Smart Meters FAQs
It’s a meter that communicates using digital technology – similar to your smartphone. Smart meters allow for two-way communication between your meter and Avista. The meters record your energy use information, which is then safely and securely sent to our computer data center. We use the data from smart meters to generate bills, to run a more reliable and efficient power grid, and to deliver a higher level of service to our customers.
Smart meter technology allows you to better monitor and manage your energy usage. With the same type of access to your billing and usage information that you currently have with your bank or credit card company, you’ll know how much energy you use – and what it costs – so you can make simple changes that can save you money on your energy bill. Instead of only receiving a monthly bill, you’ll have access to daily – and even hourly – usage information.
The Edison Foundation Institute for Electric Innovation states that approximately 76 million smart meters have currently been deployed in the United States, which means that about 60 percent of U.S. households now have them. By 2020, smart meter deployment is expected to reach 90 million in the U.S. In fact, analog meters are no longer being manufactured.
Most Avista residential and commercial customers in Washington State. If we provide your electric service, you’ll receive a new smart electric meter; if we provide your natural gas service, you’ll receive a smart module on your existing gas meter.
The meters will be installed either by Avista personnel or by our installation partner, Wellington Energy. Please be aware that all of our installers will be carrying proper identification. If the installer cannot show you an identification card, or if you have a concern about that person’s identity, please call Wellington Energy at 1-866-671-1001.
The majority of installations will occur Monday – Friday during business hours, though there may be cases when evening or weekend installations are necessary.
You'll receive at least two notices by mail – several months before and then a few weeks prior to your installation – letting you know when we’ll be in your area. Visit myavista.com/smartmeters to view a map outlining our deployment plan and timeline.
No. On the scheduled date of installation, just be sure that your existing electricity and/or natural gas meter is free from obstructions, all pets are secure, and access to your property is safe and clear. This will ensure the meter can be changed and/or the gas module upgraded. Depending on your situation, it may require more than one visit to finish the job. You will receive a door hanger notice to confirm a successful exchange.
If the technician cannot access your meter or complete the work, a door hanger will be left requesting that you call to schedule an appointment for installation. We’d appreciate it if you called as soon as possible to schedule your appointment so we can return while we’re still in your area.
For homes, there may be a brief interruption of electric service for a few minutes as the meter is being installed. We apologize for any inconvenience the brief outage or a potential power surge may cause.
For businesses, your power might be interrupted during installation. When we arrive onsite, we’ll assess your situation. If we can install your new meter without interrupting service, we’ll take care of it then. If it requires a power outage, we’ll work with you to schedule a time that’s least disruptive to your business.
Meters and modules are part of the grid infrastructure – much like power poles and transformers – and are therefore owned by Avista.
If you operate life-support medical equipment at your home or business, please call us at 1-800-227-9187 to let us know if you have special needs or circumstances that require you to have advanced notice of the meter exchange.
Please call our installation partner Wellington Energy toll-free at 1-866-671-1001.
You'll need a MyAvista account to view your energy usage data from your smart meter. If you don't have a MyAvista account, please register for one. The registration process is simple and takes only a few minutes. Just be sure to have your account number available.
After the meter has been installed, the functionality of the meter will be implemented over time - meaning, we are gathering your energy usage information and will also evaluate and certify the accuracy prior to using the information for billing. As a result, you may still see Avista employees reading your meter after your smart meter has been installed.
You will be able to view your trending, daily, and hourly energy usage data once your smart meter has been validated. This process usually takes several weeks after your meter is installed. We'll communicate directly with you to let you know when your meter has been validated.
Yes. There may be times when communication between the meter and Avista could be interrupted. When communication is re-established, however, your usage information will be recaptured, reconciled, and viewable on myavista.com. You will pay only for the energy you use.
Smart meter technology creates the foundation for many possibilities in the utility of the future.
While some utilities across the country have implemented time-of-use options for customers after deploying smart meters, this consumer benefit may not be practical for Avista, since our region already benefits from relatively low electricity prices that remain fairly consistent regardless of time of day.
We need to fully deploy smart meters to all of our customers before we can evaluate how to integrate additional benefits that would be most valuable to our customers.
Yes. Your privacy is important to Avista. We maintain strict confidentiality and privacy policies and use state-of-the-art technology to safeguard your information. All meters, communication, and information management systems are subject to the same security standards that have kept the energy grid safe for years. The energy usage information coming from our meters is encrypted, and the meters do not collect, store, or transmit personally identifiable information. Learn more about privacy and security.
Yes, but those radio frequency emissions are well below the RF levels produced by other common household devices like mobile phones, baby monitors, microwaves, and TV systems – and are a small fraction of the limits set by the Federal Communications Commission, the agency that enforces the safety limits of RF emissions. Learn more about radio frequency emissions.
If you have concerns about the new smart meters, you may choose to have a non-communicating, non-smart meter installed at your home instead. There will, however, be an additional monthly fee to cover some of the cost of manually reading any residential non-smart meter. Please call our customer service team at 1-800-227-9187 for details. Learn more about opt out.
Smart meter opt out
Today, more than half of all U.S. households now have smart meters – and Avista’s Washington customers are the latest to receive this technology. Still, we respect your individual right to choose.
- Itron: Consumer Resource Center with information on RF, Accuracy and Safety
- Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative:
- Federal Communications Commission: Radio Frequency Safety
- Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI):
- Department of Energy: Smart Meters and a Smart Grid
- Washington State Legislature: Washington Administrative Code on accuracy requirements for electric meters