As part of BC Hydro’s ongoing effort to keep customers informed and engaged in the opportunities offered by smart meters, the utility today released the Smart Metering and Infrastructure Business Case on www.bchydro.com. The Smart Metering Business Case details how the program delivers over $500 million in net benefits over the next 20 years. Net benefits mean lower rates for customers in the long-term, reducing them below what they would otherwise be in the absence of BC Hydro’s investment in the program.
The document includes comprehensive details about the program’s customer and financial benefits, including the modernization of B.C.’s electricity system, improved safety and reliability, reduced electricity theft, and the ability to provide customers with new tools to manage their energy use and ultimately save money.
“The electricity system is the backbone of our economy and smart meters are essential to keeping our system affordable, safe and reliable,” said Minister of Energy Steve Thomson. “With smart meters, BC Hydro customers will receive better service and new tools to manage their own energy use. The financial benefits are clear, BC Hydro’s business case details how the program pays for itself by making our system more efficient and reducing electricity theft, which currently costs ratepayers up to $100 million a year.”
The Smart Metering Program involves replacing existing customer meters with smart meters starting later this summer and upgrading the technology and telecommunications infrastructure that BC Hydro uses to manage the electricity system in a reliable, safe and cost-effective manner.
Major program benefits include:
· Improved safety and reliability;
· Enhanced customer service;
· Reduced electricity theft;
· Improved operational efficiency and reduced wasted electricity;
· Greater customer choice and control; and,
· Modernization of B.C.’s electricity system.
“Keeping our customers up-to-date with the latest information about the Smart Metering Program is a top priority for us as we prepare to install the meters later this year,” said Bev Van Ruyven, BC Hydro Deputy CEO and Executive Vice President. “As B.C. continues to grow, so has our need for more electricity and a modernized, safe and reliable grid to supply power to our customers. The Smart Metering Program is a key component of our commitment to replace and upgrade aging facilities and systems across the province as we take steps to plan for future generations and keep rates as low as possible.”
Smart meter deployment across the province will include a number of elements. First, customers will begin to receive notification early this year that meters are coming to their community and information about what they can expect. Meter deployment will begin in mid 2011 and conclude at the end of 2012. For most customers, installation will be simple and will only take a matter of minutes. Then, in mid-2012 customers will receive information about in-home feedback options that will provide them with the ability to monitor their energy use in near-real-time and make adjustments to save money.