Sun. Feb 25th, 2024

The cost of the project to switch to smart meters at l’Î-P.-É. is revalued at $64 million

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A smart meter from Maritime Electric in Prince Edward Island.

Radio-Canada

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Maritime Electric estimates that the cost of installing smart meters among all of its subscribers has increased by more than $16 million, which could increase electricity rates if its project is approved.

In November 2023, the company presented this project to the Prince Edward Island Regulatory and Appeals Commission, the costs of which estimates were $47.6 million.

About a month later, Maritime Electric presented a new version of its project estimated at $64 million. That’s an increase of 34%. Interest could add nearly $3 million to that total.

Maritime Electric explains in this revised version that suppliers said their costs had increased.

The federal government announced in 2023 that it will fund the project to the tune of $19 million. His promise has not changed.

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Subscribers will therefore have to pay a larger share of costs than originally anticipated, $49 million rather than $28.6 million, an increase of 71%.

Maritime Electric initially estimated the project would increase its rates by 0.3¢ per kilowatt hour by 2028 for an annual total of about $24 per year for its residential ratepayers. In the case of large industrial consumers (10,000 kWh per month), the increase would have been $377 per year.

No new estimate of the increase tariffs are not included in the revised version submitted in December.

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Repairmen at work along Sherwood Street in Charlottetown in the days following Storm Fiona. (File photo)

Maritime Electric has raised its rates twice in 2023. The Commission has already approved another increase for this year and is evaluating another request for a raise.

The company requested permission in November to increase its rates to recover $37 million in repair costs attributable to Storm Fiona over five years.

If this request is approved, residential rates as of March 1, 2024 will have increased by 12% in one year.

Maritime Electric estimates the financial benefits of switching to smart meters at $30 million, in part because it would no longer have to manually read current analog meters.

The company also believes that these devices would help it respond more quickly in the event of a power outage.

Smart meters would also allow it to adopt variable rates which would be more advantageous for subscribers who use their most energy-intensive devices outside peak hours.

This concept is not new to Prince Edward Island where it has been talked about for years.

The City of Summerside, which has its own energy company, has been installing smart meters on some of its subscribers since 2010 to take advantage of its wind farm. It also began operating its new solar farm in December.

Based on a report byKerry Campbell , from CBC

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