Advanced Metering Installations

Project Description

Seattle City Light is continuously working on infrastructure improvements throughout our service territory, and this includes replacing older meters for our customers. City Light will be replacing these existing meters free of charge with a new, wireless advanced meter. Affected customers will be receiving a letter.

Location

Installations will occur throughout City Light's service territory

What's Happening Now?

Program Update (June/July 2021): Letters will be mailed out to affected customers in the 98106, 98126, 98136, 98116, 98134 and 98144 ZIP codes. 

Community Benefits

  • More accurate billing
  • Automated outage reporting for faster outage recovery
  • 200,000 fewer miles driven each year by meter readers, reducing carbon emissions by 72 tons
  • A foundation for potential new and expanded services, such as pre-paid accounts, high usage alerts, and web services for energy management

Anticipated Impacts

  • City Light Meter Electricians will install the new meters. The electricians will identify themselves with proper photo identification, a City Light safety vest and arrive in a utility vehicle.
  • The installation will involve a short momentary outage (approximately less than five minutes). You may need to update digital clocks and other equipment once the installation is complete.
  • Meter electricians will be working in one ZIP code at a time to complete this work.
  • Customers can assist us with the installation by taking these steps:
    • Keep the area in front of the meter socket free of materials and vegetation. We require a 3' x 3' flat working area in front of the meter and a clear path to access it.
    • You do not need to be home during the installation. However, the installer will knock on your door before starting the work to avoid any surprises.
    • If your meter is behind a locked gate or other obstruction, please contact us to arrange a time to access your equipment.
  • City Light employees are required to follow all safety protocols, including mask-wearing and social distancing. This work follows protocols in place to meet COVID-19 guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Washington State Department of Health, and Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Have questions?

Contact Us

Start Date: March 2021

City Light uses an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) as its standard technology for reading electrical consumption of our customers. AMI is a safe and proven technology that is widely used across the US. More than 500 utilities across the nation already use this technology, with 50 million advanced meters installed at 43 percent of American households (Institute for Electric Innovation, 2014).

What is AMI?

AMI collects and connects customer energy-use information to our internal systems. The meters provide automated wireless communication between the meter and the utility. This means that:

  • Meters record customer energy-use information throughout the day and deliver it to utility computer systems
  • Customer energy-use information is sent several times a day to City Light using radio frequency waves. This is like the wireless communications used by cell phones and WIFI. The meters transmit data for a maximum of 90 seconds per day.
  • Once the data is within City Light's secure firewall, the information will be matched up with customer accounts for billing and other customer service activities.

AMI Benefits 

  • Empower customers to make energy-saving choices: This data can enable customers to make better informed energy- and money-saving decisions.
  • Improve customer service:
    • Faster outage detection and restoration: AMI will eventually automatically report power outages to City Light, allowing us to respond and restore power faster.
    • More accurate billing: AMI greatly reduces billing estimates that lead to incorrect charges.
  • Reduce environmental impact: Customer energy-use is automatically sent to City Light, reducing the need for meter reader vehicles on the road, eliminating up to 72 tons of CO2 emissions per year.
  • Improved City Light Operations: AMI helps us monitor for outages, voltage issues and equipment problems across our entire distribution network. This helps us operate grid systems more efficiently and catch issues before they become problems. AMI also helps us:
      • Provide new safety features such as sensors that can detect heat-related issues.
      • Reduce energy theft with an alert that is sent to the utility at the first sign of tampering.

Still want to opt out?   

In order to opt out, you must submit an application to Seattle City Light and meet eligibility requirements.

  • Eligibility guidelines
    • You must be a residential customer.
    • Non-property owners who wish to opt-out must obtain signed permission from the property owner.
    • You are responsible for providing and maintaining access to City Light for meter installation, maintenance, and reading.
    • Owners and tenants of buildings with 4 units or less are eligible for opt-out. Tenants must have the owner's permission to opt-out. If the building owner chooses to opt-out the entire building, the owner will be responsible for paying all fees associated with the opt-out meters for all units.
    • Customers who live in multi-unit apartment buildings with 5 or more units are not eligible to opt-out.
    • Net metering (solar) customers are not eligible to opt-out.   
  • Need assistance?
    • Contact the Advanced Metering desk at (206) 727-8777 during regular business hours to request a hard copy application be mailed to you.
    • Email the Advanced Metering desk at SCL_Advanced_Metering@seattle.gov if you need further assistance.

Comparing City Light meters As shown by the following chart, there are additional costs associated with opting out, and fewer benefits with a non-communicating digital meter. Fees cover the City Light's overhead, costs, ongoing maintenance, and meter reading related to the non-communicating digital meter and equipment.    

Benefits & Fees Advanced Meter Opt-out with Non-communicating digital meter Opt-out with Non-communicating Digital Meter for Utility Discount Program Customers
View your daily electricity use Yes No No
Outage detection Yes No No
Remotely connecting your service Yes No No
One-time service and administration fee No $124.43 $49.77
Recurring billing cycle No charge $15.87 per billing cycle $6.35 per billing cycle