Electricity metering needs to evolve with the industry it supports.


Electricity metering in Canada is governed by two pieces of federal legislation: the Weights and Measures Act (WMA) & the Electricity & Gas Inspection Act (EGIA) as well as the Canadian Electrical Code, which is a standard. In general terms, these three documents govern metering in the following ways:

  • The WMA sets out what units of measurement are to be used when an electricity sale is made between a buyer and a seller.
  • The EGIA sets the rules for ensuring that the measurement used in that transaction is fair.
  • The Canadian Electrical Code ensures that all meters conform to safety standards, so that buyers and sellers of electricity throughout Canada are protected from harm.

Old meters performed measurements through electromechanical mechanisms and were thus analog. Digital meters that use integrated electrical components and software to perform measurements have somewhat become the norm today. Smart meters, however, are an evolution of digital meters, as they perform the same measurement functions (metrology) and are governed by the same legislation and standards as an older meter, but with an additional communication and memory functionality layer. This way, smart meters can record and store data to then transmit it to a central reporting hub. According to Natural Resources Canada (NRCan)’s 2018 Smart Grid in Canada report, 82% – and growing – of all meters in Canada are smart.

Electricity Canada & Metering

The challenge faced by the electricity sector is that the EGIA and WMA are each approximately 40 years old and no longer accurately represent what the electricity marketplace looks like. The EGIA, and to a lesser extent the WMA, were written to govern the behaviour of large provincial utilities. However, the market has diversified greatly in the intervening decades. New measurements, in new places, by new market participants are increasingly needed for the electricity market to meet emerging customer demands which include electric vehicle charging, distributed renewable generation, behind the meter storage and other technologies and practices that were not envisioned 40 years ago.

Therefore, Electricity Canada has conducted in depth research and thought leadership since 2019 on how to modernize Canada’s electricity marketplace (see Supporting Content below).

Key Messages

  • The legislation governing metering needs to be updated to recognize the profound evolution of the electrical grid and its marketplace participants.