REGINA - The Saskatchewan government is pulling the plug on SaskPower's smart meters due to public safety concerns following several fires.
Bill Boyd, minister responsible for the Crown utility, told a news conference in Regina that all 105,000 smart meters are to be removed and replaced with traditional units.
At least eight smart meters in the province have caught fire in the last two months.
SaskPower initially gave people the option of switching back to their old power meters. About 530 customers took the utility up on the offer.
The opposition NDP says the Saskatchewan Party government did not do its due diligence before going ahead with smart meter installations.
Critic Trent Wotherspoon says the public should not have to pay for the government's mistake.
"It is unacceptable for a penny of ratepayers dollars ... to be going to replace these dangerous meters," he says.
SaskPower says on its website that it is developing a plan to replace the smart meters quickly and safely.
"The concerns about safety are paramount here," Boyd said Wednesday. "We believe that any time families are at risk here in Saskatchewan actions have to be taken and that's why we have directed SaskPower accordingly."
Mike Marsh with SaskPower acknowledged earlier this week that the situation was extremely serious.
A smart meter records consumption of electric energy in small intervals and can relay the information electronically to a power company. It eliminates the need to estimate bills when a meter reader can't do a check on site.
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