NDP asking who’s behind smart meter installer exemptions

REGINA – The opposition is blasting the government again over the mess that’s become of the province’s smart meter program.

NDP critics are asking if a politician was behind the request to allow under-qualified installers.

“We want to know who directed, who called for this exemption and why,” NDP deputy leader Trent Wotherspoon said Tuesday.

The request to Occupational Health and Safety (OH&S) came from SaskPower and Grid One, a contractor.

OH&S says the workers met the national standard to be labeled competent.

“Once we saw the nature of the work, the method in which it was going to be supervised and the training that was going to be provided, we were satisfied appropriate precautions had been taken,” said Mike Carr, deputy labour relations minister.

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Carr isn’t who the NDP want to hear from, though.

The government announced on July 30 all smart meters in the province would be removed following several reported fires and we later learned the cost of that decision would be more than $47 million.

Since then, most interview requests have been redirected to SaskPower instead of the minister responsible for the crown corporation, Bill Boyd.

“(Government is) pulling the strings, they’re approving the decisions of SaskPower and they’re directing some of those decisions,” Wotherspoon said.

The government’s Crown Investments Corporation (CIC) is leading an investigation into what went wrong with the failed smart meter installations, but the opposition is still calling for the provincial auditor to conduct a truly independent examination.

“When it’s addressing an issue of safety for families, protection of property … that’s very much the role of the provincial auditor’s office,” said Wotherspoon.

The NDP claimed last week the province went ahead with smart meter installations even though senior officials were aware of potential dangers.