SaskPower to start mass smart meter deployment

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Canadian provincial power utility SaskPower is to start its mass deployment of smart meters in early 2022.

The decision follows a successful pilot launched in March in which 17,000 volunteers participated. However, supply chain issues due to the global shortage of microchips and semiconductors contributed to delays in its completion.

“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,” said SaskPower President & CEO Mike Marsh.

“We are beginning the programme 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.”

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Customers across the province will receive their smart meters during the next few years as supply allows. SaskPower’s deployment plan is scalable and responsive to the availability of meters, the company says in a statement.

In addition to the 17,000 meters deployed during the residential pilot, an additional 45,000 commercial and industrial (C&I) smart meters have been installed provincewide. There have been no issues with any of the smart meters, which were built to SaskPower’s specifications.

In particular, there was concern that they can withstand Saskatchewan’s extreme climate, which led to extensive testing including third party specification verification.

SaskPower is the principal utility in Saskatchewan serving more than 538,000 customers across the province.

SaskPower regards the smart meter programme as central to its grid modernisation efforts. The smart meters also are expected to support the utility’s clean energy and climate goals, which include reducing greenhouse gas emissions by at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030.

When complete, the smart meter programme alone should support an annual reduction of 581t of CO2 emissions, due to a reduction of approximately 2.3 million kilometres travelled per year for meter reading.