VANCOUVER - FortisBC says it will apply next year for regulatory approval for what it says is the first fundamental technology upgrade of B.C. gas meters in the past century.

The Advanced Gas Meters project would upgrade the meters of more than one million natural gas customers between 2022 and 2026.

The utility company says in a statement the new meters use sound waves to measure gas use and send the information to the utility through a wireless network, meaning manual individual meter readings would no longer be necessary.

Douglas Stout, vice president of external relations, says the new meters would allow Fortis to better monitor its system, for example by remotely detecting and responding to gas leaks.