Meter replacement program delayed

A $24-million program to replace traditional power and water meters with automated ones has stalled because of provincial regulation delays concerning the equipment, says the head of Red Deer’s Electric, Light and Power Department.

A $24-million program to replace traditional power and water meters with automated ones has stalled because of provincial regulation delays concerning the equipment, says the head of Red Deer’s Electric, Light and Power Department.

Ligong Gan said the multi-year project approved in 2009 is still on tap to get done during slower economic times but the timeline on implementation has changed. The city planned to start next year to replace traditional power meters with automated ones that would show businesses and residents how much power they are using every 15 minutes.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty in the provincial process in terms of introducing the regulations,” said Gan. “We won’t be changing out any meters in 2010.”

Gan said he’s expecting regulations won’t come out until late 2010.

The city has since decided to wait until a provincial policy paper becomes clear to everyone, he added.

The dollars won’t be spent until then.

The cost of the program will be recovered through customers over a longer period.

Gan said the provincial regulations will help the city decide on what meters should be bought.

“The regulations are just for electrical meters only,” Gan said.

The Red Deer program includes a budgeted amount of $2.9 million in 2010 for electrical meters. As well, money had been slated for water meter replacement in 2010. It’s uncertain if the water meters will have the same capabilities as the electrical ones since the actual system has yet to be chosen.

When the new power meters are installed, every customer will receive a home area network indoors.

The display will show consumption levels every 15 minutes, versus the traditional meters that are read monthly.

ltester@bprda.wpengine.com

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