Prince Albert residents won’t have to worry about SaskPower coming to their door to have their power meter removed or replaced.
The Government of Saskatchewan announced the discontinuation of the SaskPower smart meter program on Wednesday out of concern for public safety after reports that the meters were the source of at least eight fires.
According to SaskPower spokesperson Heather Johnson, the smart meters were not installed in Prince Albert.
“I am not seeing Prince Albert on the list of communities with (smart) meters at all,” Johnson said.
“We haven’t been installing meters since July 15 when we stopped the program to start investigating,” she added. “We haven’t been installing any since then nor will there be any more now.”
Concerns about any connection between SaskPower meters and city water meters can also be put to rest, as the two meters are completely separate.
The city uses radio read meters for water, director of finance Joe Day said.
“There’s just a small little battery in our water meters that do transmit a signal occasionally that we can pick up,” Day said. “But there’s really no high voltage electricity going through our water meters so we don’t believe there’s that same risk.”
He added that most water meters are operated separately from power meters.
“They’re going to transmit their signals just from a AA battery, like many devices from around your home,” Day said. “That’s all there is that powers the transmitter so there’s very little risk of electrical malfunction with those (water meters).”
The smart meters recorded energy usage in small intervals and relayed the information electronically to a utility company. Electricity bills were no longer estimated when a meter reader wasn’t available for an on-site check.
SaskPower will be removing and replacing 105,000 defective smart meters with old power meters.
The provincial government is going after the manufacturer, Census, for part of the $15-million cost.
Crown Investments Corporation of Saskatchewan will be investigating and SaskPower is conducting its own internal review.
Smart meters for natural gas and water will remain in place.
-- with files from the Canadian Press