Smart meter fires: Sensus payout ‘horrible’ deal for utility customers

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SaskPower smart meters fires installationIn Canada, opposition political party NDP is attempting to make political gains by declaring electric utility SaskPower’s recall deal with Sensus “horrible”.

The NDP said that SaskPower’s chief financial officer revealed on Monday night that if the government doesn’t install Sensus smart meters on Saskatchewan homes again, it will lose $18 million from the compensation package.

Cathy Sproule, NDP critic for SaskPower, said: “The deeper we dig on the smart meter settlement this government came to with Sensus, the more it appears to be a horrible deal for Saskatchewan people.

“Sensus caused fires on Saskatchewan homes, and put over 100,000 families and homes at risk, But, this government has given them a gift of $5 million, and now another $18 million that is, according to SaskPower’s Chief Financial Officer, not going to be recovered.”

Smart meter recall

In September 2014, SaskPower struck a deal with Sensus to recoup some of the costs of recalling 105,000 units following fires linked to the products.

The energy company agreed to contribute a cash injection of US$24 million towards the US$47 million cost of removing the Sensus Generation 3 meters and replacing them with a basic digital device.

The compensation deal also includes a US$18 million credit for “future metering products” as well as US$5 million towards the research and development of a new meter for SaskPower.

However SaskPower minister Bill Boyd had claimed the $18 million would be repaid in cash if SaskPower decided not to use Sensus in the future.

Probe into settlement deal

SaskPower is now saying this isn’t true, according to the NDP.

During a Standing Committee on Crown and Central Agencies, SaskPower’s chief financial officer Sandeep Kalra confirmed that if Saskatchewan doesn’t re-install Sensus smart meters, the $18 million won’t be recoverable.

The NDP is now demanding to see the settlement deal the government made with Sensus.

The party is also calling for Minister Boyd to resign.