To: PLVC Board
From: PLVC Utilities Committee
Subject: Jefferson PUD Staff Recommendation to Install Smart Meters
Date: November 21, 2017
The Utilities Committee met today with Jefferson PUD Commissioner Wayne King and Acting General Manager Kevin Streett, concerning the PUD staff’s recommendation to install new Itron Smart Meters replacing a “hodgepodge” of old and failing electric meters throughout the service territory. There is a small minority of customers organized as the Smart Meters Objections Group (SMOG) that have raised concerns and objections to moving forward with this project. Their concerns center upon privacy, radio frequency (RF) emissions, and other miscellaneous issues. We reviewed these issues and believe they have very little merit. This statement is based on the career backgrounds of several Committee members.
Kevin summarized for the Committee the advantages of installing the meters which included:
- More accurate meter readings. Many of the analog meters are up to 40 years old and are losing or have lost 1 – 3 percent accuracy. It is estimated that by installing the new smart meters, the PUD could realize an additional $1.1M revenue per year which is a conservative estimate. In addition, the old meters are failing by the hundreds per year. The PUD can’t keep up with the second hand purchasing of enough old meters needed to work in present system we inherited from Note – is there is not a current supplier for the older-style analog electric meters.
- The crew time to repair/replace meters is very costly and takes away time from other top priority
- The required staff time monthly is substantial to read meters. Also, two on-site visits to the subject property are required to disconnect and reconnect meters, due to moving, late bill payment, or when asked to do so by the Fire Department. Again – substantial staff time is
- The PUD currently is paying over $300K per year to an outside vendor for reading some meters. Implementing smart meters throughout the service territory would eliminate this
- The recommended smart meters will avoid the above problems as they will send information to PUD where meters can be read, and remotely turned off and on. Also, the individual customer can take better control of their electric usage and monitor via a website should they choose to do
- Most important is the automatic notification to the PUD of outages – a huge concern to the aging population of Port Ludlow. Installing smart meters will save crew time and reduce the response and length of outages. During a storm event, PUD crews can earn double or even triple overtime in an effort to restore
The above advantages of having the smart meters installed will save the PUD ratepayers somewhere between $1 million and $1.5 million per year. The cost of the new smart meters and installation would be amortized in less than three years if the project were implemented in a one-year timeframe. From a fiscal, operations, and efficiency standpoint it makes sense for the PUD to move forward with this project.
The Utilities Committee therefore recommends to the PLVC Board that the Board write an email to the three Commissioners (firstname.lastname@example.org) recommending installation of the smart meters ASAP and that Port Ludlow Community would be glad to be first in line.
Enclosure: Article which appeared in The Leader on November 8, 2017.
PLVC Utilities Committee Chair
(Note: This memo was approved unanimously at the Utilities Committee meeting on November 21, 2017)