Factsheet for Advanced Meter Infrastructure (AMI)
Please note that this project has not yet been approved by the Energy and Utilities Board (EUB).
- Electric power systems across the globe are experiencing unprecedented change compelled by a number of driving forces including advances in technology, changes in customer expectations, and the effects of climate change.
- These global driving forces of change mean that NB Power must evolve to meet the future needs of New Brunswickers in a safe, reliable, and cost effective way.
- Customers are already expecting to be able to generate their own electricity through renewable resources and supply their excess to NB Power. Emission reduction, severe weather events, and renewable energy are areas of focus.
- NB Power’s initial investment in energy efficiency, and cleaner, smarter technologies such as the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), rather than in large capital investments to build more generating plants will help provide the flexibility we need to address a rapidly-changing future.
- AMI is essential to building a smarter, cleaner, more reliable, and efficient power grid, and will also provide customers with immediate benefits.
- The proposed investment would include an upgrade to not only the meters but also to the information and security systems to be able to communicate with the meters.
- Pending EUB approval, this technology upgrade would take two years to install throughout the province, with implementation of the meters expected to begin during the first half of 2019, following a comprehensive customer engagement strategy.
- With this meter, customers will have access to more timely information about their electricity consumption. This will allow them to make more informed decisions on how they use energy, which could help reduce their bills.
- The new meters will have the capability to alert NB Power of an outage as it occurs. This improves reliability, enabling more efficient power restoration, including during storms.
- There would be no direct cost to the customer for these new meters.
ABOUT THE METERS
- Smart meters are not new. As of 2016, there are over 71 million similar meters deployed across North America. In the US, more than half the country is using this type of meter.
- The smart meter looks similar to the meter you currently have on your house.
- What makes this meter more technologically advanced is that it is capable of two-way communication over a secure network.
- It is part of a more modern grid, and it is one part of the whole system that will enable benefits for the customer.
HEALTH AND SAFETY
- Health Canada and the World Health Organization (WHO) have concluded that exposure to radio frequency from the new meters does not pose a public health risk. Exposure to radio frequency from devices such as microwave ovens and cell phones is significantly higher than from the new meters. Visit Health Canada website at: https://www.canada.ca/content/dam/hc-sc/migration/hc-sc/hl-vs/alt_formats/pdf/iyh-vsv/prod/meters-compteurs-eng.pdf
- In comparison to other appliances and devices, the radio frequency emitted from a baby monitor is 7 times greater, a microwave is 313 times greater, a cordless phone is 8,000 times greater. A cell phone next to your head is over 12,000 times greater.
- Just like the existing meters, all meters meet industry standards and are put through rigorous testing before they are installed. The new meters are certified by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) for safety.
- All information collected via the network is secure and encrypted.. Utilities adhere to strict data privacy policies.
- Cybersecurity is a mandatory requirement of the AMI system, from end to end. Before the implementation of the system, all components will be reviewed following strict cybersecurity criteria and will be continuously monitored for any potential issues by our IT Security Team.
- Bills based on new meter data will accurately reflect your energy use, as current meters do now. NB Power only buys meters that are certified for accuracy by Measurement Canada.
- NB Power inspects its meters based on the mandatory requirements set forth by Measurement Canada. We have tested more than 15,000 radio frequency meters in seven years and none were faulty. For more about Measurement Canada’s role in monitoring activities, please see https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/mc-mc.nsf/eng/lm03961.html.
If the EUB approves this project to go ahead, yes there would be an opt-out option, however, details are not yet developed.
TIME OF USE RATES
The installation of the new meters will not automatically mean there will be time of use rates. Any changes in rate structures would need to be approved by the EUB before they are implemented.
TESTING PRIOR TO IMPLEMENTATION
The technology is not new. Over 71 million smart meters are already in use throughout much of North America. NB Power will install a small number of meters in a lab in order to test the meter operation with the communications network. During this testing, NB Power will evaluate, adjust and correct any performance issues related to the system.