A smart grid is an electric system where pieces of equipment have two-way communications capability so they can “talk” to each other over a communications network.
Like your smartphone, this happens through a communications module inside the equipment. In a smart electric grid, substations, meters on homes and businesses, and sensors along the lines all transmit information back to the power company.
This data allows the utility to see what’s happening across the whole electric grid in real time. When the power goes out, they can easily pinpoint the outage and send crews to the proper location to fix it. With enhanced capability, some smart grid systems can even reroute power automatically when an outage happens to get the majority of customers back on in seconds.
Adapting to Saskatchewan’s power needs
Our vision is for an advanced, smarter grid that will connect all customers and SaskPower in the coming 5-10 years. A smart grid will help us to reach our goal of having 50 per cent of our power come from renewable resources by 2030. To get us there, we need an electrical system that can adapt – providing two-way communication to smart devices that help us:
- Understand when and where outages happen;
- Make it easy to connect customers who are generating their own renewable power (such as solar or wind); and
- Give us the information we need to tap various sources of power based on when and where customers need it.
Smart meters have a number of benefits for you and SaskPower. The smart module inside the meter automatically transmits how much power is being used in real time. Just 0.04 seconds of data are transmitted daily.
You can look forward to:
No more estimated bills — you pay for exactly the power you use
Right now, every bill you receive that is not based on a meter reading is based on an estimate of how much power you’ve used for that billing period. We read meters in cities every three months and rural areas once a year.
With smart meters, your power use information is collected several times per day, so your bill is based on what you use. Estimated bills will be a thing of the past, which will also reduce billing discrepancies.
No more meter reader visits
Smart meters will ‘talk’ to our system, meaning your meter will be remotely read. Meter readers will no longer need to enter your property to read the meter. Don’t worry, these employees will be moving into other jobs within our company.
Fixing power outages more quickly
Right now, we need customers to call and let us know when their power is out, then we send a power line technician to investigate. This wastes time that we could be using to fix the outage. In the future, we’ll be able to see outages on the system, so we can send someone right away – no more waiting for phone calls. We’ll also be able to pinpoint the source of the problem much faster.
Becoming more efficient
We’ll be able to answer your billing questions faster and more efficiently because we’ll have access to better data.
Helping the environment
By eliminating driving to read meters and making it easier to connect more customer-generated renewable power, we’re lowering the carbon footprint to power the province.