5 Questions with Cheryl Robertson on the Next Phase of Our Smart Meter Program

July 18, 2019

Cheryl Robertson

Quotables:

  • About 75% of our largest industrial and business customers have been asking for this technology.
  • Customer safety is our #1 priority.
  • Customers who took part in the second pilot are happy with the installation process. Not only that, but they saw the immediate benefits, like accurate bills due to actual meter reads.

After 2 successful pilots, we’re expanding our smart meter program again! We sat down with Cheryl Robertson, Director of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) to find out what that means and who it’ll impact.

  1. How’s the program expanding?

    In 2019, we’re continuing on with our smart meter program. This means 20,000 meters will be installed on commercial and industrial businesses.
     
    About 75% of our largest industrial and business customers have been asking for this technology. About half of the meters will go to them. They’ve already used the technology in other places they do business and have seen the benefits smart meters provide.

    The remaining meters will go to select small- and medium-sized businesses. We’ll be in touch with them in the coming weeks. Businesses we approach will be given the chance to defer their smart meter until a later time.

  2. How did the last pilot go?

    Customers who took part in the second pilot are happy with installation process. Not only that, but they’re seeing the immediate benefits, like accurate bills due to actual meter reads.

    Soon they’ll have access to more details about their power usage online. This will give them the data they need to save power.

    In the future, smart meters will also help us pinpoint outages faster. That, and they’ll allow us to bring more renewable power to the grid.

  3. Are smart meters safe?

    Yes. Customer safety is our #1 priority.

    We’ve got our own set of specifications to test our smart meters. And this goes far beyond industry standards. Before installing the meters, they must pass a third-party test. We also test all the meters at our own facilities. We push them far beyond their capabilities to ensure they’re safe.

  4. Who’s installing the meters this phase?

    We want the meters installed safely. We’ll look within SaskPower first. If there’s a need to offset heavy workloads, we’ll anticipate we may need to hire approximately 10 contractors to install the smart meters.

    All contractors will be journeyed power line technicians or electricians from Saskatchewan. Some will be former SaskPower employees. They’ll be following all our policies and procedures when installing. A SaskPower manager will ensure their work is up to our standards.

  5. Are smart meters being installed on my house?

    No. We aren’t installing any smart meters on residential homes.
     
    We are hoping to test a meter that meets our specification and start piloting them in the next couple years.

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