Jim Parker, general manager of the Jefferson County PUD, shows off the new digital meters that will replace the outdated mechanical models used by most PUD customers. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Jim Parker, general manager of the Jefferson County PUD, shows off the new digital meters that will replace the outdated mechanical models used by most PUD customers. (Cydney McFarland/Peninsula Daily News)

Jefferson PUD plans to replace old power meters throughout county

PORT HADLOCK — Jefferson County Public Utility District commissioners have approved a proposal that will replace all of the mechanical meters currently used by its customers with new, more accurate digital meters at no cost to consumers.

According to PUD General Manager Jim Parker, the PUD hopes to start implementing the new electricity meters by the end of 2017.

However, it will take roughly four years to replace all 16,000 meters used by residents and businesses in Jefferson County.

The proposal is part of the PUD’s ongoing effort to upgrade the electrical infrastructure in Jefferson County, Parker said in an interview Monday.

Currently, most of the meters used in Jefferson County are mechanical, making them less accurate and more prone to breaking.

Parker said the new meters will allow for a more accurate reading and will cut costs for repairs and meter readings.

“We will be replacing approximately 16,000 older mechanical electric meters that use a radio transmitter with modern solid state electric meters with improved communication technology,” said Parker in a PUD press release.

“We inherited our current metering system when we took over from PSE [Puget Sound Energy], but given the age of the meters and the cost of individual replacement, it makes sense to replace the entire system.”

According to Parker, the replacement will come at no cost to PUD customers.

“It is anticipated that within five years of their replacement, the PUD will have recouped all of its costs as a result of more accurate readings, less expensive meter replacement costs and reduced meter reading expenses,” Parker said.

An estimate of how much it will cost the PUD to replace the meters was not available Monday as the PUD still has to determine an exact number of meters that need to be replaced and establish a cost from there.

The PUD inherited the old meters from Puget Sound Energy during its 2013 purchase of the electrical infrastructure. However, Parker estimated that the old meters are anywhere from 10 to 30 years old.

“I’m not sure exactly how old they are,” Parker said. “I don’t even think they make mechanical meters anymore.”

While the digital meters are less prone to breaking, they will also cut meter reading costs for the PUD by allowing meters to be read remotely from the PUD offices.

The meters will also be able to notify the PUD when customers have no power, allowing PUD employees to more quickly and easily identify and fix power outages.

“Replacing these meters will save the PUD money and will allow us to offer our customers better service,” Parker said in the press release.

The proposal was approved at the PUD commissioners’ meeting last Tuesday, and the PUD is expected to reach out to customers about the changes in the next month.


Jefferson County Editor/Reporter Cydney McFarland can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 55052, or at cmcfarland@peninsuladailynews.com.

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