Veridian has announced plans for a major trial of smart meter technology in the community of Sunderland, Ontario, Canada. The pilot program will permit Veridian and its customers to evaluate new meter technology and will support the future mass deployment of smart meters. The Ontario government has established a target for the installation of 800,000 smart meters by December 2007, followed by the deployment of smart meters for all electricity consumers by December 2010.
As part of the pilot program, almost 400 Veridian residential customers in the community of Sunderland will have their meters replaced by the end of October. Unlike conventional meters, the new meters will record electricity consumption by time of day, and will transmit meter data to Veridian through wireless communications technology. According to Michael Angemeer, Veridian's president and CEO, "The detailed consumption information provided by smart meters will give consumers the ability to monitor and better understand their day to day electricity use, to help them manage their electricity costs."
The conversion to smart metering will have no immediate impact on the way in which customers are billed for electricity consumption. However, after April 1, 2006, it is expected that a new time-of-use pricing plan set by the Ontario Energy Board will apply to all consumers with smart meters who are billed under their utility's regulated price plan. Under the new rate plan, consumers with smart meters will pay a lower price for electricity used during periods of low system demand, such as at night, on holidays and weekends. Higher prices will apply during times of high system demand, such as during the day.