Hydro-Québec signed a massive contract with Landis+Gyr to purchase 3 million smart meters for deployment throughout the Canadian province of Quebec.
The utility says the $100 million investment to install, and operate the meters will save $300 million over the next 20 years.
Hydro-Québec will run three pilot projects over the next year before rolling out the meters throughout the province beginning in 2012.
The pilot projects will run in Boucherville (6,000 meters), Montréal (19,000 meters) and the regional county municipality of Memphrémagog (2,000 meters).
Landis+Gyr says it plans to create a "Center of Excellence" for smart meters in Montreal that could provide up to 200 green jobs if they secure contracts with other Canadian utilities.
Landis+Gyr was acquired by Toshiba (6502.T) earlier this month for $2.3 billion.
Hydro-Québec says, however, that implementing remote meter reading will lead to the elimination of 725 positions during 2012-2017. The cuts will chiefly affect meter readers, whose services will no longer be required with the new technology. Under the terms of the various employment contracts in effect, all permanent staff affected will be assigned to other jobs unless they retire over the next five years.