Avista and Itron start $165 million smart-meter rollout in Spokane

Source: Becky Kramer, Spokesman-Review, February 28

Vikkie and Al Naccarato’s historic Millwood home has character, charm and a hefty heating bill.

During the winter, the couple pays several hundred dollars monthly to heat the 1923 house, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

“It doesn’t have the energy efficiency of today’s homes,” Vikkie Naccarato said. “We’ve added insulation, but we don’t want to get rid of the original windows, which are single-paned.”

On Wednesday, Avista installed a smart meter at the house, which will help the couple track their energy use in almost real-time. The installation is part of $165 million smart-meter rollout across Avista’s Washington service territory.

More than 400,000-plus electric and gas customers will get the meters. The rollout starts Friday in Spokane and will wrap up in late 2020 in the Colville area.

With a smart meter, the Naccaratos can sign up for alerts when their energy use hits predetermined thresholds. The alerts also will predict what their monthly bill will be.

Vikkie Naccarato already logs onto Avista’s online portal to look at the household’s energy use. “Most homes in Spokane are older, so everyone cares about their bill,” she said.

Avista’s current system allows her to see the past month’s usage, but not daily consumption. The couple will use the information to decide when to close off rooms and pull out the electric blankets.

Naccarato also likes knowing that when her power is out, the smart meter will alert Avista.

“You won’t come home after a long day, find out that your power is out, and have to call it in,” Naccarato said.

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