New smart meters installed in Spokane raise questions

Crews said that even the safety of the new devices is communicated back to Inland Power and Light.

SPOKANE, Wash. - Inland Power and Light is making the switch over to smart meters, which means they will not have to send employees around to every home collecting electricity usage information.

Many reached out to KREM 2 News with questions about the remote monitoring of their energy systems.

Crews said that even the safety of the new devices is communicated back to Inland Power and Light.

The process to implement the new meters started in March, and so far more than 15,000 meters have been installed.

The new meters will let Inland Power pinpoint exact locations where outages occur, plus they can see power quality to determine whether it is low or high voltage, according to staff.

However, it still has a lot of people asking questions, particularly about safety.

One Deer Park resident wanted to know the extent that the utility company would be able to track and monitor his energy usage. This was his concern.

"That the appliances and heating system and everything else in your house would be attached to your power meter and they would be able to control it like a thermostat," said Deer Park resident Al Randall. "If they thought you were using too much, they could turn it off."

Randall said he was reassured that was not the case. Inland Power said the easiest way to understand the metering system is to think of it as a gas station. At a gas station they can track how much gas you use, but not where you are driving the car.

Some other concerns included how much radiation you are being exposed to from the radio signals being sent from your meter. According to Inland Power, radiation from a smart meter is almost 60 times less than radiation that comes from Wi-Fi signals. Staff said the radiation is also 300 times less than that of a microwave oven and almost 8,000 times less than the radiation we are exposed to with cordless phones.


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