ASHLAND, Ore. -- Meter Readers may soon be a thing of the past. Pacific Power plans to install smart meters to homes in our area over the next 18 months.
Pacific Power will install the smart meters for it's customers for free, but if you opt out it will cost you. Customers that don't use the smart meter will be charged a one-time $137 meter exchange fee, and a $36 monthly meter reading fee.
For one year, that's $432 just to have a person read the meter. If you change your mind within six months Pacific Power will install a smart meter, and it will refund the $137.
"All it is, is to make sure that we're passing on the cost associated with that extra personnel for someone opting out onto the customer directly instead of having other rate payers subsidize it," says Christina Kruger, Regional Business Manager of Pacific Power.
A smart meter is controlled digitally, it doesn't require a meter reader to go check it once a month. It's more advanced to show exactly how much energy you use throughout the day. It will then send that data to Pacific Power.
"Their information is going to be encrypted. All we're receiving is essentially bulk data: Is the power on? Is it off? And how much is being used?" says Kruger.
Ashland's Electric Utility uses a variation of a smart meter, and their customers can opt out for free.
"We're consumer owned instead of investor owned, and we try to cater to our consumers a little differently than an investor own utility would," says Tom McBartlett with Electric Utility for the City of Ashland.
If you want to remove a smart meter after it's installed that will cost you $306 and the $36 monthly meter reading fee. If you change your mind within six months Pacific Power will refund the exchange fee.