To Seattle City Light,
I do not want “smart” meters in my neighborhood, let alone on my home. The Opt-Out Policy is wholly inadequate to address my concerns.
The Advanced Metering Infrastructure provides NO benefit to me; it instead negatively impacts me whether I opt-out or not:
- Increased cost of electricity
- Increasing use of electricity to manage unnecessary usage data
- Increasing electromagnetic radiation, which harms the environment and the health of every living creature
- Increasing security risks; creating a computer network of 430,000 new access points that can potentially be hacked to attack the already vulnerable distribution grid
- The divergence of funds to protect utility revenue rather than creating sustainable energy solutions for the future
- Interferes with ability to add solar panels in future
Then there are the unaddressed concerns of:
- Privacy rights
- Fire hazards
Further, charging me an additional $15.87 per month, on top of already increased rates, to keep my service the way it’s been for decades, to avoid the above concerns, is unjustifiable.
As a customer of Seattle City Light, I demand a reconsideration of deploying the AMI “smart” meters, and if done at all, should be deployed as an OPT-IN only.
— Bettie Luke
To Bettie Luke, via Northwest Asian Weekly,
Advanced Metering will provide better support for customers with solar panels by allowing them to see how much their panels are producing and how much electricity their homes are using any time they want to check it online.
Seattle City Light is a publicly owned utility that operates as a non-profit department of the City of Seattle. We only collect enough money from our customers to cover the cost of electricity and our operations.
Advanced Metering will help City Light hold down its operating costs and continue to provide some of the lowest electricity rates of any large city in the country.
Advanced Meters are the environmentally correct choice. By eliminating the need to send meter readers to every home and business, City Light will avoid 200,000 miles of driving — and the carbon emissions associated with that driving — every year. The meters also will put more power in our customers hands so they will be able to see how much electricity they are using and how much it costs on a daily basis, which could help some customers who want to conserve energy reduce their bills.
The cost of installing the advanced meters is an operational cost for City Light and it is included in our projections for future rates. There is no separate charge for installing a new advanced meter. Many of our existing meters are far beyond their expected lifespan and need to be replaced, costs for the utility no matter what type of meter is used.
City Light is installing advanced meters to provide enhanced services for our customers. In addition to giving customers the ability to see how much electricity they are using and how much it will cost them before they get a bill, the new meters will automatically report power outages, eliminate instances of estimated bills that are currently used when a meter reader can’t access a meter, and allow for possible future services such as monthly billing, pre-pay and other optional alternative rate structures.
Advanced metering will become City Light’s standard service. Customers who decide they do not want an advanced meter will receive a non-communicating digital meter and they will be charged to cover the cost of sending a meter reader to their home. That charge will be made each billing cycle, which is currently every two months. The fee City Light has established is about $1 less than the national average among utilities with opt-out programs.
As for privacy concerns, City Light will only collect the total amount of electricity used by the home. The meters will only transmit a meter number and the total amount of electricity used. This is the information we need to generate a bill and provide the enhanced services for our customers. City Light will never share this information with anyone else.
As for safety, City Light will be installing the first electricity meters to be certified for safety by UL.
Additionally, they will be equipped with heat sensors to detect short circuits or other problems that could lead to a fire, a safety feature our existing meters don’t have.
We have been reaching out to our customers to discuss Advanced Metering for four years, including open houses, strategic planning events and hearings, information on our website, articles in our Light Reading newsletter and now during the public comments period for the opt-out policy. We appreciate the many comments we have already received. We will review them and consider possible changes before the opt-out policy is finalized.
For more information on the program, please visit seattle.gov/light/ami.
— Scott Thomsen
Seattle City Light