City Light to begin installing advanced electrical meters

Sunday, July 30, 2017

The standard advanced meters have white labels.
They also have FCC ID labels, which are required
by law because they have a radio transceiver in them.
By Diane Hettrick

Seattle City Light will begin upgrading existing electrical meters to advanced meters July 31, 2017.

The Advanced Metering program will replace more than 420,000 meters by the end of 2018, enhancing service for customers, while helping the publicly owned utility become more efficient.

Advanced meters will record customer energy-use information throughout the day, just as today’s meters do.

Using wireless communication similar to cell phones and WiFi, customer energy-use information will be sent several times a day in 90 second transmissions to City Light using radio frequency waves.

The new meters eliminate the need to have meter readers physically read the meters - or to have the utility estimate bills when the meter readers cannot work the route.

It means that residents will not be alarmed by strangers peering over their fences or walking in their back yards looking for the meter. Police will not have to spend their time hunting down "intruders" who turn out to be meter readers.

Billing will always be accurate, neither based on estimates, nor influenced by a lichen-covered meter cover.

Once the meter data is connected to other computer systems, power outages will be reported automatically. No more will customers have to hunt for the outage line number in the dark to call in a power outage. The utility will know exactly where the outages are the instant they occur.

When the data is connected to City Light computer system, customers will be able to see daily online updates of their energy use and what it costs.

Once the data is within City Light’s secure firewall, the information will be matched up with customer accounts for billing and other customer service activities.

Puget Sound Energy, which already uses automated meter reading infrastructure for electrical and gas, is in the middle of upgrading to deploy two-way automated metering technology.

City Light customers who do not wish to receive the benefits of an advanced meter can choose to opt out. To learn more visit the opt-out page here. Opt-out meters look like advanced meters except they have a blue label and no FCC label.


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