Saskatchewan

SaskPower to start installing next wave of smart power meters for Sask. businesses next week

SaskPower is moving ahead with the second phase of its smart meter expansion which will see 7,500 meters added to properties for commercial and industrial customers.

584 smart meters installed last year as part of phase 1

A SaskPower worker installs a smart meter, as part of the second phase of the Crown corporations expansion with commercial and industrial customers. (Radio-Canada)

SaskPower is moving ahead with the second phase of its smart meter expansion which will see 7,500 meters added to properties for commercial and industrial customers.

The Crown corporation will begin installing the meters in buildings across the province next week and expects the process will be complete by the end of the year, according to Tim Eckel, vice president of asset management, planning and sustainability.  

SaskPower said the project is one step toward fulfilling the goal of building smart power grid infrastructure in Saskatchewan over about five to 10 years.

"This will mean shorter power outages for customers," SaskPower said in a press release. "It will also enable SaskPower to bring more renewable customer-self generated power onto the grid."

There were nearly 600 meters installed last year during the first phase of the shift to smart meters for businesses. Smart meters can transmit data without the need for a meter reader on the site.

"The meters are safe. We've created a standard that's above industry standard. We've tested them to that rigorously," Eckel said. 

There is still no firm timeline for when the meters will be installed in people's homes, pending a meter that "meets the new, more rigourous safety standard" of commercial meters. 

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. 

With files from Radio-Canada