Nova Scotia Power has received regulatory approval to install digital smart meters, which will collect data on customers’ power usage.
“That will be 500,000 meters that we’ll be replacing with new modernized technology, so we’re very pleased with that decision and we’re looking forward to moving ahead,” said Karen Hutt, Nova Scotia Power’s president and CEO.
The technology will log customers’ energy use in intervals as frequently as 15 minutes. That data will then be sent to the utility though “a safe, secure, and private wireless network that will be built as part of the project.”
That means the meters will not require manual in-person readings, and the number of staff who read meters will be reduced by about 72 people.
Hutt says the data the meters collect could be valuable for consumers and the utility alike.
“We will be collecting that and we will be looking at ways that we can develop value-add products and solutions for our customers.”
The new meters will not increase power rates because the $133-million project is expected to be offset by savings over its 20-year life.
That includes an estimated $27 million saved by offering lower power rates for customers who use power at times when demand is low.
The utility says it will spend the next year building and testing the secure communication network needed for the project.