SPOKANE, Wash. — Avista installed their first smart meter on a home on Spokane County Wednesday morning. This kicks-off the long process of installing new digital meters on every Washington customer's home or business.
In 2018, the energy company announced they would provide every customer with smart meters, which will allow customers to track their energy use in real time.
Avista workers started at Vikkie Naccarato’s home in Millwood that was built in 1923. It was the first of thousands of smart electronic meters and gas modules that will be installed throughout Avista's coverage area.
Naccarato and her husband have lived in the historic home for 37 years. She said homes built in the 1920’s were not built with the same materials we have today. It can be difficult to insulate her older home, so they monitor their energy usage closely, especially during the winter.
"I always go online, but you always see it after the fact and have no idea what's happening. So I am very excited about being able to tell in the middle of the month,” Naccarato said. "I think it's going to be wonderful just because I always have monitored and now I will have so many more tools."
The new smart meters will transmit a signal with information about a customer's energy usage to a nearby router. That information will then be sent to Avista through either a cellular or satellite connection, depending on the location.
There has been a lot of skepticism surrounding these meters and questions about how this information will be used and if they are safe.
Just 174 people have opted to not have a smart meter installed in Avista's territory.
Heather Rosentrator, Vice President of Energy Delivery, said more than 76 million households across the nation have these meters and modules already. She said they were able to look at how other areas handled the process and learn from it. She said they are able to produce private, secure and safe service to their customers.
Customers will get a 90-day, 60-day and 21-day notice before their meters are installed. When a crew member come by they will let the homeowner know they are there, but the customer does not have to be home for the installation to take place.
The actually installation takes just a few moments and it will cause a short five minute power outage in at the particular home or business.
The installations will take 20 months to complete. Avista has divided their coverage area into 10 zones. They will focus on Spokane first.
For more information and to find out when they will get to your neighborhood click here.