Smart meter fires: Canada’s political wrangle over investigation

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In the Canadian province of Saskatchewan, the political opposition party the NDP has called for an independent investigation into fires linked to Sensus smart meters and not one where “the government investigates itself”.

The call follows the appointment late last month by the Crown Investments Corporation (CIC), the holding company that manages the Government of Saskatchewan’s assets including utilities, of consultancy PricewaterhouseCoopers to review procurement of the Sensus Generation 3 meters and the contracts for installing the smart meter units.

Not independent enough

NDP leader Cam Broten said Wednesday he’d like the provincial auditor to “get to the bottom of this mess” and Premier Brad Wall should make that happen, according to Canadian news sources.

Mr Broten says having government use the CIC to investigate smart meters, including the contract that went out to a private firm, makes it an internal process.

Broten said: “The provincial auditor reports to the people of the province to everyone and can give an honest assessment of everything that has happened.

“So why even have this potential problem where we have the government investigating itself?”

SaskPower rollout probe

In reaction to the NDP’s comments, Bill Boyd, the minister responsible for SaskPower, said the auditor can investigate whatever she wants. He also said the  government review will be independent, too.

“I think it’s in everybody’s interests — including the government — to ensure that the public get the details of if there were problems related to the contract,” he said.

Under government pressure, SaskPower has suspended the smart meter rollout and is in the process of removing and replacing all 105,000 of the smart meters with older units at an estimated cost of CA$47 million

Have your say…

The Big Question: What can the industry learn from the Sensus-SaskPower crisis?