The Washington Utilities & Transportation Commission has issued a formal policy statement guiding Washington’s investor-owned electric and natural gas utilities in the roll out of advanced metering technologies--or “smart meters"--for residential customers.

It directed the state’s major electric utilities to offer residential customers the ability to opt out of advanced meter installation and also stated its preference that companies allow opt-out customers to retain their existing meters, rather than requiring an immediate switch from analog to digital, non-communicative meters.

The commission concluded that requiring an affirmative opt-in policy would likely result in slow and non-continuous acceptance of AMI within a company’s service territory and may serve to effectively eliminate a company’s ability to pursue effective grid modernization strategies. Investor-owned utilities regulated by the Washington Utilities & Transportation Commission (Commission)--Avista Utilities (Avista), Pacific Power & Light (Pacific Power), Puget Sound Energy (PSE), Northwest Natural Gas and Cascade Natural Gas--plan to begin deploying advanced metering infrastructure in Washington state as early as August 2018. 

-Re Inquiry into Customer Choice for Advanced Meter Installation, Docket U-180117, April 10, 2018 (Wash.U.T.C.).

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