FAQs

Why is the City of New Westminster installing advanced meters?

We’re replacing our equipment so that we can keep providing reliable, cost-effective service to our customers.

The City’s existing electric metering infrastructure is aging and becoming costly to maintain. Installing modern equipment will create the foundation to support new and innovative sustainable technologies such as electric vehicles and customer generation.

What is an advanced meter and how is it different from my current meter?

Your current meter and advanced meters both measure electricity consumption. However, instead of your meter being read approximately every two months, advanced meters will transmit this information on more frequent intervals across a secure, wireless network. This will result in more timely information which will allow the utility to manage the flow of electricity throughout the city's electrical system and measure the quality of power being delivered more efficiently. Advanced meters can also automatically detect power outages leading to quicker response times. 

What are the benefits of advanced meter infrastructure?

We’re replacing our equipment so that we can keep providing safe, reliable, and cost-effective service. 
 
Once advanced meters are installed and the upgraded system is functioning as a whole, we will benefit from a range of new features and capabilities. Working as part of a modern grid, the advanced metering system will: 
  • Provide you with more information about how much and when your household is using electricity, so that you can better understand how that use affects your bill. 
  • Increase accuracy of power outage information and location, resulting in quicker outage response and restoration. 
  • Improve operational efficiency and reduce the City’s utility costs over time. 
  • Lay the foundation for innovative sustainable technologies such as electric vehicles and solar panels. 
  • Ensure that the electricity system continues to evolve with modern safety standards, so that hazards such as overloaded meters and power theft can be better detected. 
  • Support economic growth and new job opportunities in the green energy field.


Why do we need advanced meters?

Advanced meters are a critical step to modernizing the City’s electrical grid and will enable the New Westminster Electrical Utility to continue to provide reliable service as well as offer new features and benefits to customers. Advanced meters will allow customers to make more informed decisions about their energy consumption which can lead to more savings. 

Are the new meters safe?

Advanced meters communicate using safe, secure low-level radio signals. The signals from the meters are much lower than common household devices such as Wi-Fi routers, cell phones and baby monitors. Additionally, advanced meters transmit for less than one minute per day. 
 
All electrical meters must pass strict safety and accuracy measures set by federal authorities such as Health Canada and Measurement Canada. The meters we have selected are compliant with all appropriate standards and operate far below exposure limits set by Health Canada
 

What information will be collected?

Advanced meters measure electricity use. They can measure this in time blocks, e.g. kilowatts per hour, which can help you better understand how your use affects your bill. No personal identifiers, such as names or addresses are stored within the meter and they will not indicate which appliances you’re using.
 

What privacy measures have been put in place?

We place a high priority on customer privacy, and we must protect your personal information by law. All personal information collected is managed in accordance with the Freedom of Information and Protection of Privacy Act, as it has always been. Our vendor, and our internal teams, will all work together to ensure your information is kept private. 

When will the new advanced meters be installed? 

A detailed schedule of the installation activities is being developed by the City and its installation contractor. Installation is anticipated to begin in 2021. More details and specific dates of when your meter will be replaced will be provided in advance of your new meter being installed. 

What if I don't want a new meter?

New Westminster Electrical Utility is offering customers the choice of receiving an advanced meter with the wireless transmissions disabled. This means consumption information will not be automatically sent to the utility. Customers choosing to have their meter’s wireless transmissions disabled will be charged a monthly fee to recover the costs of manually reading meters. The associated details and costs are still being determined. 

Will I incur additional costs for the AMI upgrade?

The installation of AMI is a necessary component of our infrastructure upgrades. All costs will be covered through our regular capital budget.