Smart meters coming into Port Hope

PORT HOPE, ONTARIO - Veridian is already in the process of installing the new smart electricity meters in Port Hope residences, and well on the way towards meeting its installation goals for this year.

"We are committed to installing 40,000 by the end of this year," said spokesperson George Armstrong. "We're already in the process of installing them in Port Hope and by year-end most, if not all residential customers, will be outfitted with smart meters."

When it's your turn to get a smart meter, a postcard will be mailed stating 'Smart Meters Coming Soon.' These will be mailed to each customer about two weeks before the meter exchange, according to Veridian.

The whole process takes no more than five minutes, and for those with outside meters, no appointment has to be scheduled.

If you're not at home servicemen will knock on the door, wait a couple of minutes, and if no one answers they'll go ahead and exchange the meter.

A door hanger will be left on your door to let you know they were there, Veridian stated.

The new smart meters will eventually measure how much energy is being used and when, so customers can take action to better manage their electric bills.

"Time use rates are coming," added Mr. Armstrong. "We're not going to be switching over to time use just yet. It's a provincial decision but we expect it to happen sometime in 2008."

Customers may save money by lowering electricity use during peak (higher cost) periods and shifting electricity use to off-peak (lower cost) periods as the smart meter systems will store electricity use information, once the system is installed across the province. This will allow customers to review their electricity use information the next day through the Internet or telephone.

"There was a pilot study done in Ottawa with 375 customers," said Mr. Armstrong. "The results were that 90 per cent saved $4 per month using time use management."

Bills will no longer need to be estimated either, as the smart meter will automatically and regularly send readings via wireless technology. It's even smart enough to inform the electrical provider when your power is out.

Although smart meters are not a conservation tool, their use is expected to reduce the need of increased power generation facilities. With electricity use spread out over a 24-hour period rather overloading the systems at peak periods, the Ontario government says electrical power demand will be more easily handled.


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