Whitman County Gazette - Serving Whitman County since 1877


By Madysen McLain
Gazette Reporter 

Avista installs smart meters for customers in county


May 30, 2019

Whitman County residents should expect to hear from Avista about installing a new smart meter in their home.

Paul Kimmell, Avista Palouse regional manager, said smart meters are an advanced metering technology. They provide more information to Avista and the customers.

Kimmell said installation of smart meters started in Spokane, and crews are now working in Zone 7, which includes Spangle, St. John, Endicott and all the way down past Pullman.

Customers can see instantaneously how much power they are using that day, he said.

Smart meters transmit the data they collect about energy consumption wirelessly to a router on a nearby power pole. Then, the router sends the data to Avista through cellular signal.

In a report to the Colfax City Council May 20, Kimmell said one third of Colfax already has smart meters installed.

Half of the electricity meters in the U.S. are smart; there are about 150 million of them, according to the website.

Pullman implemented smart grids several years ago before it was wide-spread, he added.

Kimmell said Avista is now behind other utilities that installed smart meters as long as 15 years ago, while Avista waited to see how the technology worked in Pullman.

“We are not the first to do this, but we are paying attention to new science and technology,” Kimmell said.

He pointed out some of the benefits from the technology is a more personalized service, better response time to power outages and more renewable energy.

“Technology is driving this project,” Kimmell added.


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