SaskPower announces mass smart meter deployment

Officials said these meters will allow SaskPower to respond to outages faster and ensure accurate billing. File / Global News

SaskPower announced on Monday it’s set to begin installing more smart meters across Saskatchewan.

This follows a pilot that saw 17,000 residential volunteers receive one in 2021. An additional 45,000 commercial and industrial smart meters have already been installed province-wide.

“We are pleased with the results of the pilot and are looking forward to making the benefits of smart meters available to everyone in Saskatchewan,” SaskPower president and CEO Mike Marsh said in a statement.

“We are beginning the program with a number of farm and rural customers because they typically receive a meter reading once a year, unlike SaskPower’s urban customers, whose meters are typically read every three months.”

Read more: SaskPower expanding commercial smart meter pilot program

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The province ordered SaskPower to remove 105,000 smart meter models from homes after reports of the devices catching fire in 2014. There were no deaths or significant property loss due to the malfunctions.

A review after the fires found rainwater and contaminants getting into the faulty residential meters — manufactured by Sensus — appeared to contribute to its failure.

On Monday, government officials said there have been no issues with any of the new smart meters.

“They’re a different meter. It’s a different product. The same manufacturer,” Minister Responsible for SaskPower Don Morgan said.

“I think it was an understandable concern. We were fortunate the fires that happened were of a minor nature and nobody was hurt in them, but nonetheless, it was a frightening and eerie thing. That’s why they did the extensive testing and trial process that was there.

“Over 60,000 have been out for over a year with not a problem anywhere. So I think we’re well satisfied that we don’t have an issue. So I’d say to the people these are well tested now, including on my own house, and they’re working fine.”

Click to play video: 'SaskPower rolling out residential smart meter pilot project' SaskPower rolling out residential smart meter pilot project
SaskPower rolling out residential smart meter pilot project – Mar 16, 2021

The Crown corporation said the new meters will allow SaskPower to respond to outages faster and customers can receive their own during the next few years as supply allows.

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— with files from the Canadian Press

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