FortisBC has decided to move ahead with the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project after receiving approval from the BC Utilities Commission (BCUC) on July 23, following an extensive public review process.
“Advanced meters, also referred to as smart meters, will help FortisBC customers see how their electricity is being used, so they can better understand their bills and make more informed decisions on how to conserve energy,” said Tom Loski, vice-president of customer service at FortisBC. “Electricity rates will be lower with advanced meters than without them, since the new meters will reduce electricity theft and nearly eliminate the expense from manual meter reading. It’s an exciting project that will provide a variety of benefits to customers, both now and into the future.”
As part of the BCUC decision approving the AMI project, the commission directed FortisBC to submit an application providing an option for customers to receive an advanced meter with the wireless radio transmissions turned off if they pay the incremental cost of opting-out. FortisBC has agreed to file an application by the Nov. 1 deadline providing details about the radio-off option, including fees charged to customers related to the incremental costs.
The process of exchanging the approximately 130,000 electricity meters throughout B.C.’s Southern Interior will start next year and is expected to be finished by the end of 2015. The project affects only FortisBC’s electricity customers, and does not include changing gas meters anywhere in the province.
Advanced meters are similar in appearance to traditional meters, but are able to wirelessly transmit meter readings and other operational information such as power outages.