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FortisBC applying to install 1M wireless gas meters across B.C.

Traditional (left) and new advanced (right) FortisBC gas meters.
Traditional (left) and new advanced (right) FortisBC gas meters. FortisBC

B.C.’s natural gas meters could get a little bit smarter if FortisBC has its way.

The company that supplies natural gas to most British Columbians is applying to the B.C. Utilities Commission (BCUC) to replace the old-style gas meters in more than a million homes and businesses with new, wireless “advanced gas meters.”

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The meters would use sound to measure gas usage and communicate that data wirelessly to FortisBC.

The gas company says the system would allow it to remotely detect leaks while allowing customers to view their gas usage in real time.

FortisBC gas line work begins in Coquitlam
FortisBC gas line work begins in Coquitlam

The company said it will also mean meter readers wouldn’t need to enter people’s property, reducing carbon emissions by about 1,100 tonnes per year.

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If the project is approved, customers would not be able to opt out of the new system.

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However, they would be able to have the meters’ wireless radios turned off, with FortisBC manually downloading the gas usage data.

Customers who opt for the “radio off” mode would be required to pay an additional fee.

FortisBC is conducting public consultations over the fall and making its application to the BCUC early next year.

A decision on the approval is expected by the following year, with installation potentially running from 2022 to 2026.