There were eight unexplained fires related to smart meters installed in homes and businesses in Saskatchewan last month. The Saskatchewan government ordered SaskPower to remove and replace the 105,000 smart meters that have been installed throughout the province.
Smart meters allow a utility company to bill customers for the power they use each month rather than relying on estimates between meter readings. SaskPower introduced the replacement program in October of 2013, planning to install 500,000 smart meters total. The program has now been halted.
“This sounds like the problem is either with the meters themselves or with the installation,” shared Chris Vilcsak, President and CEO of Solution 105. “Eight fires are obviously more than enough to prompt removal.”
SaskPower’s CEO, Robert Watson, released an apology message on the company’s website. He indicated that the fires could have been a result of an inferior product.
“Despite assurances from both the smart meter supplier as well as independent industry experts, the smart meters clearly did not meet our standards – nor did they meet the expectations of our customers,” stated Watson. Read his full message here.
Watson also assured that utility rates will not be going up for Saskatchewan energy users and that SaskPower will work within their budget to resolve the issue. What is the cost?
Consider the cost of purchasing a new non-smart meter product, the labour to removed the already installed smart meters, the cost of stock for the smart meters that will now never be installed and the installation of the new meters. It’s estimated that projects new direction will cost about $47 million and take up to nine months to complete.
Watch the news story on Global News.