Smart meters focus of Question Period at legislature today

The issue of smart meters continues to dominate Question Period at the Saskatchewan Legislature.
Cam Broten, leader of the Opposition NDP, says the government has been elusive when it comes to answering questions about SaskPower's smart meter program. (CBC)
The issue of smart meters continues to dominate Question Period at the Saskatchewan Legislature, with much of the talk concerning who in government knew what — and when — about safety issues related to the devices.

The provincial Crown corporation had embarked on a program to replace power meters with new devices but abandoned the plan when fires were reported at a handful of installs.

At the legislature, the opposition wants the minister who oversees SaskPower to resign or be fired.

The NDP noted the Saskatchewan Party cabinet minister, Bill Boyd, claimed he was unaware of any problems until a few months ago, even though briefing materials from 2012 reference smart meter problems.

It was also noted, on Monday, that the minister and the utility praised a pilot program with the meters as having been a success, despite removing the devices after a few months as a safety precaution.

NDP leader Cam Broten questioned an annual report from SaskPower on that.

"The annual report could have talked about, 'Well we think we're OK now, but we had major problems behind us.' But it was silent on that," Broten said. "And this minister and this government have been silent."

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall says the government was relying on advice from SaskPower, when it came to smart meters. (CBC)

Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall responded to questions about the smart meters by talking about how the government was advised by the Crown corporation. He added the government believed the problems were fixed, when they were not.

"The question's always going to be on a go-forward basis and the position of the minister, advised by SaskPower, was, 'We are comfortable. We're comfortable with the meters, we're comfortable that these issues have been addressed.' Turns out they weren't," Wall said Monday.

The opposition said they believe the government has not been providing straight answers on smart meters, and that the minister has been changing his story on when — or even if — he knew about problems with the meters.