SAULT STE. MARIE -- In what is being hailed as the largest project in PUC's 100-year history and a potential game-changer for public utilities across Canada, the "Sault Smart Grid" project in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. is being given the green light by the Ontario Energy Board (OEB).

In its decision, the OEB applauds the $34 million project for its innovative approach, adding the new smart grid project is in the public interest and will directly benefit customers.

Rob Brewer, the president and CEO of PUC Inc., said in addition to saving customers money on their bills, the Sault Smart Grid will allow the utility to prepare for blackouts and storms through what he calls "self-healing" technology by reducing the duration and frequency of outages. According to PUC, the Sault Smart Grid will reduce operations and management costs and provide what it calls real-time pricing – which it said will help its customers to make decisions on their energy use that will save them money.

“The smart grid technology can pinpoint the outage location immediately, allowing us to quickly restore power to all the areas except for where the problem is. So instead of hundreds of customers affected by a tree falling on a power line, there may be only a handful of homes affected by it,” Brewer said.

The project is scheduled to be completed by the end of 2022.