At Metering.com, we have been intently following the smart meter fires stories in Saskatchewan, Canada, because we know that the industry can learn valuable lessons from it.
In fact, it has been the biggest story of the year on Metering.com in terms of visitor numbers so it’s clear that you are all following it too.
This week some clarity emerged as to the cause of the crisis (which has seen the electric utility SaskPower commit to replacing 105,000 smart meter units and its CEO resign, and the manufacturer Sensus pay US$47m in compensation).
A review by the Crown Investments Corporation (CIC), the holding company that manages the Government of Saskatchewan’s assets including utilities, concluded that “shortcomings” in the design of Sensus Generation 3.3 Meters was the cause of eight smart meter units catching fire following SaskPower’s province-wide rollout.
The report said this particular model “does not seal properly to keep out moisture and contaminants, both of which could affect meter function”.
The findings seem alarmingly basic and beg the question: Were exceptional weather occurrences as well as normal local conditions taken into account when designing the meter, such as very heavy rain in a province that receives more sunshine than any other in Canada?
Utilities, it’s time to sit up and take notice to ensure that the advanced metering technology you commission is fit for purpose for your service area, and avoid giving the sector another can’t-miss story.
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Itron launched a currency-based smart payment solution this week. Centian prepayment meter and prepayment software displays the module’s remaining balance as a monetary value instead of kilowatt-hours. The meter also allows customers to reload with cash using a contactless smart card.
In the US, Public Service Company of Oklahoma (PSO), part of American Electric Power, has announced that advanced meters deployed as part of a US$130 million advanced metering system (AMI) will give a “slight net bill decrease” for all customers.
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Metering.com is the sister portal to Engerati with a focus on smart metering and smart grids.