Government failing on smart meter response, says NDP

Government not even trying to recoup costs, taking litigation off the table while SaskPower admits installer training was inadequate.

On another day of silence from the premier and his ministers, SaskPower revealed more concerning details about the response to the multi-million-dollar smart meter fiasco.

NDP Leader Cam Broten says the government has to get its act together and start addressing the smart meter debacle properly, before Saskatchewan people and SaskPower ratepayers are left holding the bag on the $47 million bill to remove the smart meters.

Alarming details revealed by SaskPower Wednesday included:

  • The government has not even contacted the manufacturer of the smart meters to discuss the recall or recouping the $47 million replacement costs.

  • SaskPower is publicly stating it won’t go to court to recoup the massive price tag for the smart meter fiasco from the American company to which the government contracted out this work, or the manufacturer of the meters. When asked if this could end up in court to recover any of Saskatchewan’s money, SaskPower’s CEO said “Not from us, it will. No.”

  • The Crown now admits the installers are not trained well enough, but the government will continue to use them to replace the smart meters with digital meters.

"Why hasn’t this government even spoken with the manufacturer yet? And why on earth is this government not willing to explore all options to recoup this money? It makes no sense to completely remove the possibility of litigation at this stage," said Broten. "It’s pretty clear the government’s plan is just to use $47 million of ratepayers’ money to pay for this mess. That’s hardly standing up for Saskatchewan’s best interests."

The smart meter project was contracted out to a Pennsylvania-based corporation using trucks with Texas license plates, which installed another American company’s smart meters throughout Saskatchewan. The government doesn’t seem to be going after either company to pay, instead leaving public money to cover the costs.

“It also appears the government knows the exemption it gave that private American company to use non-electricians to install the meters is part of the problem,” said Broten after SaskPower admitted the installers will now get some additional training. “But, instead of deciding to use journeyman electricians to remove the smart meters and install digital meters, the government is just going to add a tiny bit of training and keep using the same installers.

“That’s not enough to protect their safety, and it’s not enough to protect Saskatchewan families and their homes.”