News Release

Smart Metering Program

The Smart Metering Program is an important part of BC Hydro’s overall capital program of modernizing and renewing our province’s energy infrastructure to meet the growing demand for electricity in British Columbia.

The electricity grid has changed very little over the past 50 years. As mechanical meters are becoming obsolete, it is necessary for BC Hydro to replace them. The replacement of mechanical meters with new smart meters is the first step in modernizing BC Hydro’s electricity grid.

Smart meters are digital meters that allow two-way communications between a customer’s meter and BC Hydro through a secure connection that captures the amount of electricity consumed and when. Smart meters are part of an integrated system that will deliver significant benefits to customers and make British Columbia’s electricity system safer and more reliable, improve customer service and help reduce electricity theft.

IMPLEMENTATION DETAILS
Smart meter installation will begin this summer. BC Hydro will provide customers with advance notification that their existing meters will be exchanged with smart meters. The exchange process takes only a few minutes and customers do not have to be home when it occurs.

B.C.-based Corix Utilities will install the 1.8 million meters to homes and businesses across the province while internationally renowned Capgemini will provide the project implementation and technology integration services that will be critical to the overall success of the program.

BENEFITS AND OPPORTUNITIES
The program will pay for itself and deliver additional benefits of over $500 million, over the next 20 years, in today’s dollars. All of those savings will be passed on to customers keeping rates lower than they would otherwise be in the absence of BC Hydro’s investment in the program.

The Smart Metering Program will:

Improve safety and reliability through faster and more precise outage notification and a reduction in the damage and hazards caused by illegal electricity diversions.

Enhance customer service by reporting electricity use more accurately. Eliminating estimated bills, simplifying the process of opening and closing account when moving, reducing the need for onsite visits.

Reduce electricity theft that currently amounts to approximately $100 million a year in lost revenue – costs that are borne by all legitimate BC Hydro customers.

Improve operational efficiency and reduce wasted electricity through voltage optimization. Lower operating costs are passed on to all customers through rates.

Support for greater customer choice and control by offering optional in-home feedback tools that provide people more timely information about how much energy they are using.

Help modernize British Columbia’s electricity system by replacing nearly-obsolete electro-mechanical meters, and creating the foundation for supporting new uses of electricity such as electric vehicles, customer generation, and micro-grids.

QUICK FACTS

  • Cost: $930 million
  • Delivers $520 million in net benefits over the next 20 years in
  • today’s dollars
  • Pays for itself in approximately 8 years
  • Creates 350 new jobs and contribute $30 - $40 million in direct wages
  • Installation will begin in 2011 and go through 2012.