Action doesn’t affect WEC
Since Washington Electric Co-op serves members in 41 towns, most of whom are in the Times Argus’ readership area, I need to make some corrections to the lead story about smart meters in the May 12, 2012, paper in order to avoid unnecessary confusion.
The article reported on action taken by the Legislature to prohibit utilities from charging an “opt out” fee to customers who do not want a wireless meter installed at their house. The error in the article is that it gives the clear impression that all utilities who are installing Advanced Metering Infrastrucure (AMI, or “smart meters”) are installing wireless devices. This is not true.
Washington Electric Co-op, whose AMI plan was very recently approved by the Public Service Board, will be installing “wired” smart meters. These devices will communicate with the co-op over our existing power lines and will not use radio frequency technology. Vermont Electric Co-op, the first utility in the state to fully convert their system to AMI, is also using wired smart meters.
While WEC will offer an option for members who have privacy concerns which will limit how much usage information the meter provides, this will not involve a choice not to have a smart meter installed. The plan approved by the PSB is for every meter on our system to be changed to “wired” advanced meter by the end of this year, or very early in 2013. We have been providing information about this major project to our members through our newsletter, website and member meetings and will be stepping up our education and information efforts in the coming months.
In the meantime, it would help if Washington Electric Co-op members understood that the legislation action reported on in The Times Argus article does not affect their utility.
Washington Electric Co-op
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