What is a Smart Meter?

What is a smart meter?


Smart meters are the new standard in electrical meters. Approximately 70% of Canadian homes already have smart meters.

Smart meters incorporate sophisticated digital technology that will allow them to communicate via a safe, secure connection to Nova Scotia Power. While your current meter is “read” in person – usually about once every 60 days – your smart meter will record your electricity usage in 15-minute intervals. You will be able to access this data, which will enable you to make more informed decisions about how you use electricity. Smart meters will also help us serve you more efficiently, without always having to visit in person.

We’ve had the opportunity to learn from the experiences of other provinces with smart meters. This has helped guide our planning from the ground up, so that we can make this a seamless transition for customers and focus on delivering the full benefits of smart meter technology.

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Smart meters FAQS


  • What is a smart meter?

    Today,  your meter is read manually approximately every 60 days to produce a bill with basic information about energy usage. Smart meters will provide a safe, secure, and two-way connection between the meter and Nova Scotia Power, helping us provide a more reliable service to our customers, and helping you understand your own energy usage better.

  • When will you be upgrading my meter?

    Beginning in late 2019, we will be upgrading meters and building our smart network in preparation for smart meter technology to be turned on in 2021.

  • What if I do not want a smart meter?

    If you decide not to upgrade to a smart meter (opt out), you will be selecting a non-standard meter service and will be charged a fee based on cost recovery for manual meter reading. This ensures these costs are not passed on to all our customers.

    Opt-out form for residential customers

    Opt-out form for businesses 

  • Who will be upgrading my new meter?

    Tribus Services was selected as the smart meter installation vendor for our meter upgrade based on a competitive procurement process, which highlighted the company’s extensive experience with smart meter installations across North America, including installing over 2 million smart meters in Canada.

  • 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 will smart meters communicate energy usage information back to Nova Scotia Power?

    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 from your meter to a collector located nearby. These collectors will then use the cellular network to relay energy usage information (or data) back to our main data centre.

  • What information will smart meters send?

    Smart meters will collect and send information related to electricity 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. 

    NS Power takes the privacy of our customers’ information very seriously. We do not sell our customers’ personal information and only share it with third parties in limited circumstances, as described in our Customer Privacy Policy.

  • How will you collect, protect and share data collected by my meter?

    Nova Scotia Power takes the privacy of our customers’ personal information very seriously and protects and discloses customer personal information in accordance with the requirements set out in the Federal Personal Information Protection and Electronic Document Act. For more information on how we collect, use, and disclose personal information, see our Customer Privacy Policy.

    The data transmitted from the meter to the collector will be encrypted; this means that it is locked with a unique key and only accessible with the matching key owned by Nova Scotia Power. The collector then sends the encrypted data to our system where it will be unlocked and used to generate bills. In 2021, the data will also be available to you through your online account where you can view your energy usage in intervals as frequent as 15 minutes. You can access updates on your energy usage consumption daily.

  • Will smart meters mean mandatory time-of-day rates?

    No. In the future, smart meters may enable us to provide our customers with more rate options, such as time-of-day, to best suit their lifestyle and energy use.

    Our first focus is on the successful deployment of smart meters and we’ll be talking to customers about future opportunities such as different rate options and technology applications in 2020.

     

  • Will power rates increase as a result of upgrading to smart meter technology?

    No, the smart meter upgrade will not impact current power rates. You will get the benefits of smart meter technology without paying more through electricity rates because smart meters will make our business more efficient, paying for the investment over time. 

  • Are smart meters safe?

    Safety is always our first priority. Smart meters are currently used in 70% of Canadian homes and as a late adopter, we’ve had the opportunity to carefully review the technology. We are 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 employees and our customers. Our smart meters will adhere to a long list of standards established by third-party organizations such as:

    • Measurement Canada
    • American National Standard for Electricity Meters (ANSI) 
    • International Electro-technical Commission (IEC) 
    • Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) 
    • National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) 
    • Underwriters Laboratory