Proving the Business Case for the Internet of Things

Pacific Power deploys smart meters in eastern Oregon

Steve Rogerson
May 7, 2019



Utility Pacific Power is bringing more efficient and effective smart meters to residential and business customers in eastern Oregon, replacing thousands of aging electric meters throughout the spring and summer.
 
About 22,000 new meters will be installed in Adams, Arlington, Athena, Boardman, Echo, Enterprise, Helix, Hermiston, Imnaha, Joseph, Lostine, Milton Freewater, Pendleton, Pilot Rock, Rieth, Stanfield, Umatilla, Wallow and Weston.
 
The installations are set to begin next week and will continue until August. The project is part of a statewide rollout of 590,000 smart meters that began in January 2018 in Independence, Oregon.
 
“We’re installing smart meters here in eastern Oregon as part of an upgrade for the homes and businesses we serve,” said Lori Wyman, Pacific Power’s regional business manager for eastern Oregon. “Nearly two-thirds of our customers in Oregon are already enjoying the benefits of a smart meter, and we look forward to bringing this technology to our community.”
 
The new smart meters will:

  • Instantly track outages, meaning faster service response and shorter outages overall;
  • Let users 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 that will help them cut costs and make investments in items that help their businesses grow; and
  • 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 USA. 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 standards of security and customer privacy.
 
“This upgrade brings the future of reliable and efficient power to our region and to our state,” said Wyman. “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 users via a secure web site. The near real-time energy usage information will help users 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.
 
Users will be notified before installation through the mail and will receive detailed information about the new smart meters. Reminder calls will be made as scheduled installation dates approach.
 
Pacific Power’s authorised installer, Aclara, will carry out the installations. Installers will drive vehicles and carry badges that identify them as an authorised contractor of Pacific Power. Unless an electric meter is inside, they will not need to enter homes or businesses. There is no charge for the installation or the meter.
 
During the installation, 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 of 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, users will be able to sign in to their Pacific Power account to access the newly available usage data.