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Smart meters to be discussed meeting

By Sandy Artzberger
Special to The SUN

On Tuesday, July 8, the Archuleta County Republican Women (ACRW) will hear a presentation about smart meters by Ron Meier, the manager of engineering for La Plata Electric Association, and Dan Harms, systems engineer and project lead for meter deployment at the association.

Coming home from vacation in May this year we found a notice from LPEA that a smart meter had been installed, replacing our analog meter. We shouldn’t have been surprised because the LPEA has published in their newsletter, as far back as August 2011, articles about the smart meter. The August 2011, June 2012, and June 2014 articles can be read at: http://www.lpea.coop/company_info/watts_up.html.

Smart meters for electric, gas, and oil consumption recording are part of our technological revolution. They replace the analog meter that has to be read by a technician.

Quoting from LPEA’S August 2011 article about Smart Meters, known as Advance Metering Infrastructure (AMI): “(S)mart meters are digital electronic meters that work the same way as traditional meters except they have built-in, secure, two-way communications. Smart meters will allow LPEA to gather information from the meter more frequently. In fact, smart meters can be read multiple times each day and typically provide members with hourly or even 15-minute interval readings. So, instead of receiving a bill at the end of the month and wondering what happened, you will have the ability to drill down into your usage history day-by-day, and then hour-by-hour before the bill is even sent.” This can be a real cost saving to the consumer, encouraging people to modify usage.

However, on the Internet there are a multitude of concerns expressed about smart meters related to privacy issues, potential health hazards, fire/explosive potential, etc. The ACRW’s July speakers will address these issues and help us sort out fact from fiction.

The June 2014 edition of WATTS UP magazine specifically addresses these and other issues, as does LPEA’s website, http://www.lpea.coop/services/metering.html. Both are worth reading.

Come to the ACRW meeting on July 8 at Nello’s from noon to 1:30 p.m. to further your knowledge in order to make informed decisions. Lunch is $10, to be chosen from three items.

All are welcome. For further information call 731-6336.

This story was posted on July 3, 2014.