The switch to two-way digital meters in Chelan County is nearly done

by Rachel Hansen | Apr 02, 2024

Installers have replaced all but 551 of the 51,259 electric meters in Chelan County with advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), staff reported to commissioners Monday. (Board audio recording starts at 06:14)

The two-way digital meters use encrypted, wireless communication to send energy use information directly to Chelan PUD. About 73% of residential electric meters in the nation are advanced meters, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

“AMI is foundational to a lot of improvements, especially with reliability and outage response,” said John Stoll, managing director of customer utilities. “It’s like switching from a landline to a smart phone. We’re excited to offer the benefit of AMI to our customers.”

The benefits include:

  • Faster outage notification: Advanced meters automatically alert Chelan PUD when a customer’s power goes out, which means faster response. Before AMI, the utility relied on customer reports before sending crews or respond.
  • Future technology: Advanced metering lays the foundation for more customer self-service tools, such as account pre-payment, high-use alerts, and outage notifications by customer preference, including text, email or phone call.
  • More accurate billing: The new advanced meters replaced aging meters and several manual processes, which will help ensure that meters are read correctly year-round.

The $15 million installation of advanced meters began about a year ago. Crews replaced about 1,000 meters a week. The change has been in the works since 2017.

As of April, about 256 customers have opted out. Starting June 1, customers who choose not to have an advanced meter will be charged a $25 monthly fee to help cover the cost of manual meter readings.

Starting in late February, Chelan PUD hosted three virtual meetings and four in-person, drop-in sessions to answer questions about AMI. About 68 customers attended the outreach meetings, and several more contacted the PUD separately.

“Much of the information these customers have are from the internet, Google, or an experience from another utility that’s doing different things with AMI,” said Andy Wendell, director of customer service and stakeholder outreach. “It was great for us to communicate how we plan to use system, what we plan to achieve from it, and how it specifically functions.”

The PUD is planning to host more opportunities to meet with customers later this spring. For more information, visit

Media contacts

Rachel Hansen: (509) 661-4320
Libby Siebens: (509) 661-8291

Outages or Emergencies

Visit our Safety and Outage Center for information, or to report an outage, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, call 1-877-PUD-8123.


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