Following a round of smart meter testing in 2017, SaskPower is now expanding its re-launched pilot program.
The crown will install 7,500 meters on businesses and industries around Saskatchewan beginning Monday.
“These customers, a lot of them have been asking for smart meters. They have operations in other provinces where they have these and so they understand the benefits they can bring to them,” explained Tim Eckel, SaskPower’s vice-president of asset management, planning and sustainability.
This past October, SaskPower announced it was testing 500 meters for commercial and industrial customers, which included oilfield companies and several crown corporation facilities.
Eckel said there were no major issues, aside from one meter having a malfunction around the display. SaskPower called that first phase successful and decided to move ahead with expanded testing.
“These meters are safe. We’ve created a standard that’s above industry standard. We’ve tested them to that rigorously… Our employees are not at risk and our public is not at risk,” said Eckel.
The layered approach to re-introducing smart meters follows a string of malfunctions from 2014 when 10 of the devices caught fire and a removal was ordered of 108,000.
As part of the settlement from Sensus, the company that supplied the failed meters from four years ago, SaskPower received an $18 million credit. Eckel said they are talking to Sensus, but are also speaking with other companies as well.
He said this new phase of testing will not include homes. SaskPower has not yet found a meter suitable for residential use according to Eckel.
This new round of testing on 7,500 meters is expected to be completed towards the end of 2018.