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Pacific Power is bringing more efficient and effective smart meters to residential and business customers in Central Oregon, replacing thousands of aging electric meters throughout the spring and summer.
About 76,000 new meters will be installed in Bend, Culver, Madras, Metolius, Powell Butte, Prineville, Redmond, Terrebonne and Warm Springs. The installations are set to begin the week of April 29 and will continue through early fall. The project is part of a statewide rollout of 590,000 smart meters which began in January 2018 in Independence, Oregon. To date, meter upgrades have been made for approximately two-thirds of customers.
“We’re installing smart meters here locally as part of an upgrade for the homes and businesses we serve,” said Matt Chancellor, Pacific Power’s regional business manager for Central Oregon. “The meters offer customers greater insight into their energy usage and help promote energy savings — a benefit that supports the City of Bend and the surrounding area in helping to meet energy goals for the future.”
The new smart meters will:
- Instantly track outages, meaning faster service response and shorter outages overall.
- Let customers view their power usage hour-by-hour, so they can adjust their activity to reduce both their carbon footprint and bill.
- Provide businesses with detailed usage reporting which will help them cut costs and make investments in items that help their businesses grow.
- Update the grid to work more efficiently and better integrate renewable power sources.
Nationwide, more than 70 million smart meters are installed at homes and businesses, which includes half of all households in the U.S. Smart meters are a key component to updating the energy grid originally built for technology from 100 years ago. They also help Pacific Power hold down operating costs, improve customer service and reliability while maintaining the highest standards of security and customer privacy.
“This upgrade brings the future of reliable and efficient power to our region and to our state,” said Chancellor. “We are connecting communities throughout Oregon, improving the way we power our customers’ lives both at home and at work.”
Access to daily energy usage information will be available to customers via a secure website. The near real-time energy usage information will let customers better understand what is driving their electric bills and help them make decisions that can save energy and money. This capability will come about six weeks after a new meter is installed.
Here’s what customers can expect during the installation process:
- Customers will be notified before installation through the mail and will receive detailed information about the new smart meters. Reminder calls will be made to customers as their scheduled installation date approaches.
- Pacific Power’s authorized installer, Aclara, will arrive between 7 a.m. and 7 p.m. to make installations. Installers will drive vehicles and carry badges that identify them as an authorized contractor of Pacific Power. Unless an electric meter is inside, they will not need to enter customer homes or businesses. There is no charge for the installation or the meter.
- During the installation, Pacific Power technicians will remove the old meter, install the new meter, restore service and verify the new meter is working properly. This process will require a brief power outage (less than five minutes). The technicians will leave a door hanger to let customers know they were there, and successfully installed the new smart meter.
- Pacific Power will manually read the newly installed smart meters for at least one month to confirm everything is working correctly. After confirmation activities are complete in the area, meter reading will happen remotely.
- Approximately six weeks following the installation when all area installs are complete, customers can sign in to their Pacific Power account to access the newly available usage data. Customers can sign up for their web account here.
If customers have any concerns, have not received the proper series of notices or have any reason to think a notification is not legitimate, customers should hang up and call Pacific Power’s customer service at 1-800-221-7070 immediately to verify whether they are scheduled for an installation.