Advanced Meters

We have had a series of informational meetings across Chelan County during the month of April and the discussion has been excellent. During these conversations, some questions and concerns have centered around radio frequency (RF) and electro-magnetic fields (EMF) and the potential these energy fields have to cause cancer or other health impacts. One section of our website is dedicated to this discussion, but more importantly, here is some very specific information from the American Cancer Society.

In part, the Cancer Society says:  It would be nearly impossible to conduct a study to prove or disprove a link between living in a house with smart meters and cancer because people have so many sources of exposure to RF and the level of exposure from this source is so small. Because, the amount of RF radiation you could be exposed to from a smart meter is much less than what you could be exposed to from a cell phone, it is very unlikely that living in a house with a smart meter increases risk of cancer. The World Health Organization has promised to conduct a formal assessment of the risks from RF exposure but this report is not yet available.

Another concern we heard was the potential for smart meters to interfere with pacemakers, here is what the Cancer Society website went on to say: One concern expressed is that the RF waves produced by smart meters might interfere with electronic medical devices such as a heart pacemaker. A study that examined the effect of smart meters on pacemakers and implantable defibrillators found that the smart meters did not interfere with these devices.

We want to hear from you and hope you will take the time to let us know your questions or concerns. Email us and let us know what you are thinking.

Replacing electric meters with advanced, two-way digital meters allows for the timely collection of energy use data that will help you make energy-saving decisions.

We are committed to providing our customer-owners with industry-leading service and reliability. We want to give you the tools to manage your own energy use, as well as being notified about outages or upcoming system repairs – all through technology. 

We are researching advanced meters and talking with our customer-owners about the new digital meters. Our goal is to upgrade your meter and provide you with your own self-service “dashboard” capability to manage your account, just as you do with many of your other online accounts.

Advanced Metering Basics

Advanced, two-way digital metering, also known as Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) or sometimes called “smart meters,” is a safe and proven technology that is widely used across the US. More than 500 utilities across the nation are already using this technology, with 50 million advanced meters installed in 43 percent of American households (Institute for Electric Innovation, 2014).

AMI is a building block for a more efficient electric system, often called the smart grid. It will provide many benefits to customers and greatly improve operational efficiencies. The meters will:

  • Empower customers to make energy-saving choices
  • Improve customer service and outage response
  • Reduce environmental impact
How Does Advanced Metering Work?

Advanced, two-way digital meters will connect homes and businesses to the PUD and will collect customer meter reads automatically. This means that:

  • Advanced digital meters record customer energy-use information throughout the day, just as today’s meters do.
  • Customer energy-use information is sent several times a day to us, using radio frequency (RF) waves. This is similar to the wireless communications used by cell phones and WiFi. The meters will transmit data for a maximum of 90 seconds per day.
  • Once it’s within our secure firewall, the information will be matched up with customer accounts for billing and other customer service activities.
Fast Facts
  • Similar to your existing electric meter, the new digital meter is installed on the outside of your home or business.
  • Actual data transmission using RF occurs in milliseconds or less than one minute per day.
  • Many of your existing appliances and mobile devices, such as microwaves and cell phones, transmit far higher RF levels and often are much closer to you than a digital meter.

Comparing Advanced Metering To Current Meters

Transitioning to advanced meters is a bit like upgrading to a smart phone from a land line phone—both technologies work, but the smart phone provides a better user experience and allows customers to stay even more connected to what matters to them.

Current meters

  • Are manually read by meter readers every month, creating opportunities for billing errors and estimations.
  • Require meter readers to drive more than 200,000 miles annually to record customer data. This creates vehicle fuel costs and produces pollution from vehicle trips.
  • Cannot alert the utility to power outages (Chelan PUD currently relies on customer phone calls to know when the power is out).
  • Do not have built-in safety features.


Advanced meters

  • Uses secure wireless communications to send energy-use information directly to us.
  • Enables customers to view their energy-use information daily. This can empower you to make energy- and money- saving choices.
  • Alerts us to power outages, enabling a faster outage response.
  • Creates more reliable customer billing. Advanced Metering reduces several manual processes, helping to ensure meters are read correctly and customers are billed accurately every time.
  • Provides added safety features like sensors that can detect increasing temperatures.