Smart Meters FAQs

Smart Meters Frequently Asked Questions


What are the benefits of smart meters?

Some of the many benefits of smart meter technology coming in 2022 include:
 
VIEW YOUR DAILY USAGE
Your NS Power MyAccount will be enhanced with MyEnergy Insights – a portal that will give you detailed analysis of your energy use broken down by appliance/equipment. It’s the information you need to better control your energy use and manage costs.  
 
SET NOTIFICATIONS
Set-up personal energy use and billing notifications to help you control costs.
 
BILLING SUPPORT
Our Customer Care team can review your daily energy use with you and help resolve billing inquires more efficiently.
 
IMPROVED RESPONSE
Smart meters help us understand when and where outages happen, allowing for a faster, more efficient response.
 
FASTER CONNECTION
Connecting and disconnecting power can be faster and easier with on-site appointments not always needed.
 
REMOTE METER READING
In most cases, property visits will not be required to read meters and there will be fewer estimated bills due to meter access issues.

I have a Time-of-Day meter. Will my upgrade look different and will my rates change with a smart meter?

Your Time-of-Day (“TOD”) rates will remain the same with a smart meter, plus you’ll have access to all the benefits of smart technology.

TOD customers with an Electric Thermal Storage (“ETS”) unit connected to their meter may require a timer be installed at the same time as their smart meter. When it comes time for your meter upgrade, we’ll contact you by mail, requesting that you contact Customer Care at 1-800-428-6230 so we can determine whether a timer is required or not.

  • If you require a timer - we’ll book an appointment at a time that’s convenient for you and arrange for a certified electrician to visit your property. It will take the electrician about an hour to install the timer and upgrade your meter and you’ll experience a momentary loss of power.
  • If you do not require a timer - a technician will simply remove your current meter and replace it with a new smart meter. This takes less than 15 minutes to complete and you’ll experience a momentary loss of power. No appointment needed.

The timer being installed is called the OMRON Digital Daily Time Switch (H5F). A detailed guide about the timer, including lifetime warranty information can be found here.

 


I have solar panels on my home/business. Will I be able to access all the benefits of smart meters?

Yes! You will require a bi-directional smart meter – one that collects energy use data going into both your premise, and the grid, while also retaining the ability to transmit this information to our data centre. 

What information do smart meters send?

Smart meters transmit energy use information, in an encrypted format, over a private and secure wireless network to our data centre. Smart meters do not transmit personal information. Our smart meters adhere to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Interagency Report 7628 that sets guidelines for smart grid cybersecurity.

We take the privacy of customer information very seriously. We do not sell personal information and only share it with third parties in limited circumstances to provide services to customers.

The steps we take to protect customer information is outlined in our privacy policy.

Do smart meters cause higher bills?

No. Energy use, the weather, and the number of days between meter readings are factors that can increase bills. Like all meters, smart meters measure consumption, but do not affect energy use. Like analogue and digital meters, smart meters are regulated by Measurement Canada and undergo rigorous and regular quality testing to ensure power consumption calculations are accurate.

Learn more about Measurement Canada regulations:

If your bill seems higher than usual, please contact Customer Care at 1.800.428.6230 and they will be happy to assist.

Are smart meters safe?

More than 70% of Canadian homes and businesses currently use smart meter technology. Our supplier, Itron, has successfully installed more than 80 million CENTRON® meters in North America, including 20 million OpenWay® CENTRON meters without any safety issues. The smart meters installed in Nova Scotia are the latest generation meter in this line called the OpenWay® Riva CENTRON Meter.

Smart meters are tested in accordance with safety standards established by a number of industry standards bodies. Our meters meet or exceed all government regulations and safety standards set by Measurement Canada and Health Canada Safety Code 6.

Smart meters in Nova Scotia 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 was required to provide us with smart meters approved by Underwriters Laboratories. In October 2018, they received a notice of completion and authorization to apply the Underwriters Laboratories mark, indicating that our meters complied with their safety requirements.

What are radio frequency emissions and do smart meters emit them?

All devices that use wireless communication produce radio frequency (“RF”) emissions, also referred to as “RF energy”. This includes everyday use items such as cellular phones, computers and wi-fi routers.

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 meters installed in Nova Scotia adhere to Safety Code 6. In third-party testing conducted in October of 2020, a single smart meter installed on a detached residential home tested at 100x less than the safe exposure limit set by Health Canada’s 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 are still 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 they do not pose a health risk.

What if I don’t want a smart meter? Can I opt out?

There is an opt out option available if you decide smart meters are not for you.

By opting out of a smart meter, you are choosing non-standard meter service from NS Power and will be charged a monthly fee for that service. This fee ensures that costs to manually read your legacy meter and maintain older systems and processes are not passed onto smart meter customers.

  • Customers whose meters are currently read every two months will pay a fee of approximately $4 per month. This fee and the number of times a meter is read annually, is subject to review and approval by the Nova Scotia Utility and Review Board (“UARB”).
    Customers will not be charged these fees or experience a change in the number of times their meter is read annually until approval is received from the UARB.
  • Customers whose meters are currently read every month will continue to have monthly reads and pay a fee of approximately $22 per month.

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. It is our expectation that the UARB will review existing rates, which includes meter reading costs and opt out fees at the time of the next General Rate Application. 

To opt out, you are required to review and submit an opt out acknowledgement form.

Complete the residential opt out form here.

Complete the business opt out form here.

Customers who opt out, can opt back in at anytime, at no cost.

How do I read my new smart meter?

With more that 90% of homes and business in Nova Scotia now having smart meters – we continue to build the network and transition the meters to remote billing, meaning that in most cases in-person meter reads for billing purposes will no longer be required every two months.

We know some customers like to read their meter occasionally. Here’s how to read your smart meter:

  • Smart meters cycle through several screens before they display the kilowatt hours (“kWh”) reading. These screens are normal.
  • For residential customers, the screen that shows the kWh usage will appear with a code “d1” to the left. This screen also displays the kWh used.

Not sure if you have a smart meter? As pictured below, smart meters have a digital display, are branded with the name OpenWay® Riva, and in most cases have a blue label. 


Need help? Our Customer Care centre will be happy to walk you through the process. You can call them at 1.800.428.6230.

Need Additional Help?

If you still have questions about smart meters, please contact Customer Care at 1-800-428-6230 or email us.