Advance Metering FAQ

Where can I find out more information about advanced meters?
Will the Meter Readers lose their jobs?

No. It is expected that through attrition and training in other job-specific skills, both the permanent and temporary Meter Readers will be reassigned to other important positions within the PUD.

What is the cost of advanced meters?

The total cost of the project is $5.56 million dollars . The project would result in a reduction in utility operating costs of over $251,000 per year and utility savings of $128,000 per year– as a public utility, such savings will ultimately benefit ratepayers. Operational savings are gained from work flow changes such as reduced truck rolls to read meters and disconnect and reconnect services. These are dollars that can be spent on value-added services such as vegetation management, line upgrades, etc. Utility savings are those related to replacing old inaccurate meters. The annual project savings will pay for the project cost over a 14 year period. Any future rate increase would be unaffected by the AMI project as it is a rate neutral project, meaning the initial and ongoing project costs would be offset by annual cost savings. The project would be funded out of normal operating budgets. As the PUD realizes financial benefits, those savings will also be used to fund this project.

When will meters be installed at my house?

The installation of meters and communication facilities is expected to be completed in 2023. Customers will receive more information on what to expect as the design and permitting is finalized.

What are the next steps in this project?

The PUD commissioners approved the AMI project on June 1, 2021 following extensive research and public outreach. A contract for the engineering and construction of the AMI project was issued on November 16, 2021. The project is currently undergoing permitting and final design with installation of meters planned for 2023.

I heard that the PUD may have installed some advanced meters already. Is one installed at my house?

The PUD conducted testing of 74 randomly selected water meters in the Carson and Underwood water systems to evaluate the existing meter accuracy. All customers that were part of the meter testing project were notified prior to the meter change. The old water meter was sent to a lab for bench testing and replaced with a new electromagnetic flow meter. The new water meters are compatible with an advanced metering system; however, no radio module was installed in the meter to allow for radio frequency (RF) communication. The weighted average accuracy of the old meters, based on measurements at minimum flow, intermediate flow, and maximum flow, found that the meters underreport water usage by 9.1%.

What if I don’t want an advanced meter?

The PUD will offer our customers an option to “opt-out” of having an advanced meter. The customer would pay the monthly difference in cost for the PUD to operate and maintain a meter without transmitting capability (opt-out fee). The details of the opt-out policy are in development.

How will you protect my privacy?

We take your privacy very seriously. No customer-identifying data – such as names and addresses – is stored in the meters or transmitted across the network. Unless you install a home energy management system, advanced meters cannot tell whether the energy used is from your oven, air conditioner, or hairdryer. Just like the current meters, the advanced meters will simply collect how much energy and water is being used. The advanced meters encrypt energy and water use information to ensure privacy and would transmit it to the PUD over a wireless network with multiple layers of security. Like today, the data will be used only for billing purposes, operational analysis, and planning.

Should I be concerned about health effects of radio frequencies?

Smart Meter FR Emissions vs. Other Common DevicesAn in-depth review of the scientific literature by the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed that the small amount of radiofrequency (RF) energy produced by advanced meters is not harmful to human health.

In the United States, the limits for human exposure are those adopted by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC maximum permissible exposures (MPEs) are applicable because the meters communicate over FCC licensed frequencies. In addition to the FCC MPEs, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has published recommendations for safe exposure limits (IEEE, C95.1).

RF emitted by advanced meters is well below the limits set by Federal Communications Commission and it is below levels produced by other common household devices like cell phones, baby monitors, satellite TVs, and microwaves. In fact, you would have to be exposed to the RF from an advanced meter for 375 years to get a dose equivalent to that of one year of 15-minutes-per-day cell phone use.

No credible evidence shows any threat to human health from RF emissions at or below RF exposure limits developed by the FCC. With over 25,000 articles published on the topic over the last 30 years, scientific knowledge in this area is now more extensive than for most chemicals.