July 16, 2014 7:59 pm
Updated: November 11, 2014 11:50 am

SaskPower installer requirements questioned after smart meter fires


REGINA – Could under-qualified installers be the reason for SaskPower smart meters catching on fire?

The Opposition NDP thinks so and is calling on the Government of Saskatchewan for tougher regulations.

NDP SaskPower critic Cathy Sproule is accusing the company of cutting corners and hiring installers that don’t meet provincial standards.

“They’re very high-powered units. We want to make sure people are safe,” said Sproule.

“We expect the government and SaskPower to demonstrate that.”

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SaskPower has already installed 105,000 smart meter units around the province but with six fires over the last month-and-a-half, installation is now on hold.

The law typically requires electrical workers to be journeymen or a supervised apprentice. But the NDP says a government exemption for less qualified workers at SaskPower contractor, Grid One, is now being taken advantage of.

SaskPower president Robert Watson says that’s simply not the case.

“They’re properly trained according to what the regulations say,” said Watson.

“We’re not skirting anything. These are fully trained, capable installers.”

Watson says a team is looking into what went wrong with the meter swaps but for now SaskPower remains committed to the new technology.

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