SaskPower is replacing regular meters with Smart Meters in the new year.
Minister Responsible for SaskPower, Don Morgan says there was a trial project for the meters, installing around 45 thousand of them that were in place for about a year.
“I have one at my own home and it's worked flawlessly and I don't think we've had trouble with any of them. What it does is it sends a message to SaskPower if there's a power outage, and it allows the consumer to look at what their power consumption is in real-time.”
Morgan says this gives consumers the opportunity to decide if they want to buy an energy-efficient piece of equipment such as a washer or dryer if they want to. He explains the installation process:
“It does not mean they have to shut the grid off during the time that they're putting it on your home. It would be shut off for five to 15 minutes. After they undo a clip on the meter, they pull the old meter off, inspect the meter socket, and plug it back in. Usually, they would phone the customer first, although they could certainly do it when the customer is not home.”
Morgan talks about why SaskPower decided to implement Smart Meters.
“You know, over a period of time they've been working through modernizing the grid and a variety of other things, and there were requests from customers: ‘How do we know how much power we're using?’ But the thing that was most important for power itself was: ‘How do we know, and how can we identify the exact location of a power outage?’ So, if they get a signal from every meter where the power has gone off, they can isolate a problem area almost instantaneously.”
This project will cost SaskPower around $120 million, but won’t cost anything extra for the consumer. The project will begin in January, and Morgan says SaskPower will distribute the meters as quickly as the meters arrive.