- James Yamasaki
- SMART METERS They’re coming to Seattle, and some people are terrified.
It all seems pretty straightforward: Seattle City Light is planning an upgrade of the city's electric meters, those little gray boxes on the sides of buildings that measure your electricity consumption. It's exciting, says the utility, because new, more advanced meters will give more accurate readings, increase the speed with which the utility responds to outages, and maybe even give customers the ability to monitor their power usage in real time, so consumers can more closely manage their own energy conservation in greeny-green Seattle.
The advanced meters will also transmit data to the power utility wirelessly, instead of requiring workers to drive around in trucks and tromp through your backyard to read your meter. Utilities across the globe have begun installing these advanced meters, or "smart meters," in recent years, from British Columbia to Australia to California.
Yet everywhere smart meters go, including Seattle, it seems they meet with concerted—and, sorry to be rude, but often totally bonkers—opposition.
"This may be the most important decision you ever make," a woman pleaded in the Seattle City Council chambers, at a recent meeting where the council was discussing City Light's strategic plan for the next few years.