Major power supplier Hydro Quebec in Quebec Canada is shelving a plan to implement a government initiative to install smart meters in the homes of its customers. The government plan depends upon the new meters to educate the public about their personal energy consumption. Major power supplier Hydro Quebec in Quebec Canada is shelving a plan to implement a government initiative to install smart meters in the homes of its customers. The government plan depends upon the new meters to educate the public about their personal energy consumption.
Hydro Quebec found the plan to be too costly to deliver any real savings. Finding home installation to be cost-prohibitive to the energy provider, the costs would have to be offset by raising electrical rates according to Hydro Quebec distribution president Andre Boulanger. “In California, for example, smart meters make a lot of sense. A lot more sense than here. We have to evaluate the cost of it, and the benefit at the same time,” he told Canadian news outlets. “Because we don’t want to increase the bills of our customers.
The Quebec provincial government first introduced smart meters as part of its nine year, multi-billion dollar energy plan that included ideas that would increase energy production but would reduce consumption. Premier Jean Charest hoped Quebec residences would have smart meters in place by 2009 so homeowners could take advantage of efficient energy use. The premier said that Quebec residents are some of the biggest power consumers in Canada and Quebecers need to change their habits. “The golden rule about energy and the environment [is] it’s the energy you do not consume that is the best investment you can make,” Premier Charest said recently.
Hydro Quebec still plans to initiate a pilot project to test smart meters, but does not have plans in place to roll them out to the public on a large scale, according to Boulanger.
The meters have already been widely installed in neighboring Canadian province Ontario where more than 200,000 of the devices are in place and customers are saving money by monitoring their energy usage and using more energy during off peak times at night and are conserving during peak times during the day. The widespread installation of the meters followed a successful pilot program started by Ottawa’s municipal arm. The pilot, called Hydro Ottawa Smart Price Pilot, showed that “93% of customers paid less than they would have under regular rates,” according to Dave Watts, spokesman for Hydro One.
By convincing energy consumers to consume less power during peak times there will be less need for new sources of power generation, according to Watts.