University of the Fraser Valley

BC Hydro donates modern meters to UFV electrician program

BC Hydro donates modern meters to UFV electrician program

Students (left to right) Jack Fergussen, Ty Timms, and Jon Landis in UFV’s Construction Electrician certificate program inspect modern energy meters donated by BC Hydro.

Students in UFV’s Construction Electrician certificate program got their hands on new tech last week as BC Hydro donated 20 smart Itron energy meters to the university. The donation was coordinated by Joel Feenstra, associate professor in electrical, and the new meters were delivered to the Trades and Technology Centre at the Chilliwack campus on Feb 9. They replace two dated analog units and let students get used to the look and feel of meters that are being installed in every new building today.

“BC Hydro has re-programmed them for educational purposes, and we’ll have one for every project booth in our commercial shop,” says Cary Britton, assistant professor of electrical in Applied and Technical Studies.  “Each student will have their own meter, rather than passing the two old meters around, and this will keep their skills and training up to date.

Allan Steidle, UFV interim director of trades (right), along with assistant professor Cary Britton (middle) and BC Hydro’s Kunle Adeleye (left), checking out one of the meters donated to the Construction Electrician certificate program.

“If we had to buy these ourselves, they would cost thousands per student, which isn’t an expense we could take on without private help.”

Tech wise, Britton says the new meters compare to the old ones as a modern cell phone compares to a 1980s era rotary phone. They don’t have gears and spinning readouts anymore, and no one needs to visit homes to record readings because they have transmitters built in that send energy-usage readings to BC Hydro remotely. But the UFV students won’t need to worry about the innards of the new meters, only how to wire them in properly.

“The analog meters also had glass casings, so if you dropped them the glass breaks. These new ones have plastic casings and are far more robust,” adds Allan Steidle, UFV interim director of trades. “The analog meters they’ve been working with are obsolete now, and it’s part of the Skilled Trades BC mandate to have updated information for them. This is what they are going to see and physically handle when they get into the field.

“We are looking forward to plugging them in and heating them up.”