

Marsh said the new meters have been developed and tested according to standards set by the manufacturer, Sensus Corporation — the same supplier as the previous batch of meters — and the utility itself. 

The utility says the test meters will be installed at sites belonging to two industrial customers and SaskPower and SaskEnergy sites.

Residential smart meters still on horizon

Marsh said Thursday it will likely take another year to a year and a half for residential smart meters to be deployed again. 

The utility is currently developing a residential smart meter with Sensus Corporation, he said. 

"In the beginning when we negotiated the settlement with them, they agreed to continue to work with us to provide a meter that met our specification and they continue to work with our team today," said Marsh.