Glendale city council votes on smart meter opt-out option

Glendale, Calif., March 8, 2012 — Glendale Water & Power yesterday presented the city council with three smart grid program opt-out options. The city council unanimously voted on charging customers a fee of $59 per billing period for having electric and water smart meters with the radios turned off.

The opt-out fee pays for meter readers to manually read the meters rather than using GWP's wireless meter-reading system.

GWP stressed the importance of having digital meters with radios turned off as opposed to analog meters in order to have access to interval data to meet energy objectives. Less than one half of one percent of customers in Glendale have requested to opt-out.

According to GWP's General Manager, Glenn Steiger, "Analog meter is not the proper way to go. GWP needs the interval data, which is critical to our system and our operations. Opt-outs put holes in the system. Having the radio off inside the smart meter still maintains the integrity of the data." GWP officials suggested that all opt-out customers will still have a smart meter installed and the radio inside the meter will be turned off. Only opt-out customers will have to pay a monthly fee for meter reading and this cost will not be spread out to the entire city.

The opt-out program is only available to residential customers and GWP must have unimpeded access to the meter. Customers that opt-out of the smart water meters will not be eligible to participate in GWP's Water Leak Assistance Program, and GWP will not be able to detect any water leaks on their property that a customer is unaware of.

A total of 120,000 smart meters have been installed throughout Glendale. GWP is already receiving data from the meters and is going to launch a web portal soon so that customers can access their usage data and make informed choices about their energy and water usage. GWP's next step is to show the benefits of this technology to its residents through an interactive digital frame that GWP is currently piloting.

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