FortisAlberta, the regulated, electrical distribution company in central and southern Alberta, will implement advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) technology in a phased approach to replace the company's manual meter reading system.

"Customers, regulators and consumer advocacy groups are raising the standards for bills so that they are easier to understand. With the implementation of this technology, FortisAlberta will be able to more easily anticipate customers' electricity needs, and more accurately report customer consumption to retailers based on actual usage instead of estimated usage," said Philip Hughes, FortisAlberta's president. "We're eager to take every opportunity to provide the benefits of this system to our customers."

The first phase to be implemented includes FortisAlberta's residential, farm, irrigation and commercial customers in FortisAlberta's service territory including Leduc, Stony Plain, Vauxhall and Brooks. FortisAlberta will install approximately 30,000 meters by mid-2007 as part of the first phase of AMI.

"Pending regulatory approval, the AMI technology, once fully implemented across our service area by 2010, will also reduce the costs of the current manual meter reading practice resulting in cost savings to our customers," added Hughes.

FortisAlberta received approval to initiate the first phase of this project from the Alberta Energy and Utilities Board (EUB) as part of the company's 2006/2007 Distribution Tariff Application. Based on the successful implementation of the first phase, the company will seek approval for implementation of the AMI technology to its remaining 400,000 customers as part of its 2008/2009 Distribution Tariff Application.