Advanced gas meters
FortisBC is working to build a more reliable natural gas system for our more than one million customers across British Columbia. In May 2021, we filed with our regulator, the British Columbia Utilities Commission, to upgrade our natural gas meters as part of the Advanced Gas Meters project. On May 15, 2023, we received approval of our application.
Improving BC’s energy system
Upgrading to advanced gas meters will modernize our gas infrastructure. The new meters will allow us to better monitor and manage our system using a wireless network. For example, we will be able to remotely detect and respond to gas leaks, including in the event of an emergency such as an earthquake.
This project is one of a number of upgrades we are exploring to improve the resiliency of BC’s energy system.
Advanced gas meter benefits
Advanced gas meters will offer customers a number of benefits:
- Customers will be able to access daily data on their gas use, empowering them with the tools they need to make cost-effective energy choices for their families and businesses.
- Safety enhancements such as notifications if unusual gas flows are detected, which could indicate a faulty appliance.
- Reduced inconvenience to customers by no longer needing to shut-off gas service during meter exchanges or regularly entering customers’ properties to read meters.
- Switching to advanced meters will mean fewer cars on the road as we will no longer
need to manually read individual meters, eliminating an estimated 1,100 tonnes of
greenhouse gas emissions per year.
Before we filed our application with the British Columbia Utilities Commission, we engaged with the community.
The feedback we received at information sessions – as well as by phone and email – helped us develop our application.
We anticipate replacing our gas meters between 2024 and 2028.
Frequently asked questions
Advanced gas meters use ultra-sonic waves to measure gas consumption and send this information to FortisBC over a wireless network, instead of manually reading individual meters.
They record gas consumption over time – the same information our meter readers have always collected manually.
Advanced meters have virtually no moving parts, and are smaller and expected to last longer than existing meters.
They will be battery-powered and have an anticipated lifespan of at least 20 years.
Upgrading our customers’ gas meters to advanced meters will modernize our gas infrastructure and allow us to better monitor and manage our system. The project will also offer our customers a number of new benefits:
- Gas use will be measured through a wireless network. Regular visits to read individual meters will not be required.
- Customers can access daily updates on their gas use.
- We can remotely detect and respond to gas leaks, including in the event of an emergency.
- Future meter exchanges can be done without interruption to gas service.
No, your advanced gas meter won’t need an internet connection to work. They will operate using a FortisBC-owned wireless network that is separate from your home WiFi.
Our current schedule would have us upgrading our residential and commercial natural gas customers to advanced gas meters between 2024 and 2028.
We anticipate meters will be upgraded between 2024 and 2028. We’ll reach out to customers to notify them before work starts to exchange meters in their community.
When it’s time to upgrade your meter, we’ll contact you to arrange a convenient time for our technician to come to your home or business. To do the exchange, your natural gas service will be shut off temporarily so our technician can safely do the work. After the exchange is done, the technician will need to enter your home or business to relight your heating system and appliances.
It’s important to always try to keep a clear path to your natural gas meter at all times. That means being careful not to block it, whether with stored items, snow or shrubbery. Keeping the area around your natural gas meter clear ensures that you, the meter reader or emergency responders can reach it safely at all times.
All natural gas customers will have their meters upgraded as part of this project.
While we encourage customers to take advantage of the benefits advanced meters offer – including daily updates on their gas use – we will also offer a radio-off option.
If customers choose the radio-off option, they will still have an advanced gas meter installed, but the wireless transmitter will be disabled.
Instead, we will manually read the meter.
Those who choose the radio-off option will need to pay additional fees to ensure the majority of our customers are not responsible for covering the additional costs associated with this.
We do not expect our advanced gas meters to result in material changes to customer bills over the life of the project.
Generally, customers should expect to see initial project costs reflected in their bills followed by rate savings once the meters are in use. We expect customers to see savings from as early as 2026.
Millions of advanced meters similar to what we will be using have been installed safely across North America. This includes about 130,000 FortisBC electricity customers.
FortisBC advanced gas meters will meet the same Canadian and international standards as our existing meters, and the same safety standards as other electronic devices around the home.
Advanced meters use a wireless transmitter that emits a low level of electromagnetic field.
They emit a significantly lower level of electromagnetic field than many common devices such as cell phones, WiFi routers, baby monitors and microwaves.
FortisBC takes customer privacy seriously. Advanced meters will only transmit consumption and meter status information along with a code that FortisBC uses to identify a meter. FortisBC will use this information to calculate customers’ bills.
Customer information such as account balance, consumption data, name and address will not be transmitted. Any information sent wirelessly is encrypted, meeting North American and international standards.
We will own the network, and all information collected and stored will remain in Canada at all times. Third-party security audits will also be regularly conducted. Customers’ personal information is protected under the British Columbia Personal Information Protection Act.
A closer look
Safety of our customers, employees and the public is our top priority. We’re here to answer your questions and provide facts regarding advanced meters, and empower our customers with transparent and informed energy data.
Did you know millions of advanced meters similar to what we will be using operate safety across North America? In fact, advanced meters emit less radiofrequency than the human body. Take a look at the graphic below to compare:
Want to know more about our Advanced Gas Meters project?
To learn more about our Advanced Gas Meters project, email [email protected] or call 1-833-592-7937.