Even the government’s internal investigation – one minister investigating another – shows that this government didn’t consider the consequences for Saskatchewan families of the smart meter fiasco, putting families’ safety, their homes and their money at risk.
The government’s report, which was released Monday, revealed that 359 meters failed – a far cry from the eight this government had previously revealed.
“This investigation clearly is not an independent investigation, but even as such it paints a picture of a government that plows ahead with pet projects without due diligence and, most concerning of all, without really considering the consequences for families,” said Wotherspoon. “Safety should have been their top consideration, but that wasn’t a consideration at all until the media reports of fires started piling up.
“And, this government should have known that families don’t want another increase to their SaskPower bills – but went ahead with a $200 million contract with one company, plus the purchase of 100,000 meters, despite lots of red flags.”
Wotherspoon said this government clearly didn’t do its homework. The NDP previously revealed warnings from experts – but Monday’s report exposed additional warnings, including from a company in the industry.
“There were meter failures and fires big enough to do real damage. There were 359 failures. There were warnings from Saskatchewan experts and a direct warning from a company with industry knowledge. There were red flags from other jurisdictions in which meters were failing, including Alabama and the Philadelphia Electric Company, which halted their smart meter program in August 2012,” said Wotherspoon.
“It’s appalling that this government plowed ahead despite the warnings. Then, in ramming ahead, it failed to put enough protection into the contract for Saskatchewan. It didn’t even consider the risk of the meter failures, or the impact that could have on families’ safety, and the rates they will pay for power.”
Wotherspoon said the government’s decision to stick with Sensus now also defies common sense.
“This government’s so-called solution is to handcuff Saskatchewan to Sensus, and to this poorly negotiated contract,” Wotherspoon said. “A store credit with a company that has a record of dangerous failures – paying them to put another experimental model on our homes later – I don’t want that, and I don’t think Saskatchewan families feel comfortable with that.”
Wotherspoon still wants a full independent audit of the government’s smart meter debacle, including an evaluation of exactly how much money Saskatchewan is out when it comes to the supplier and private installer company. Wotherspoon has called on the government to bring in the independent provincial auditor to do that.