Nova Scotia Power plans to have all residential and business customers using smart meter technology by 2020.
The company made an application with the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (UARB) on Thursday for approval of the $133-million project.
Customers will not be charged for the new meters, and Nova Scotia Power estimates the meters will reduce costs to the system by $38 million over the next 20 years.
“It will allow modernization of how we collect and use and apply data,” said Nova Scotia Power president and CEO Karen Hutt.
“There will be a reliability benefit. So today, we don’t necessarily know that a customer’s power is off, save for a large-scale event, but on an individual basis, we don’t know unless a customer calls us. This will give us immediate notification and allow us to immediately trigger a restoration response to that.”
Hutt says customers will also be able to manage their own power use better. They will also have the “tools to make their own decisions on how they want to use their energy.”
According to the company, 70 per cent of Canadian homes already have smart meters.
The implementation of the devices has been controversial in certain provinces, including Saskatchewan and Ontario, where utilities have dealt with malfunctioning meters, cost overruns and fires.
“We are in a position that we can learn from those other jurisdictions and also in a position that we can adopt technology that is excellent technology but at a cheaper cost for customers,” Hutt said.
If the UARB approves the application, the board will establish a roll-out schedule for the project. Hutt says the company hopes to begin installing meters as part of a pilot program in 2018.
They plan to install the smart meters more widely in 2019 and have all 500,000 customers changed over by mid-2020.