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Richmond's Clevest wins BC Hydro's smart meter contract

The Richmond-based high-tech company Clevest Solutions along with Bit Stew Systems, has been chosen by BC Hydro to support its $930 million smart meter installation program. Earlier this month, Hydro commenced an 18-month program to install 1.

The Richmond-based high-tech company Clevest Solutions along with Bit Stew Systems, has been chosen by BC Hydro to support its $930 million smart meter installation program.

Earlier this month, Hydro commenced an 18-month program to install 1.8 million smart meters in the homes and offices of most of its customers, with Corix Utilities contracted to manage the installation.

Vancouver-based Bit Stew has been contracted to provide Hydro the tools to manage and track the upgrade using a real-time interactive map, according to a news release from the Crown corporation.

"The map shows open, active and closed smart meter work orders as meter are installed across the province. The software also flags outages and meters that have been tampered with," Hydro said.

Clevest, based in Richmond, is providing software that optimizes the scheduling and dispatching of workers, and also tracks the meter inventory through barcode scanning, photos and GPS mapping.

Clevest has been selling into the utilities market globally since 2007. The company has about 70 employees and maintains offices in the United States as well as China.

"We've got about a hundred customers all over the world," Clevest marketing manager Aaron Cruickshank said in a phone interview. "BC Hydro is not our biggest customer - our biggest is China Southern Power Grid, which runs the electrical grid for the bottom half of China - but BC Hydro is one of our bigger ones.

"This isn't the first time we've done a project like this. A lot of utilities in North America use us for smart grid deployment. It's a bit of an area of expertise for us.

"There's a lot of third party deployment vender companies out there that use our software almost exclusively-- there are only three or four big players in the market. Basically all of them use us."

Cruickshank said that although the company has an international reputation, it is "really happy" to have BC Hydro as a customer.

"It's always great to have a big client like BC Hydro in your backyard that you can point to. BC Hydro is a very well respected player in the utilities industry and a lot of other utilities look to what they're doing as best practices."

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