Horizon looks to the future with smart meter installation

Ottawa, Canada

Hamilton and St. Catharine’s, ON, Canada — (METERING.COM) — August 19, 2006 – Horizon Utilities, a municipally-owned electricity distribution company in Ontario that provides services to over 230,000 customers, has today announced the launch of a powerWISE® smart meter pilot project in support of the Ontario government’s energy plan, that calls for over 800,000 smart meters to be installed in the province by 2010.

Following a smaller pilot to test smart meter technology and communications protocols last year, the powerWISE project will involve the immediate installation of 7,500 smart meters. Widespread deployment of more than 60,000 smart meters in the region will begin later in 2006. Under the powerWISE name, Horizon is also working cooperatively with five of Ontario’s other large electricity distribution companies and the Ministry of Energy to deliver new and innovative energy conservation programs.

Max Cananzi, President and CEO of Horizon Utilities, said of the program and technology: “Smart meters are one part of an overall provincial effort to build a culture of energy conservation in Ontario and reduce the strain on the system during periods of peak electricity demand such as those we experienced over the last few weeks.

“The primary goal with smart meters is to help raise consumer awareness about energy consumption and the cost of electricity. However, smart meter technology will also make estimated electricity bills a thing of the past, which will be welcome news for some customers.”

Cananzi went on to say: “Once time-of-use rates come into effect, customers who have a smart meter installed and who do not have a contact with an energy retailer may be able to save themselves some money. .[But] it is important for customers to note that time-of-use rates are not yet in effect. Customers who receive a smart meter as part of out pilot project will not notice any changes on their bill. They will continue to be charged according to the current Regulated Price Plan or as per their contract with an energy retailer.”