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A modernized grid: Smart meter installations begin

BC Hydro begins exchanging old technology with new smart meters

The current global electricity grid, hailed as the most significant engineering achievement of the 20th century, has fueled our society's prosperity almost since the days of Edison. It continues to keep our lights on, our businesses productive and our citizens comfortable.

Home electronics, consumer products and manufacturing automation are just a few examples of how technology has advanced leading to more electricity use than ever before.The grid wasn't built to respond to today's increase in demand or environmental challenges, and it is now not keeping pace.

BC Hydro is not the only utility facing these challenges, nor is it the only utility to respond. By the year 2015, 250 million smart meters will be installed worldwide; ensuring the grid of Edison's era is upgraded, enhanced and improved in ways we couldn't have imagined in his day.

Smart meter installation begins in B.C.

This summer, BC Hydro will begin exchanging existing meters with smart meters across the province.

These modern devices are part of an integrated system that measures the flow of electricity through the grid and can capture and record the amount of power that is consumed, and when.

Smart meters enable a range of new benefits that are not possible with the current system.

The electricity system that supplies the energy to power it all hasn't kept pace. For example, meters – the devices that measure how much electricity customers are using – have not fundamentally changed since the 1950s.

Smart meters will create the foundation for a modern electricity grid in B.C. – ensuring the safe, reliable delivery of electricity to homes and businesses throughout the province

What you can expect

Smart meter installations begin this summer and will continue through the end of 2012.

Delta, Ladner, Prince George and Richmond will be the first communities to have the new smart meters installed.

BC Hydro will send you a letter a few weeks in advance as a reminder that we'll be coming by. Installations will take place between Monday and Friday, between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. In most cases, the exchange will take less than 10 minutes and there will be a brief electrical outage, typically lasting 60 seconds.

Corix is the local company that has been contracted to install your smart meter, and the installers will be clearly identifiable by signs on their vehicles, logos on their uniforms, and photo identification badges. They'll knock on your door before starting any work, but you do not need to be home for the exchange to take place as long as they have safe, clear access to your meter.

Smart meters help power the future

Smart meters are the first step toward modernizing the electricity grid.

A modern grid is more efficient. There will be less electricity wasted, which means cost savings for you. And you'll save in other ways, too.

Designed for the future, smart meters will also enable energy innovations. Eventually, individuals and communities will be able to generate their own power through renewable energy sources like solar, wind and biomass.

And because smart meters are able to send and receive information, BC Hydro will know, immediately, when there's a power outage in your neighbourhood. That will help us to restore your power more quickly.

Smart meters put you in control

With smart meters in place, a range of additional conservation tools will become available to you, helping you to save energy and money in new ways.

Next year, BC Hydro customers will have access to a secure online account that displays how much energy you have used, when it was used and at what cost – up to the previous day.

Eventually, optional in-home feedback devices, such as an in-home display, will provide you with near real-time feedback on your consumption.

The installation of smart meters is an important step in ensuring a clean, bright energy future for British Columbia.

Use the links below for more information on BC Hydro's Smart Metering Program: