Smart meters North America: Water meters, opt-out and AMI

smart metering Canada
Canadian utility Greater Vernon Water plans to replace its existing water meters with smart metering systems by 2022

In Canada, the North Okanagan Regional District in British Columbia is set to begin a multi-year programme to replace existing domestic, industrial and commercial water metering systems.

Commenting on the development to local press, Zee Marcolin, general manager of utility Greater Vernon Water, said that with the deployment of 4,000 new encoders over the next two years, with 20,000 set for installation through to 2022, the utility will reduce water consumption costs to its consumers.

About 2,000 water meters will be replaced during this period, Metering & Smart Energy International has learnt.

The general manager said the updated technology will reduce the need for the utility’s workers to enter properties to get meter readings as the new encoder-receiver-transmitter will allow water staff to collect data using low frequency radio waves.

Marcolin added that the utility is covering the cost of replacing the current system, which includes the water meters being read with touchpad technology on the outside of buildings.

The software upgrade of the metering system has allowed Greater Vernon Water to stretch the project to its domestic customers after rollout of the meters to consumers in farming, reported Vernon News.

Smart meters opt-out

The state of Michigan has proposed a new bill protecting consumers who wish to opt out of smart meter programmes

Greater Vernon has said it will impose a manual reading fee to customers who will opt out of the new system.

The news follows the introduction of a bi-partisan bill in the US state of Michigan that would let homeowners choose whether they want an advanced smart meter – or whether they want to opt out of the programme.

The bill was introduced by Gary Glenn, a representative of the US State of Michigan who also serves on the National Conference of State Legislatures’ 2015-2016 Natural Resources and Infrastructure Committee.

According to local media WXYZ Detroit, the legislation would restrict utility companies from penalising consumers who opt out of electric smart meters installation programmes.

The bill allows utilities to charge not more than US$5 a month to consumers who would have rejected the advanced metering programmes.

Mr Glenn said that the smart meter initiatives are raising cybersecurity concerns and as such consumers should be able to decide to limit their data sharing.

Currently DTE and Consumers Energy can charge US$10 a month for those who want to opt-out, reported WXYZ Detroit.

Smart meters Indiana

In other smart metering news, the Washington Municipal Utilities (WMU) in Indiana has this week completed its advanced metering infrastructure installation project, which was started in 2010.

According to The Washington Times Herald, WMU has saved about US$4.5 million by replacing 12,700 electric and water meters with smart meters.

The new meters use radio frequency technology to collect usage data.