A day after the provincial government announced it will uninstall 105,000 smart meters, the Opposition Leader said Saskatchewan people have a lot of questions, and deserve answers.
The six- to nine-month job removing the new meters comes after at least eight fires were sparked by the meters or their installation during the government's smart meter project – a project it committed to spend hundreds of millions of dollars on.
"Yesterday, the government admitted it didn't do the proper due diligence before plowing ahead with its smart meter program," said NDP Leader Cam Broten. "That's frustrating for Saskatchewan families. And it's also incredibly frustrating that this government has so few answers to many important questions."
The questions Broten wants answers to include:
- Who is leading the investigation into what went wrong?
- Is the same Pennsylvania-based company that installed the 105,000 smart meters responsible for uninstalling them?
- Why did the government not use qualified electrical workers for these installations and will the government cancel its exemption and ensure that only qualified electrical workers are involved in uninstalling these dangerous meters?
- In addition to the fires associated with already-installed smart meters, how many fires were started during the process of removing the existing meters and installing the smart meters?
- Why does it need to take six to nine months to uninstall these dangerous meters?
- What are the details of the government's contract with the Pennsylvania-based company that installed these meters?
- What are the details of the government's purchase agreement with Sensus Inc., the American supplier of these meters?
- When were the premier and minister responsible for SaskPower informed of potential problems with these meters and why did they choose not to act sooner?
- Will the government commit not to pass the costs for this blunder on to SaskPower ratepayers or Saskatchewan taxpayers, and recover the full costs of this program that has already cost hundreds of millions of dollars?
Broten pointed out that Saskatoon Light and Power, which provides electricity to almost 60,000 households in Saskatoon, has installed smart meters in half of its service area over the past six years, without any incidents. Saskatoon Light and Power used a different brand of smart meters, and also had its own staff do the installations instead of contracting out the project.
“This government didn't do the proper due diligence,” said Broten. “It chose to cut corners, contract this out to an American company, and ignore the very real concerns that came forward. Saskatchewan people deserve answers and accountability.”