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Smart Meters vs. Advanced Meters vs. Digital Meters vs. Health Killers

Created 9/23/2013 by Kendall Youngblood
Updated 10/14/2013 by Kendall Youngblood
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At the first day of the NWPPA conference, one of the breakout sessions hosted by Joel Myer of Mason County PUD #3 discussed a hot topic:  How you communicate to your customers about the new meters your utility is installing without the negative backlash?
 

Are there other naming options than “smart meters” which now has negative associations? Other options:  Automated Metering, Advanced Meters, Digital Meters, Next Generation Meters, “Mason Meters”

What are some of the concerns we hear from customers? Health (people and livestock), privacy, radiation.

What are things utilities can do to lessen concern or address known concerns early: 

  • Install meters at your staff and board member’s homes first and let everyone know about it
  • Offer added benefits, like apps that allow them to track outages, bill pay or do home energy analysis
  • Target the areas of your service territory that are most likely to object first
  • Customer communication (direct letters, bill inserts, web content, FAQs)
  • Hold public meetings with respected public experts who can give evidence against health/privacy concerns
  • Make a video of someone taking radiation readings of the meters and other common household items to show how low the meter are
  • Be as transparent and authentic as possible
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Comments (2)
Denis DuBois on 09/24/13 on 02:30 PM (Pacific Time)
Thanks for summarizing. What's the logic behind targeting the areas of your service territory that are most likely to object first? It seems like public backlash is contagious.
Kendall Youngblood on 10/14/13 on 11:16 AM (Pacific Time)
Good question Denis. I asked the utility representative who made this comment to chime in, but I haven't heard back from him yet. My sense, was that he felt if you can take care of those who are going to complain the loudest first, then the rest will be easy...

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Sector: Residential
Function: Marketing, Emerging Technology
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