First report from last night’s quarterly Morgan Community Association meeting is one of interest no matter what neighborhood you’re in: It’s the first community-council briefing we’ve seen in this area since Seattle City Light started switching over to automated meters. The map above shows which parts of West Seattle are scheduled for installation next year – according to the online schedule, the utility expects to have all installations citywide due by the end of 2018.
SCL’s Scott Thomsen spoke to MoCA last night, saying that the new meters will be uploading your power-use information to SCL six times a day. They’re replacing meters that are in some cases older than half a century. He described the attributes as including “first off, you’re going to get more accurate billing.” No more “estimated reads” when they can’t get a meter reading to your house, for whatever reason, leading to an inaccurate bill and maybe a big catch-up bill later. Then, “on a day like today with a storm coming in,” instead of reporting a power outage, “the meter will tell us that you are out,” and that will get crews on the road quicker to fix them. Also: “What we’re talking about is a change in our relationship with you, our customers, to put more power in your hands to control energy costs,” since you’ll also have access to details of how much you’re using.
Questions included whether the existing meter’s base will accommodate the new meter; Thomsen says yes, but if something goes wrong while they are installing it, or they need to fix something with the base, they will take the position that it’s their responsibility, though technically property owners are accountable for providing the base that holds the meter.
How will you know exactly when you’re due for installation? Thomsen says you’ll get three notifications before they come to install – a letter, a postcard, an automated phone call, starting weeks ahead of time. The installer will come knock on your door so that if you’re home working on something, you’ll have an opportunity to save it before the one-minute power outage that’ll be required for the switch over. You don’t have to be home for the installation. Other questions? Check out SCL’s page for the automated-meter project.