Are you recycling old meters?
Meters that are deemed to have no further operating value will be recycled with nearly 100% of the meter’s components – aluminum, copper, stainless steel – being repurposed. Only trace amounts of the meter and some plastics are processed at a landfill. We have partnered with Bay, Metal Inc. to manage the disposal and recycling of old meters.
Didn’t other communities install smart meters that caused fires?
We recognize that some jurisdictions encountered challenges when smart meters were initially deployed. Smart meter technology has matured rapidly, and the latest generation do not have the same issues that were encountered in the past. Today in Canada, smart meters are safely used in 70% of all households and businesses and Nova Scotia Power has benefited from the experience of others and applied the lessons learned. Our meters meet or exceed industry regulations and standards that are in place to ensure the health and safety of both our employees and customers. Our supplier has installed over 50 million smart meters across North America — none of which have caused a fire. We’re confident our smart meters are safe.
Do smart meters cause fires?
There are no reported cases of fires caused by the smart meter model we are installing. More than 50 million of these Centron meters have been installed in North America, none of which have caused a fire.
Today, more than 70% of Canadian homes and businesses safely use smart meter technology. In addition to benefiting from the learnings of others, we are using state-of-the-art smart meters that meet or exceed government regulations and safety standards as set by Measurement Canada, Health Canada Safety Code 6, and Underwriters Laboratories. Underwriters Laboratories is an internationally recognized standard-setting organization which uses extensive safety research and scientific expertise to ensure product safety, including managing the risk of fire.
Do smart meters cause power surges?
If the property owner’s electrical infrastructure is to code, there is no issue.
In some cases, pre-existing customer wiring, electrical deficiencies and/or overloading at the customer’s home or business can cause the meter socket or other electrical equipment to overheat. When this occurs, we work directly with the home or business owner to ensure any unsafe conditions are corrected and ensure the customer’s electrical system meets all regulations. This means we need to assign an inspector to ensure the requirements of the Canadian Electrical Code are met. To ensure safety, we often need to disconnect the customer’s power supply until the deficiencies are corrected. Working with our customers to correct these issues means that Nova Scotia homes and businesses are safer — an additional benefit to installing new, state of the art technology.
How can I verify my meter upgrade technician’s identity?
Your meter technician will arrive in a co-branded vehicle and will be wearing co-branded safety gear with Nova Scotia Power and Tribus Services logos. Additionally, your technician will have an identification badge with the Nova Scotia Power logo and ‘Authorized Contractor’ included on it.
How do I know if smart meters are safe?
Safety is always our first priority. Smart meters are currently used in 70% of Canadian homes and businesses and we’re confident the meters used for our smart meter upgrade are safe, accurate, and secure. All meters we use meet or exceed industry regulations and standards, which are in place to help ensure the health and safety of our customers, and employees. Our smart meters adhere to a list of standards established by third party organizations. To learn more, visit the sites below:
The smart meters we’re installing also meet Underwriters Laboratories safety standard 2735. This safety standard is a written document that outlines the process in which smart meters are tested to help mitigate risk, injury or danger. Underwriters Laboratories is an internationally recognized standard-setting organization which combines extensive safety research, scientific expertise and an uncompromising focus on quality. Our supplier is required to provide us with smart meters that have been approved by Underwriters Laboratories. In October 2018, our supplier, Itron, received a notice of completion and authorization to apply the Underwriters Laboratories mark, indicating that our meters complied with their safety requirements.
How do I opt out of receiving a smart meter and what are the fees?
If you opt out of upgrading from a smart meter you will be selecting a non-standard meter service and will be charged a fee to provide that service to ensure costs are not passed on to other customers. These fees have been estimated as follows:
- Customers whose meters are currently read every two months will move to two reads per year and pay a fee of approximately $4 per month.
- Customers whose meters are currently read each month will continue to have monthly reads and pay a fee of approximately $22 per month.
This calculation is subject to the review and approval of the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (UARB). These fees are an estimate and will not be charged to customers until the smart meter upgrade is complete and approval is received from the UARB to begin charging fees.
In order to opt out, you are required to review and submit an opt out acknowledgement form and a member of our Customer Care Centre will contact you to confirm your selection.
Residential Customers, click here.
Business Customers, click here.
Customers who opt-out may, at any time, opt back in at no cost.
How to read my new smart meter?
Our smart meter network won’t be turned on until 2021 which means we must still manually read the meters for billing purposes. While this is done approximately every 60 days by Nova Scotia Power, our customers often want to read the meter for themselves. Here’s how:
- All smart meters cycle through several screens before they get to the screen displaying the KWh reading. These initial screens are normal.
- For a residential smart meter customer, the screen that shows the KWh usage will appear with a code d1 to the left. This screen will also display the kiloWATT used per hour (KWh).
- When manually reading a smart meter, residential customers should record the numbers that appear on the d1 screen.
- Not sure if you have a smart meter? Our smart meters are branded with the name, OpenWay Riva. Most residential customers would have meters with a light blue label. The screens are digital. In addition, all smart meters have a seven-digit number beneath the bar code and that number always starts with a '2'.
Need help? Our Customer Care centre will be happy to walk you through the process. You can call them at 1.800.428.6230.
How will smart meters communicate energy usage information back to us?
Nova Scotia Power is building a secure and private communication network (we will not be using your WiFi). When meters have been upgraded and the communication network is up and running, meters will use wireless communication to securely transmit your energy usage information to Nova Scotia Power.
How will smart meters work in areas with limited cellular coverage?
Smart meters and supporting technology are not reliant on a cellular network at your home or business to function. The data collected by the smart meter is transmitted through a secure and private network.
However, about 0.2% of our customers are located in such remote locations that even our network can’t efficiently operate. As a result, these customers will have to maintain a manually-read meter.
If I opt out can I keep my current meter? What if I want an analog meter?
Customers who opt out will retain their current meter. If they opt out after receiving a smart meter, the communication device within the smart meter will be turned off and their energy usage will be manually read.
We do not intend on using analog meters in the long term because these meters are obsolete. In fact, we have not purchased analog meters in ten years. Since 2010, analog meters have been replaced with a safe, Measurement Canada approved, non-communicating meters.
Is the east coast environment inhospitable to smart meters?
We’re confident that smart meters can operate safely and effectively in Nova Scotia. A life test report on the smart meter we use, the OpenWay Riva Centron, was filed with the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board. This report examined operational performance in various conditions including issues relating to moisture infiltration.
It is normal to have a small amount of moisture condensate with-in the cover of any type of meter including an old analog or new smart meter, especially at times of the year where temperature fluctuations are common. This will normally dry up quickly on a warm day. If a customer feels it is excessive, they should contact our Customer Care Centre at 1.800.428.6230 and they would be happy to assist and send a crew to investigate if necessary.
What are collectors and where will they be installed?
Collectors (also known as Connected Grid Routers or “CGRs”) relay energy usage information from smart meters to Nova Scotia Power.
We began building the smart meter communication network in August 2019. This includes the installation of 544 CGRs.
What are radio frequency emissions and do smart meters have them?
All devices that use wireless communication produce radio frequency (RF) emissions, also referred to as “RF energy”, including common household items such as computers, wi-fi routers, and cellular phones. According to the Government of Canada, smart meters generate about the same RF energy as a cell phone and less than a microwave oven.
Health Canada’s Safety Code 6 sets the safe exposure limits for RF energy from wireless devices. The code reflects an ongoing review of published scientific studies related to safe human exposure to RF energy, including non-thermal effects. The OpenWay Riva Centron meter we’re installing adheres to Safety Code 6. The RF emissions from this smart meter are significantly below the limits set through Safety Code 6.
Since RF energy exposure levels in smart meters are far below Canadian and international safety limits, Health Canada does not require any precautionary measures to be taken. In cases where multiple smart meters are installed together, as in high-rise buildings, the total exposure levels from multiple smart meters will still be far below Health Canada's RF energy exposure limits.
For more information, please visit Government of Canada, Radio Frequency Energy and Safety. This Health Canada website also provides more information about RF energy emitted from smart meters and why it does not pose a health risk.
What are the environmental benefits of using smart meters?
Smart meters will allow us to provide customers with faster, more effective service and keep rates stable. While we’re committed to a clean energy future, we have not made any specific commitments relating to the environmental benefits of smart meters. However, given the ability to monitor energy use more frequently and in greater detail, we expect many customers will turn off unneeded appliances, change to more efficient lighting, adjust thermostats and make other energy-saving changes that save money and reduce emissions. In addition, smart meters reduce emissions associated with performing services such as connections, disconnections and meter readings where vehicles are required.
Smart meters also provide the foundation for a new, and smarter, energy grid that will enable more wind and solar generation, battery storage and electric vehicles. A modern power grid is more energy efficient which helps manage costs while also acting as a catalyst for a cleaner environment.
What if I move into a house that doesn’t have a smart meter, how do I get my meter upgraded?
You can call our Customer Care Centre at 1.800.428.6230 at any time to have your meter upgraded to a smart meter at no cost.
What if someone wants a smart meter but because of COVID-19 just doesn’t want the work done now, can they reschedule for a later date?
Yes. Customers can book appointments to have their meter upgraded.
What information will smart meters send?
Smart meters will collect and send information related to energy usage and power quality in a secure, encrypted format. They will not communicate information to Nova Scotia Power such as:
- The specific electronics a customer is using throughout the day.
- Customer names, addresses or account numbers.
What PPE will you use?
Our technicians will knock at the customer’s door before beginning their work. They will wear a cloth mask and gloves.
What steps are you taking to ensure the safety of your customers and employees safe?
Our technicians have received training and safety protocols established by the Nova Scotia Chief Medical Officer of Health will be followed. This includes:
- Wearing personal protective equipment including cloth masks and gloves.
- Wiping surfaces before and after their work with disinfectant.
- Maintaining physical distancing and keeping any interaction with customers as brief as possible.
Guidelines for technicians have also been developed to address coughing/sneezing etiquette, hand washing hygiene and how to properly maintain personal protective equipment. A comprehensive process to track the health and travel of employees and contractors has been put in place.
What will you do with my energy usage data? Is it kept private?
Nova Scotia Power takes the privacy of customer information very seriously. We do not sell personal information and only share it with third parties in limited circumstances in order to provide services to customers. For example, e-billing and credit card transactions are managed by third parties (financial institutions). We also use third parties to collect payments and process data on our behalf.
Who will be upgrading my current meter to a smart meter?
Our smart meter installation partner is Tribus Services. They were selected because of their extensive experience in safely completing large scale smart meter upgrades. They have completed more than two million upgrades in Canada, including specific experience with deploying the OpenWay Riva Centron meter. Tribus Services technicians are trained to safely and efficiently install smart meters. Their work is reviewed by inspectors, who conduct quality assurance audits on the upgrades.
The technicians are also trained to identify pre-existing problems at the customer’s home or business. If a potential safety issue is identified, they will not perform the smart meter upgrade. Instead, they will alert Nova Scotia Power that an investigation is required and that repairs are needed before the smart meter upgrade can proceed.
Why did you suspend the upgrades back in March? What’s different now?
We suspended smart meter upgrades due to emerging pandemic conditions and restrictions. This pause gave us time to review and refine our safety protocols and acquire more protective equipment. We are confident we can perform smart meter upgrades in a way that fulfills pandemic protocols and protects our customers and employees.
Why is there a fee for opting out?
The estimated fee to opt out covers the cost of providing a non-standard level of service. While the manual reading of meters is a component of this fee, it is not the only cost that is incurred to maintain legacy meters and supporting infrastructure. The opt out fee is an estimate and is subject to review and final approval by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (UARB). It is our expectation that the UARB will review existing rates, which include meter reading costs, and opt out rates at the time of the next General Rate Application.
Estimated fees will not be charged to customers until the smart meter upgrade is complete and approval is received from the UARB to begin charging fees.
Will electricity rates increase because of smart meters?
No. Our investment in smart meters and supporting technology will enable us to provide customers with faster, more effective service and help keep rates stable.
Will I be charged for a smart meter?
No. There is no charge to upgrade to a smart meter.
Will my generator work with a smart meter?
Smart meters will not impact household generators, so long as the generator is properly connected. More information about generator installation and safety can be found on Nova Scotia Power’s web site.
Will smart meters make my bill go up?
No. There are a number of factors that affect your bill, including the amount of energy you use, but a smart meter will not increase it.
If your bill seems higher than usual, please contact our Customer Care Centre at 1.800.428.6230 and they will be happy to assist.
Electricity meters in Canada, including analog meters, digital meters and smart meters, are regulated by Measurement Canada and undergo rigorous and regular testing for quality and accuracy. Measurement Canada regulations ensure that power consumption calculations are accurate.
Learn more about Measurement Canada regulations:
Will smart meters transmit data all day?
Our smart meters will collect power consumption data every 15 minutes and transmit this data back to Nova Scotia Power via a secure connection four times a day. We expect the duty cycle — the total time meters are transmitting — to be very brief, representing an average of 0.21% in a 24-hour period (approximately three minutes per day). This estimate reflects studies in other jurisdictions using similar technology.
Will time-of-date rates be available with smart meters?
Since 1997, we’ve provided time-of-day rates to residential customers who have Electric Thermal Storage (ETS) units. These units store heat at off peak times and release heat during the daytime when rates are higher, saving them money. Learn more here.
As part of the smart meter approval process, the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board asked that time varying pricing tariffs options be provided for consideration by June 30, 2020. This submission will examine different options and technology applications, including additional time-of-day rates. Our submission will reflect the various lifestyle and energy needs of our customers, including a recognition that customers want options that support rate stability and affordability.
Will you conduct upgrades in senior care facilities?
These facilities will receive smart meters, but we have not yet confirmed the schedule for when this work will occur. For now, the work in these facilities will be deferred to a future date.