Smart Meter Update Winter 2017

opt-outSUMA-NW advocates and others were unable to halt the Seattle City Light (SCL) “smart” meter deployment in 2016. In 2017 we must focus on getting as many customers to opt-out as possible.

Opt-Out: Submit your opt-out application prior to the start of the meter exchange period, which is currently scheduled by SCL to begin July, 2017, to avoid paying the meter exchange fee. You still have to pay the one-time administrative fee.

Opt-Out application is currently available here, but SUMA-NW finds the Opt-Out Policy completely inadequate:

  • No analog meter option, even though Larry Weis, CEO of SCL, stated to SUMA-NW that analogs would be kept available. Smart meters, including non-communicating digital meters, increased fire hazards and harmful transients.
  • $124.43 upfront administrative fee, $49.77 for people who have qualified for Utility Discount Program (UPD). You will also have to pay for the service you now get for free at $15.87 per billing cycle ($6.35 per billing cycle for UPD) to have your meter read.
  • It is clearly stated in the Opt-Out Policy that the meter base is the responsibility of the property owner. Installations of meters without inspecting and repairing the meter base prior to installation  (the utility may not offer that service) could be dangerous for everyone. We believe that SCL should guarantee in writing that the base is safe and that an inspection has occurred by qualified staff. The reported fires throughout the US are due to increased arcing by digital meters. See Brian Thiesen’s excellent YouTube about fires involving AMI “smart” meters, AMR meters, and digital meters (non- communicating digital meters are safer if installed properly).
  • Renters must have the property owner’s permission in writing.
  • Property owners of multiple-unit buildings cannot opt-out individual units or common area metering.
  • Customers with solar panels who participate in net metering are not eligible to opt-out.

The installations are expected to begin in mid-year 2017. Contact Seattle City Light  (or call Advanced Metering desk at 206-727-8777) to find out when you are scheduled for installation.

Multiple-unit buildings such as condominiums and apartments must get their collectives to agree to opt-out for their entire building. SUMA-NW will be available, as our schedule permits, to come to any gatherings or meetings to explain the “smart” meter issues.

SCL claims that opting out will exclude you from alleged “smart” meter benefits. In reality there are no benefits with this current technology and it has failed to do anything except benefit the wireless industry, power utilities, and third-party marketers. It provides no environmental benefits or energy savings.

The opt-out form will ask you why you are opting out. You do not have to say why if you wish to keep those reasons private. You can simply say for personal reasons. Be aware that SCL now refers to “smart” meters as “standard” meters. This may be SCL’s attempt to normalize a flawed technology policy and hamper people’s own research into the negative aspects of “smart” meters.

We have voiced our concerns about smart meters since early 2014. The Seattle City Council (SCC) believed the greenwashing of this failed technology policy. The council never bothered to comment on the opt-out policy, and never acknowledged that it was not a solution to the serious concerns that are becoming apparent worldwide with the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (“smart” meters). They were told by SCL that not many people sign up to opt-out. If over 50% of people don’t qualify, it is obvious why that is the case.

We still need people to voice their outrage at wasting millions of dollars on “smart” meters (standard meters) with all their inherent risks and no benefits.  If nothing else, we can be the highest opt-out utility territory in the US.

Write Letters: We encourage people to write letters to SCL, CEO of SCL: Larry Weis, and the SCC Energy and Environment Committee*  to voice your concerns and complaints.

Some suggestions for what to include in your letter:

  • Demand for proof of meter base inspection (see #3 of strategies below)
  • Opt-Out policy complaints
  • Other points from previous letter campaigns                                                                                                                       Kshama Sawant*: 206-684-8016,               Lorena Gonzalez*: 206-684-8802,                Debora Juarez *: 206-684-8807,

SUMA-NW is investigating other strategies including:

  1. Conditional Acceptance has been discussed, but the reality of this option is that it is unenforceable and often dismissed as baseless by utilities. SUMA-NW currently cannot recommend this option until we have completed our research; it does not stop the installation. In theory, Conditional Acceptance uses contract law to demand that the utility guarantee/insure your safety and constitutional rights. Our understanding is that the Utility’s refusal to sign a Conditional Acceptance agreement would allow you to take further legal actions if any of the concerns raised are realized after installation. Jerry Day is the promoter of this strategy; for more information go to his website, (scroll toward bottom of page to Downloadable Documents). We also recommend that people sign up for newsletters from .
  2. Notice of Liability – is another type of contract strategy with stronger language and intentions that has been initiated by numerous groups around the US and Canada. To learn more about this method, please visit the Take Back Your Power website, specifically here.
  3. Demand Proof of Pre-installation Inspection Affidavit – Demand that Seattle City Light provides a signed document that the meter base has been inspected by a qualified technician prior to installation of the new digital meters, whether it is a wireless meter or an opt-out meter, and the technician has determined that the meter base is safe for installation of the meter. Read more about the hot-socket issues, which can dangerously increase the risk of fire.

New Critical Problem with ‘Smart’ Meters: The Switching-Mode Power Supply (SMPS)

It’s now becoming more widely known that microwave radiation is not the only type of radiation from smart meters that is causing illness.  Not by a long shot.

An important article by James Heddle and Mary Beth Brangan
see source article:

New Critical Problem with ‘Smart’ Meters: The Switching-Mode Power Supply (SMPS)

switching mode power supply - smart metersJust When You Thought It Was Safe to Opt-Out

Ironically, now that PG&E is offering to disable the wireless RF function (for a hefty price) in their smart meters, we find that there’s an another extremely critical problem with the meters.

Just when you thought you had mastered all the esoteric acronyms, and all the problems with ‘smart’ meters, here’s one more: Switching-Mode Power Supply or SMPS. This new element in the ‘smart’ meter controversy deserves immediate full official and public attention.

In our on-going investigation into why so-called ‘smart’ meters being installed by PG&E against rising public opposition are causing so many people to be sick, and so many problems with other electric and electronic equipment, we have been fortunate to obtain the advice of electrical engineers.

On examination of typical meters, including ABB, GE, and Landis Gyr, they report that, in addition to its RF transmitter, each wireless digital meter also has a component called the ‘switching-mode power supply’ (SMPS) – switching power supply for short. Its function is to ‘step down’ the 240v alternating current (AC) coming in from the utility pole power lines to the 2 to 10 volts of direct current (DC) required to run the meter’s digital electronics which record the electricity usage data.

The SMPS function emits sharp spikes of millisecond bursts constantly, 24/7. The SMPS on the OWS 514 NIC model, for instance, which is the smart meter model widely installed by PG&E throughout its territory, has been measured to emit spikes of up to 50,000 hz and higher. This constant pulsing of high frequencies, in addition to the RF function, is causing not only interference with other electric and electronic equipment in many homes with smart meters installed, but also is causing havoc with biological systems in its field of exposure. (see wikipedia and Prevention Magazine articles below)

Dirty Electricity

When current flows through the wiring of a building it generates a surrounding electro-magnetic field that radiates outward all around the wires at right angles to the direction of the current’s flow and reaches out into the room.

It is well known that switching power supplies can generate spikes of so-called electromagnetic interference (EMI), or high frequency transients, which then travel along the wiring in the walls, radiating outward in the wiring’s electromagnetic field.

Such spikes are known as ‘dirty electricity’ and can be conducted to a human body that is within the range of the radiating field. This function is on all smart meters used by all utilities and is on constantly, 24/7.
[For more on dirty electricity check out Dr. Sam Milham’s website and his new book, DIRTY ELECTRICITY: Electrification and the Diseases of Civilization and watch this blog for our in depth interview with Dr. Milham – coming soon. ]

One of the engineers explains it this way:
“Extensive measurements have demonstrated that all of the meters measured so far, including ABB, GE, and Landis Gyr, emit noise on the customer’s electric wiring in the form of high frequency voltage spikes, typically with an amplitude of 2 volts, but a frequency anywhere from 4,000 Hertz, up to 60,000 Hz. The actual frequency of the phenomena is influenced by the devices that are plugged into the customer’s power. Some houses are much worse than others, and this observation has been confirmed by PG&E installers that have talked to us.”

Wikipedia agrees that SMPSs have this drawback:
“Disadvantages include greater complexity, the generation of high-amplitude, high-frequency energy that the low-pass filter must block to avoid electromagnetic interference (EMI), and a ripple voltage at the switching frequency and the harmonic frequencies thereof.
Very low cost SMPSs may couple electrical switching noise back onto the mains power line, causing interference with A/V equipment connected to the same phase. Non-power-factor-corrected SMPSs also cause harmonic distortion.’ ”

Another Fatal Flaw in ‘Smart’ Meters

Our consultants believe that it is this ‘dirty electricity’ generated by the e-meters’ switching power supplies that is a major contributor to the symptoms being reported by growing numbers of people in association with the e-meters thus far installed.

The ‘opt-out-for-a-price’ arrangement put forward by PG&E, in which the wireless meters would, at the ratepayer’s expense, have its RF transmitting function turned off, would still not eliminate the ‘dirty electricity’ flowing into the buildings wiring, and so would not prevent negative health effects in the buildings’s occupants.

This is further reason for the CPUC to declare a moratorium on e-meter deployment, and schedule a fully transparent public hearing on all aspects of the meters’ operation.

From Alexander Binik
Director, DE-Toxics Institute, Fairfax, CA

What follows are a few quotes on this subject from a pair of 2009 Prevention Magazine articles. (I however highly recommend your reading the entire articles, as they are extremely informative.) (You may need to paste these links into your browsers URL field.)

… a particular kind of EMF, a relatively new suspected carcinogen known as high-frequency voltage transients, or “dirty electricity.” Transients are largely by-products of modern energy-efficient electronics and appliances–from computers, refrigerators, and plasma TVs to compact fluorescent lightbulbs and dimmer switches–which tamp down the electricity they use. This manipulation of current creates a wildly fluctuating and potentially dangerous electromagnetic field that not only radiates into the immediate environment but also can back up along home or office wiring all the way to the utility, infecting every energy customer in between…

… “Opposite charges attract, and like charges repel. When a transient is going positive, the negatively charged electrons in your body move toward that positive charge. When the transient flips to negative, the body’s electrons are pushed back. Remember, these positive-negative shifts are occurring many thousands of times per second, so the electrons in your body are oscillating to that tune. Your body becomes charged up
because you’re basically coupled to the transient’s electric field.”…

And, from the second article, at
“A report that cited more than 2,000 studies found that chronic exposure to even low-level radiation (like that from cell phones) can cause a variety of cancers, impair immunity, and contribute to Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, heart disease, and many other ailments.

One likely way: EMFs open the blood-brain barrier, causing blood vessels to leak fluid into the brain and damage neurons. ??What’s more, a less–well known kind of EMF, known as “dirty” or transient electricity, may play an even more damaging role. Transients are largely by-products of modern energy-efficient electronics and appliances—from computers, refrigerators, and plasma TVs to compact fluorescent lightbulbs and dimmer switches—which tamp down the electricity they use.

This manipulation of current creates a wildly fluctuating and potentially dangerous electromagnetic field that essentially charges up the electrons in every cell of your body. Some research suggests that by overlapping the body’s signaling mechanisms, transients may interfere with the secretion of insulin, drown out the call and response of the immune system, and cause other physical havoc.”


Here is a letter recently sent to the CPUC by engineer Rob States:
[ To view a video of a recent presentation by Rob, click here.]

Two engineers have been diligently working on Smart Meter dirty power and RF issues – the combined team possess two MS degrees from MIT, a California P.E. license (Professional Engineer’s License), and a PhD from Stanford in Electrical Engineering, Magna Cum Laude. They have been working on this nearly continuously for the last four months.

The scientific data tells us that 5% of the population will get sick immediately from RF disease, and another 10% will develop the disease over time. This means about 4.5 million people in California are potential victims.

Since individuals with no history of RF disease are experiencing symptoms the first day the meter is installed, we can assume the meter’s RF emissions are not the only problem. The RF network is activated months after initial meter installation.

Extensive measurements have demonstrated that all of the meters measured so far, including ABB, GE, and Landis Gyr, emit noise on the customer’s electric wiring in the form of high frequency voltage spikes, typically with an amplitude of 2 volts, but a frequency any ware from 4,000 Hertz, up to 60,000 Hz. The actual frequency of the phenomena is influenced by the devices that are plugged into the customer’s power. Some houses are much worse than others, and this observation has been confirmed by PG&E installers that have talked to us.

Since 85% of the population is not immediately effected by this phenomena, the knowledge about what is causing symptoms in PG&E’s customers will be slow to evolve. We expect word of mouth to be the primary information source since the media is so disconnected from this phenomena.

The scientific literature has studied microwave illness since the 1930?s when radar operators became ill. Radar equipment emits radiation that is intermittent, and recent scientific papers have increasingly reported that pulsed radiation is significantly worse than continuous radiation. Humans have been exposed to continuous microwave transmissions from radio for decades. Exposure that Smart Meters present to California citizens is new and unlike previous electromagnetic emissions.

PG&E has published none of the functional specifications of the meters now being installed, including their BLOCK DIAGRAMS, SCHEMATICS, or BILL OF MATERIALS. The scientific community has been prevented from identifying any of the design problems prior to their installations.

The decisions by PG&E and the CPUC to conduct NO SAFETY STUDIES has forced them to discover the current problem after the meters have been installed and after significant capital has been invested in this project. Even a rudimentary safety test with 100 randomly selected people would have probably uncovered this problem long before its appearance in PG&E’s customer base.

The fix for preventing dirty power disease in PG&E customers is expensive. Because the dirty power must be stopped in the customer’s LOW IMPEDANCE house wiring, all of the filter components must handle high power, and therefore are expensive. Current estimates put the end customer cost at $500, and that does not include fixing dirty power interactions that Smart Meter causes with devices already in the customer’s home, such as computers, FAX machines, copiers, plasma TV’s, and the like. Merely treating 15% of the California households puts the total liability for after market problems at $2B, approximately equal to the entire cost of the existing program’s roll out.

Though 15% of the population has early and obvious symptoms, a large number of microwave disease related health problems will not surface for some time. As science advances, the links between microwave disease and its sources will only improve, causing ever increasing liability for societal institutions that are responsible for the offending emissions. Though the cell phone industry has purchased immunity from liability through their extensive lobbying efforts, the experience of the tobacco and chemical industries has shown that this immunity can fade as priorities of the general population affects the political process.

Though microwave disease is not directly observed in 85% of the population, the asymptomatic effects (meaning effects that have no apparent symptoms) are well published in the scientific literature, and span a wide variety of lethal and debilitating diseases, including cancers, auto immune diseases, suicide risk, depression, tinnitus (ringing in the ears), and a host of others. Steve Job’s pancreas and liver problems are particularly conspicuous when manifested in a life long vegetarian who was chronically exposed to pulsed microwave emissions from wifi, computer power supplies, and the like. Liability for microwave diseases could explode in the future, as data in the cell phone industry already suggests.

Among the population of affected individuals, there are sure to be attorneys who are experienced in class actions suits, and who clearly recognize a $2B avoidable cost has been imposed on an unwilling public. This type of law suit has been responsible for some of the largest corporate liabilities in our civilization’s history, and has already affected PG&E and the CPUC in the past (i.e. hexavalent chromium in Hinkley CA).

Once the California real estate community becomes aware that 15% of the general population will no longer be able to live, work, or shop in their properties, the potential liability will be in the trillions of dollars, and will effect a population of wealthy individuals who have significant political influence in Sacramento. These entrepreneurs have been particularly skilled at legally punishing institutions that are responsible for declines in their asset values. In fact, the asset base of the retirement trust of California’s state employees is significantly exposed to California’s real estate market.

A reasonable person could conclude that the potential liability PG&E currently faces, both immediately and in the evolving future, could be significantly larger than their asset base. Their long term survival as a corporation could be at risk, and a potential outcome could include the wholesale transfer of their asset base into receivership pending settlement of outstanding liabilities.

Legal liability could force PG&E to approach the CPUC for a doubling of the existing utility rate. This would be a politically untenable request, and could result in the dissolution of the CPUC’s existing regulator authority.

The future for both the CPUC and PG&E is uncertain, and potentially disastrous. A prudent course would be to treat the entire Smart Grid project in California as a major risk, and to aggressively engage in damage control. Since the technology that is actively being dismantled by the CPUC and PG&E has previously demonstrated none of the current risks, an aggressive plan to offer an analog meter opt out is a prudent option. Since so much damage has already been done, there are no guarantees that even this measure will prevail.

PG&E’s current course of relying on PR spin has little chance of stemming the trends that have already been set in motion.

Rob States, M.S., P.E.
Chief Engineer, Wave Dry, LLC.
415-927-2739 Office
415-596-2718 Cell


Links to Fire Evidence

Smart FireWhile smart meter fire risks are discounted by Seattle City Council, they are an important threat and liability, especially to the property owners. Here are references that show significant fire risk and why this happens:

The smart meter, as you know, provides two-way radio frequency communication. This design feature in and of itself could lead to fires. Utilities usually disclaim any responsibility in smart meter fires and have removed forensic evidence such as the burned out, charred smart meter before an insurance company was allowed to examine it. Please see the “Direct Testimony of Norman W. Lambe” below:

  1. Direct Testimony of Norman W. Lambe, NMPRC Case No. 15-00312-UT, dated June 6, 2016. Please read this testimony to further understand the scope of fire problems with smart meters. Mr. Lambe is a Senior Property Claims Examiner at Precision Risk Management, PO Box 628, Cypress, CA 90630. (testimony) . (You can contact Norman Lambe for further information at: Norman Lambe, 
Property Adjuster
 Precision Risk Management, Inc., 
714-228-7900 ext. 1159).
  2. How the Smart Meter ‘Remote Disconnect’ Can Cause FiresAugust 25, 2016, by K.T. Weaver, SkyVision Solutions.

“I have previously stated that “the most dangerous ‘feature’ included in the majority of smart meters deployed today is the remote disconnect option.” [1] [2] At the time, I was primarily referencing the increased risk that the smart meter remote disconnect (RD) poses to the electric grid from a cyber threat perspective. In addition, however, the RD is one of the features of a smart meter (as compared to other types of electric usage meters) that increases the risk of catastrophic meter failures and resulting building fires.

To help illustrate how smart meter RDs can result in fires, this article will highlight the results of forensic investigations by EFI Global, Inc. (EFI) for a failed Sensus brand smart meter reported as involved in a fire in Las Vegas, Nevada in July 2015 [3]. There were actually two separate evaluations of the failed smart meter, first a non-destructive review in July 2015 and a destructive inspection conducted in April 2016.

Here is an excerpt from the forensics report for the non-destructive review: “[It] should be noted that this meter is of the new ‘smart-meter’ variety, which differs from the original electro-mechanical meter that it replaced in at least three significant ways:”

3.a. “Keeping the Customer Safe“:

This report offers some statistics comparing meter fires prior to AMI (smart meter) deployment to what is currently happening after deployment. Tom Lawton from TESCO: “the number of reported fires in the United States has increased dramatically to the point where [Smart] Meter fires have dominated the news locally, nationally and internationally.”

The Issue

  • Hot Sockets are not a new phenomenon. Virtually every meter man has pulled a meter with a portion of the meter base around a blade melted and virtually every utility has been called to assist in the investigation of a fire at a meter box.
  • From 2007 to 2011 the four years before the start of the majority of AMI deployments there were 590 reported fires in the United States that originated in the meter or the meter box. An average of 125 per year and an incidence rate of less than one in a million meters each year.
  • Since that time the number has increased dramatically to the point where [smart] meter fires have dominated the news locally, nationally and internationally at various times over the past three years. – Utilities going through a full AMI deployment are seeing incident rates one and two orders of magnitude greater than normal, leading to a media frenzy and a public focus on the safety of the meter on the side of their house. [Slide 2]

3b. “Hot Socket Issues Causes and Best Practices” (TESCO Research On Hot Sockets, 2014): Analog meters withstand “hot sockets” better than smart meters. “At the start of our laboratory investigation the oldest electro mechanical meters withstood hot sockets the best… The latest vintage solid state meters [smart meters] withstood hot sockets the least.” 

4. Recent news coverage of smart meter fires in Kansas City, MI:

KCMO smart meter fire sparks investigation,” August 29. 2016.  “. . . The company KCP&L uses has had past issues in other places. Despite few problems in the metro, hundreds of thousands of smart meters have been recalled in the last several years across North America. And hundreds of fires have broken out in California, Texas, Florida, Nevada, Illinois and across Canada.” . . . .

The smart meter in this video that caused fires were made by Landis & Gyr – smart meter vendor for Seattle. The video also includes interviews with insurance adjuster Norman Lambe, researcher Brian Thiesen, and professor Curtis Bennett in this 4-minute clip (see below):

–Reporter: “Hundreds of thousands of smart meters have been recalled in the past several years across North America. And hundreds of fires have broken out, including in California, Texas, Florida, Nevada, Illinois, and across Canada.”

–Curtis Bennett (electrician professor): “It really is a very dangerous issue, and it should be treated as a real, unprecedented emergency in your area.”

–Reporter: “California insurance adjuster Norman Lambe currently has seven open smart meter fire claims. Of the dozens of smart meter fires he’s investigated, he says overheating is the major issue.”

–Norman Lambe (insurance adjuster): “Sparking… they are manufacturing too much heat.”

–Brian Thiesen (researcher): “These fires are going to continue to happen because, again, the basic laws of electricity are being violated.”

5. “Smart Meter Fires: Burning Meters, Burning Questions, Shocking Answers Published on Mar 26, 2016. Researcher Brian Thiesen presents shocking and disturbing facts about smart meter fires. The video includes information on Landis & Gyr and coverup on meter fires. Seattle City Light continues to ignore fire hazards and plans to install “smart” meters in 2017 on all homes and businesses.

Seattle City Light claims the fire problem is solved due to a heat sensor (which would not be necessary if not for the flawed design of the smart meter in the first place). They further claim that the property owner, not the utility, is responsible for the meter’s connection to the building, and is therefore liable if there’s a smart meter fire. This is frequently done by other utilities. Please again refer to Norman Lambe’s Direct Testimony at the top of this email.

6. “Stockton Smart Meters Explode after Truck Causes Power Surge” Stockton, California, (March 30, 2015), several hundred meters exploded off the sides of houses simply because a truck hit a utility pole. Several thousand people were without power for over two days.

For More Information on Smart Meter Fire Fatalities & Liability:

 Smart Meter Fires & Explosions

Deaths from Smart Meter Fires

Cities that Have Replaced Thousands of Smart Meters


“Greenwashing is the practice of making an unsubstantiated or misleading claim about the environmental benefits of a product, service, technology or company practice.

Greenwashing can make a company appear to be more environmentally friendly than it really is. It can also be used to differentiate a company’s products or services from its competitors by promising more efficient use of power or by being more cost-effective over time.”

Point for Point rebuttal to Scott Thomsen, Chief AMI Propagandist for Seattle City Light, about greenwashed benefits of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Greenwashed Claims in Bold Green:

  1. Better support for customers with solar panels – solar panels use net-metering to give extra electricity to the Utility. Most customers are net consumers of electricity rather than net producers. From the SCL solar net metering webpage, “These meters will give City Light the ability to read your net and production meters daily. This will benefit customers in meeting the requirements for both net and production metering programs. It will also give you and City Light more data to track exactly what you are using and sending back to the electrical grid. It will also benefit customers and City Light, as in the future, when a customer with an advanced meter decides to add solar, it will be possible to remotely change that meter from a standard billing meter to a net meter.” Daily reads by the Utility are delayed to the customer by at least 24 hours, and any decent, customer owned solar management system will give you immediate data. Requirements for net and production meters are already met by existing analog meters. Net metering is a billing-side adjustment internal to the Utility, not a change to the meter.
  2. SCL is a non-profit that only collects enough money to cover the cost of electricity – However, rates have gone up 5.6% each year to cover the capital costs of deploying “smart” meters and other questionable capital projects. Operations costs for SCL will be going down as a result of “smart” meters/AMI, but rates will continue to increase.
  3. Maintaining lowest electricity rates in the country – yes, but they have shifted the cost of operations to public risk and liability; fire, health, privacy, exploitation by 3rd-party marketers, ecological.
  4. Environmental benefits from less carbon emissions from meter readers driving on the road – From, “Navy’s Blue Angels without noting that the jets from a typical show generate about 300,000 pounds of CO2 into the air.”  That equals 150 tons of CO2. SCL meter readers with current cars only emit 72 tons/year.
    “There is also a downside from a safety perspective for not having the monthly utility visits as outlined in one of my articles:
    A review conducted by the Illinois Commerce Commission (ICC) found a number of problems associated with the Commonwealth Edison smart meter program that could contribute to fire-related situations.  One of the concerns identified in the ICC report is as follows:
    “When and where Illinois utilities have completed their smart meter installation programs, they will have no further need for meter readers.  With the loss of meter readers, monthly utility visits to meters and meter bases will also end.  Meter readers have always provided at least a visual, if superficial, monthly inspection of the exterior of meters and meter bases.  Meter readers are not meter experts or meter technicians, but they may identify unsafe conditions visible from the outside of the meter base, such as obvious signs of an accident and any overheating serious enough to cause discoloring of the outside of the equipment. …  The future absence of meter readers … reduce[s] the number of opportunities for utility employees to observe signs of and evaluate the potential for future meter base overheating.”
    The concern expressed by the ICC is consistent with that of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) where it stated that:
    “As utilities move to two-way communications for meters and remote meter reading, the opportunity for periodic and repetitive visual inspection of meter sockets is expected to decline radically.  The interval between site visits by utility personnel could be as much as 100 times as long as the current monthly opportunity for inspection.”
  5. More “power” in the customers hands – that’s not electrical power, that’s illusive power; the daily reads are delayed by at least 24 hours not real-time. This is not conducive to conservation, and the conservation in SCL territory is already sufficient to concern SCL about lost revenue and declining demand despite increased population.
  6. There is no cost to the customer for installing the new meters – see point 2.
  7. Many of our existing meters are far beyond their expected lifespan and need to be replaced, costs for the utility no matter what type of meter is used. – the existing analog meters have a lifespan of 40+ years versus the digital meters of 5-15 years. Costs of analog meters are cheaper per year than all the supposed benefits of digital meters. (note: SCL will claim that analog meters are no longer being manufactured, but that is an industry created supply problem to promote the less robust digital and thus more profitable, digital meters.)
  8. City Light is installing advanced meters to provide enhanced services for our customers. Daily usage (see point 5) plus …the new meters will automatically report power outages, eliminate instances of estimated bills that are currently used when a meter reader can’t access a meter, and allow for possible future services such as monthly billing, pre-pay and other optional alternative rate structures. – power outages are already automatically reported and most reports happen by phone, and continue by phone in areas that have deployed “smart” meters. Estimated billilling problems are a fabricated issue, the probability is that there will be far more complaints from higher bills from “smart” meters. Monthly billing? people might like that but that has always been possible; it had nothing to do with the meters, just the billing system. Pre-pay, same as monthly, it’s a billing process not a meter process. Alternative rate structures, last but by far not the least, otherwise known as the egregious TOU or Time-Of-Use rates, where the Utility will control when you use your electricity in favor of the wealth class (like toll roads).
  9. Those who still want to opt-out of these compelling benefits can for a small fee – So to get the services we get now for free, we will pay $125 up front and $15+ monthly. The opt-out is only available to 50% or less of the customers. But they gouge us less (by a $1 per month) than other Utilities.
  10. We will protect your privacy – it’s just electricity usage tied to your account number, with an address and name associated with it, duh. That data will go to a 3rd-Party servicer, get massaged and then go to the Utility. This promise of never compromising your data covers the Utility, ONLY, not the 3rd-Party servicer (they see $$$$ and expanding markets).
  11. The meters will be equipped with heat sensors to detect short circuits or other problems that could lead to a fire, a safety feature our existing meters don’t have. – because analog meters do not have a fire risk! The sensor is only needed because of the fragile and cheap design of digital meters in general.

Full text of Scott Thomsen’s greenwashed, propaganda response to concerned citizen:

“Advanced Metering will provide better support for customers with solar panels by allowing them to see how much their panels are producing and how much electricity their homes are using any time they want to check it on-line.

Seattle City Light is a publicly owned utility that operates as a non-profit department of the City of Seattle. We only collect enough money from our customers to cover the cost of electricity and our operations.

Advanced Metering will help City Light hold down its operating costs and continue to provide some of the lowest electricity rates of any large city in the country.

Advanced Meters are the environmentally correct choice. By eliminating the need to send meter readers to every home and business, City Light will avoid 200,000 miles of driving — and the carbon emissions associated with that driving — every year. The meters also will put more power in our customers hands so they will be able to see how much electricity they are using and how much it costs on a daily basis, which could help some customers who want to conserve energy reduce their bills.

The cost of installing the advanced meters is an operational cost for City Light and it is included in our projections for future rates. There is no separate charge for installing a new advanced meter. Many of our existing meters are far beyond their expected lifespan and need to be replaced, costs for the utility no matter what type of meter is used.

City Light is installing advanced meters to provide enhanced services for our customers. In addition to giving customers the ability to see how much electricity they are using and how much it will cost them before they get a bill, the new meters will automatically report power outages, eliminate instances of estimated bills that are currently used when a meter reader can’t access a meter, and allow for possible future services such as monthly billing, pre-pay and other optional alternative rate structures.

Advanced metering will become City Light’s standard service. Customers who decide they do not want an advanced meter will receive a non-communicating digital meter and they will be charged to cover the cost of sending a meter reader to their home. That charge will be made each billing cycle, which is currently every two months. The fee City Light has established is about $1 less than the national average among utilities with opt-out programs.

As for privacy concerns, City Light will only collect the total amount of electricity used by the home. The meters will only transmit a meter number and the total amount of electricity used. This is the information we need to generate a bill and provide the enhanced services for our customers. City Light will never share this information with anyone else.

As for safety, City Light will be installing the first electricity meters to be certified for safety by UL.

Additionally, they will be equipped with heat sensors to detect short circuits or other problems that could lead to a fire, a safety feature our existing meters don’t have.

We have been reaching out to our customers to discuss Advanced Metering for four years, including open houses, strategic planning events and hearings, information on our website, articles in our Light Reading newsletter and now during the public comments period for the opt-out policy. We appreciate the many comments we have already received. We will review them and consider possible changes before the opt-out policy is finalized.

For more information on the program, please visit


— Scott Thomsen”

Here are the TRUTH about what the Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) industry and Utilities in general (and SCL specifically) are not telling the public and public officials.

  1. AMI/“Smart” Meters are revenue meters not a renewable energy grid or Smart Grid (a Smart Grid is a modernized electricity grid that enables renewable energy sharing.)
    1. Public thinks that AMI is the foundation for a “Smart” Grid that enables rooftop solar and other renewable energy, which is not true (see “Getting Smarter About the Smart Grid” white paper and other supporting articles).
  2. Intent is to upgrade revenue meters to automate services and cut union jobs. Larry Weis (the General Manager of SCL) agrees that customer benefits are a greenwash. The AMI decision was made before he joined SCL and though he said there is a business case to replace aging analog meters, AMI does little to help the environment, the customer, or society. The recent request for what would happen if the AMI project is delayed did not address the intent of the question; What breaks? (What doesn’t happen if AMI isn’t deployed?) … Nothing!
  3. The SCL Business Case Analysis focused on Build or Buy options – SCL decided to choose a 3rd Party Hosted Solution (no analysis was done for consumer value, conservation, or environment). So when they, SCL, claims that AMI will enable conservation, they have no data.
    1. Conservation has been very successful in the Puget Sound area. LED lighting, alone, shaves 85% of electricity used for lighting. Electricity demand by residential customers is down and is projected to go down for the foreseeable future, this despite the increase in customers.
  4. SCL claims AMI “Provides added safety features like sensors that can detect increasing temperatures.” Is not a benefit, because it is not needed without AMI; the sensor was added specifically to address the fire hazard issue.
  5. SCL claims that AMI will enable faster outage detection and restoration, however better detection occurs on the grid with Automated Distribution Management Systems (ADMS) with fault detection.