Smart metering in Canada


Ven Seshadri,
The SpiGroup
Toronto, ON, Canada — (METERING.COM) — March 10, 2008  – The Westin Prince hotel, located on the northern cusp of central Toronto, played host to this year’s 3rd Smart Metering Canada conference. From the grand facilities accommodating eager conference participants to the sumptuous spread of delicious refreshments, the venue was suitably prepared to stage a most memorable event.  

Monday February 25 opened with Grant Gilchrist from EnerNex conducting a highly engaging Home Area Networks workshop. In the afternoon, Ven Sheshadri from SPi Group led the session in conjunction with Siemens, which covered retail settlements and an interesting look at a “day in the life of a smart meter.”

The following morning, the registration reception was abuzz with attendees and speakers alike. With the majority of the audience seated, the conference room closed to outside distractions, Shane Pospisil from the Ontario Energy Association began the day’s proceedings. Marika Hare (Ontario Energy Board) and David Collie (Burlington Hydro and Electricity Distributors Association) completed the early morning session. Leading up to the first day’s lunch break were presentations giving an overview of smart initiatives from Jack Robertson (Elster), Bob Warden (Echelon) and Scott Rouse (Energy@Work).

Meter data management has come forward as a source of incredible strategic business value for all utilities. The afternoon presentations included an update from the IESO (Bruce Campbell), insight into MDM in the production mode from Paul Ferguson (Newmarket-Tay Power), and summed up by Aclara Software’s Jackie Lemmerhirt.

The final session of the day saw local utilities paired up with their meter manufacturers on a panel entitled “Smart metering synergy”. Chatham-Kent Hydro was paired with Tantalus, Toronto Hydro with Elster, and PowerStream with Trilliant. With Ven Sheshadri as the moderator, the panel spoke about their partnerships, how they first came about and where they see things moving ahead together in the future. In many respects it proved how important these relationships are.

Wednesday morning’s proceedings were set in motion with a look into demand response programs. Presentations from Tom Wasik (Enersource Hydro) and Shane Mason (Hydro One) covered next generation metering and cyber security issues. Sharon Talbott from eMeter concluded the early morning panel with a rousing and informative presentation tying together TOU billing, conservation and load management.

Following the break, the smart grid came under the spotlight. Myron Graessle (Trilliant) covered wireless network solutions, with Peter Landauer (CapGemini) giving a detailed presentation on integrated communications. Bob Myers (Golden Horseshoe Metering) gave a case study presentation on submetering projects in and around Toronto.

After lunch, attendees reconvened for a series on smart metering for the environment. BC Hydro’s Allison Morrison looked at AMI and environmental sustainability, with Grant Simpson from Arc Innovations looking at AMI projects in New Zealand and Canada.

The closing panel discussion, late on Wednesday afternoon, kept a significant number of attendees in their seats. Marion Fraser (ex-Ministry of Energy) steered a high-profile panel through a series of probing questions regarding the future of smart metering in the country. Michael Angemeer (Veridian), Steve MacDonald (Toronto Hydro), Stephen Andrews (Borden, Ladner, Gervais), and James Keech (Utilities Kingston), faced an inquisition from the floor. The panelists handled themselves with aplomb, even when shaken with one or two awkward questions.

Overall the conference was a proven success. The interaction between the participants, the speakers and the floor, all lead to myriad new questions and ideas that need to be answered and address. New relationships were made and old ties strengthened – a positive sign for all involved. This momentum will be carried through to Smart Metering Canada 2009.