The Crown corporation said the decision to launch the pilot project comes after the successful installation and testing of 35,000 commercial and industrial smart meters.
“We’re looking forward to providing our customers with the many benefits of smart meters,” Shawn Schmidt, SaskPower’s vice-president of distribution and customer services, said in a statement Monday.
“For those who sign up, smart meters eliminate the need for estimated meter readings, provide detailed information on how an individual is using power in their home and over time, will improve SaskPower’s response to outages.”
SaskPower initially launched its residential smart meter program in 2014, but a number of setbacks caused the company to halt the program.
The initial meters failed due to dust and moisture getting inside the meters, and at least 10 fires were caused by the faulty meters.
SaskPower said at no time did the meters that failed start a house fire, and one house fire was caused by an electrical fault unrelated to the meter.
More than 100,000 meters were ordered removed from Saskatchewan homes. A subsequent investigation found that SaskPower moved ahead with the project too quickly and didn’t make safety enough of a priority.
SaskPower said it has since developed a “very strict safety and reliability criteria for smart meters.”
The company said the new meters, manufactured by Stratus IQ, were rigorously tested to ensure they could withstand Saskatchewan’s elements.
The results of the testing were verified independently by MET Labs, which SaskPower said is a leading company in North America for product safety approvals and regulatory certification of electrical products.
SaskPower said the Stratus IQ uses the same smart network as other Saskatchewan utilities.
The smarts meters will start rolling out in May to residential customers in communities experiencing higher-than-normal power outages. SaskPower said this will allow it to identify outages with more accuracy and in a timely manner.
More than 1,500 SaskPower employees, net metering customers, customers due for a meter exchange and customers who volunteered will also receive smart meters during the pilot program.