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Avista To Begin Installing 'Smart Meters' Next Week

Doug Nadvornick/SPR

Avista says it will begin installing new gas and electric meters at homes and businesses throughout its service area next week.

Heather Rosentrater, the vice president for energy delivery at Avista, says the so-called “smart meters” will allow the utility to more quickly and accurately measure how its customers use energy.

“The ‘smart meter’ actually communicates three times per day and, as it does that, it encrypts the usage data and then it sends it to a local communications network router. From that network router, the communication is securely transferred to Avista via a wireless network. So, at no times does the meter store, collect or transmit any personal identification of our customers," Rosentrater said.

She says the new system will allow customers to access their updated usage information and electricity costs online.

“They’ll be able to actually log in to their secure web portal much earlier in that billing cycle and be able to see what their usage is today," she said. "We’ll also be able to share what the forecasted usage is for that entire billing period so they’ll be able to see that. We believe that will give our customers much more control over their energy usage and over their bills.”

Avista plans to swap out about 400,000 electric and gas meters during the next 20 months. Crews will begin next week in the core of Spokane, moving to the South Hill and the Pullman/Clarkston areas this summer.