Keeping your analog meter

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People Who Protest Can Keep Analog Meters

  1. Fill out Opt-Out Application.
  2. Attach or include the analog meter demand letter (Letter Template edited as appropriate for you).
  3. Cc as many people in power as possible such as Seattle City Council members, key Seattle City Light staff, local city councils (i.e. Shoreline, Normandy Park, Lake Forest Park, …), and the Seattle City Attorney.
  4. Call Seattle City Light until you are definitely  added to the exemption list that indicates you want to retain your analog meter; this list is managed by Kelly Enright (Customer Care Director for AMI Deployment).
  5. Continue to call and email  until you have it in writing in an email or on paper.

 

There have been numerous successes to date of people keeping their analog meter and a few where the Landis+Gyr opt-out meter was removed and an analog meter returned to the property owner. You just need to be persistent. They are reluctant to agreeing with a real opt-out to their AMI program. They are not making it easy. People who rent need to work with the owners of their property. Condos and apartments are almost entirely excluded from opting out; the policy states there must be 4 units or less to qualify and everyone has to agree. We have one customer who is a renter at a 10 unit apartment complex that got all the agreements and a letter from the owner, they got a verbal agreement to allow them to opt-out, that was later reneged on by Seattle City Light. They are still fighting.


Opt-Out

Applications are available here. We recommend:

  1. Do not include personal health information in the reasons field, simply state “health concerns”; other reasons stated simply could be: violation of 4th Amendment, fire risks, privacy risks, cyber security threats to power grid, or just personal reasons.
  2. Send it via certified mail.
  3. Email a PDF copy to people in power.
  4. Note: some people are crossing out the application sentence that refers to the Opt-Out meter and writing in an Analog Meter.  Some people have added to the Reason for Opt-Out section of the Opt-Out application that they want to retain their analog meter or will accept a refurbished analog meter if necessary.

Letter Template


 

Key Seattle City Light Staff

Seattle City Council Members (* means they are on the Environment & Energy Committee)

Fax: 206-684-8587, ATTN: Seattle City Council Members

Other Useful People

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Seattle City Light Territory

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The AMI meter deployment began in Wallingford on August 1, 2017 and will proceed north on the west side of I-5 to Shoreline then turn south for the east side of I-5 to Tukwilla then proceed northward until the deployment is completed by December 30, 2018.

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Why to keep your Analog Meter

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SCL Revenue Shortfall & AMI Deployment Cost Overruns

Recently, Seattle City Light has been under scrutiny from the Seattle City Council (SCC) for issues related to revenue shortfalls for the past 5 years and cost overruns of the AMI Deployment project. These issues are related. For SCL, the AMI Deployment is about dramatically cutting operational costs to offset the decreasing revenue trend, which is expected to continue. SCL customers have already seen increased rates over the last several years to primarily enable the AMI and the Denny substation projects. None of the operational savings that SCL will create will be passed on to the customer; on the contrary they are now looking into how to restructure their billing to counter the decreasing retail electricity demand and still maintain revenue. We will be watching this discussion closely.

ACLU Against Seattle’s AMI Deployment

ACLU sent a letter to Seattle City Council on May 26, 2017 over privacy concerns. ACLU is demanding stronger privacy safeguards around the data collection and third-party access to that data. They are also concerned that SCL customers have not been adequately informed about the AMI deployment to enable their actual consent and that the Opt-Out Policy is meaningless and expensive. Read the details here.

Opt-Out and Demand Analog Option

Michigan has introduced a bill, HB 4220, that would allow citizens to opt-out of the state’s AMI program and retain their analog meters. Hearings have been held and several state Senators and Representatives have testified on the lack of value from the “smart” meter deployment and the significant risk to safety and security; Michigan State Senator Patrick Colbeck is one of the proponents of this bill, here is his testimony.

The AMI project in Seattle does not provide any benefit to the customer either, only detriment, in higher rates and greater risk. The only way that SCC or SCL will change their direction is if enough constituents and customers stand up and speak out. SCL has offered an opt-out from the new microwave emitting “standard” meters, but that does not adequately protect the customers or community. The opt-out will mean that a customer will get a non-transmitting (non-microwave) new “standard” meter. Though the non-transmitting meter is better than the transmitting one, it does not alleviate the increased costs nor the bulk of risks associated with a digital meter. The ONLY solution is to demand the option to have an analog meter.

  • Larry Weis, General Manager at SCL, said he would make analog meters available for people who opt-out in a meeting with SUMA-NW on April 4, 2016. He was going to hang on to the ones that were still good.  SCL is now saying that they cannot provide analog meters. The meter industry has killed the analog market to secure the demand for inferior digital meters that need to be replaced more frequently.  “Analog meters are no longer available,” is a contrived story. Austin Power in Austin, TX, where Mr. Weis was the former CEO, has an analog meter opt-out policy as do other places in the US.  Austin Power uses refurbished analog meters from Hialeah Meter Company in Florida to satisfy the opt-out policy.  They are equal or better than new. SCL’s claim that digital meters are more accurate than analog meters is also a myth.
  • The payment burden for deploying the AMI system is born by the customers and opt-out customers will pay twice, rates have already increased, electricity bills will increase, and they will pay an opt-out fee and an additional per billing cycle charge. See Michigan Representative Gary Glenn testimony.
  • The following table shows the comparison of digital meters to analog meters. All meters will be digital from now on unless the public speaks up. The AMI meter will be an RF transmission meter and the Opt-Out will be a plain digital meter without RF transmission.
Digital Meters Analog Meters
Electricity usage is calculated (not measured) and probably time averaged, which will cause usage to be higher see Engineer William Bathgate’s explanation.* Electromechanical measurement as accurate as digital meters.**
Weather conditions like temperature and humidity can affect accuracy. Not susceptible to weather conditions.
Use electricity to operate thereby increasing electricity usage that costs you more. Does not use electricity.
Meter readers are replaced with 24/7 AMI IT staff Implementing self-reading program will save on meter readers.***
Does not reduce overall CO2. Zero impact on environment.
Increased fire hazard, especially with RF transmission. Not known to cause fires.
Transmitting meters pose cyber security threat. (Cynthia Ayers is a national security threat analyst testifies for the Michigan House Committee.) Do not pose a cyber security threat.
Are hackable. Not hackable.
Creates privacy breach through the collection of granular electricity usage data that can reveal intimate details about what is going on inside a person’s home that thrid-party entities have access to. No data collection.
Subject to catastrophic failures, such as power surges, lightning strike. Not subject to catastrophic failures.
Creates electromagnetic interference (EMI) which places a destructive burden on appliances (refrigerator) and electronics (computer) on a circuit. Not compliant to FCC rules for “conducted” emissions (EMI/RFI) class A or B. No EMI.
Life span of 5-15 years, AMI 5-9 years, non-transmitting digital can last 15 years Last for over 40 years.
Remote disconnect and outage detection features have been benched (for transmission meters only) because of project cost overruns. The default will be the same as for analog meters. The remote disconnect, if and when implemented will increase the fire hazard. Outage detection by phone (still the primary method in AMI areas) and disconnects done manually. Outage detection at substations are currently effective and sufficient.

*This report specifically addresses the specific meters to be deployed in the SCL area, and thoroughly explains Accuracy, EMI/RFI, and Security/Privacy issues.

**Both meters comply to the same standards, ANSI C12, therefore meet same specifications for accuracy.

***If meter readers are too costly, then implement a self-reading program as is done in most rural areas for those who prefer an analog meter.

The AMI meter is the Landis & Gyr FOCUS RXR-SD, the Opt-Out meter is the L&G FOCUS AXR. Ideally, an Analog meter would be an option. For further clarification of the different meters and their electromagnetic profiles click here.

Meter Model EMR/Microwave /RF EMI/RFI – Electric Fields from Interference
FOCUS RXR-SD YES YES
FOCUS AXR NO YES
Analog NO NO
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