Smart meters are coming to the city of Rossland.
FortisBC confirmed that the project to install new technology will begin in the fall of this year.
“We plan to advise customers well in advance of work commencing in the area,” said FortisBC spokesman Neal Pobran.
There will be approximately 130,000 meters installed throughout FortisBC’s service territory, and about 2,300 meters to be replaced in Rossland.
In July of 2013, FortisBC received approval from the BCUC to install advanced (smart) meters in all its customer’s houses.
Pobran said FortisBC will be employing a subcontractor to do the actual meter exchanges in Rossland.
“This was something we proposed in the original application to the B.C. Utilities Commission as a way to keep project costs low for our customers,” he said.
The work in Rossland is expected to be complete by early 2015 and the entire advanced meter project in the area to be completed by the end of 2015.
Pobran said there was still an opt-out clause in effect for Rosslanders.
“Advanced meters bring many benefits to customers, but for those who have concerns there is a radio-off option, meaning customers can get an advanced meter with the radio disabled,” he said.
The cost, which was approved by BCUC in December, is $60 before the meters are installed and $88 afterwards. The customers would also have to pay $18 every two months to have the meter read manually.
“It’ll be a new advanced meter, but the radio will be turned off if that’s what the customer wishes,” said Pobran.
More information on the radio-off option can be found on the FortisBC website or by calling the contact centre at 1-866-436-7847.
More information on smart meters is available at fortisbc.com/ami.
During the Fortis BC employee lock out electrical meters were not being read.
That is changing now that FortisBC employees are back to work, said Pobran.
“We were able to do a few, but with the lockout we weren’t able to read as many meters as we usually do,” he said. “What we were doing was estimating customer’s rates based on historical information at their address, based on what they would’ve used the previous year.”
Pobran said that if customers don’t think their bill should be so high, they should give the company a call.
“What we’re doing now is getting our verified meter reads,” he said.
Pobran said the company could make adjustments to customer’s previous bills based on that collected data.