When it comes to keeping up with the Joneses, Newfoundland and Labrador has some work to do, with Nova Scotia Power getting the green light to introduce smart meters and improve tracking of energy use in homes and businesses in that province.
It’s something we don’t have in N.L.
The approval came from the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (UARB), based on a plan put forward by the power utility, to start installing smart meters and upgrading the system in 2019 and 2020.
It is not a small project, with the upgrade of all the analog and digital meters across Nova Scotia estimated at a total cost of about $133 million.
Smart meters essentially provide a consistent connection between your power meter and the power company, allowing for more information to go out to the utility — and to you — faster.
Without smart meters, generally speaking, someone comes around once a month or once every couple of months to read the numbers off the power meter, or will read a digital meter remotely (by “pinging” the meter and retrieving information). A utility may even estimate power bills, when access to the meter isn’t available, correcting at the next available opportunity.
- smart meter systems, information is constantly available about your energy usage, updated in some cases every 15 minutes.
It allows utilities to provide information on your power use down to the day, even hour, and lets you track on your phone changes in your power usage. You can see, for example, how a significant new appliance might be affecting your bill and allows notifications to be issued during the month, when energy use creeps up beyond the norm.
With smart meter systems in place, utilities can also consider new rate options, including time-of-use rates.
Ultimately, they can help customers understand their power bills down and keep them as low as possible, as suggested in information being provided now to Nova Scotia Power customers.
“Smart meters give customers the information they need to understand their daily energy use. That’s why they’re already in 70 per cent of Canadian homes,” states an informational video issued by Nova Scotia Power.
Newfoundland Power told The Telegram virtually all meters in the province were automated by the end of 2017, allowing them to now at least be pinged and read remotely, but that’s not the same as having a smart meter system constantly providing information.
The metering in Newfoundland and Labrador would not allow for discounted rates at certain times of day, The Telegram was told.