In a move related to its switch to monthly bills, Snohomish County PUD will make a transition to reading electrical meters every month. Since September 2015, as part of a cost-saving plan the utility has read meters once every two months and estimated customers’ energy usage the alternating months.
“While bill estimates have worked for most of our customers, we understand that for some of our customers estimated bills have created hardships,” said PUD CEO/General Manager Craig Collar. “We’ve heard them and are responding with more frequent meter readings. As a customer-owned, public utility, we want to be responsive to the needs of our customers and work to provide resources that help them.”
The change to monthly meter reading will require hiring or contracting for additional meter readers, securing additional equipment and vehicles and updating the utility’s meter reading and billing systems. The change is a top priority. However, it will require time and resources to put into place. It is expected to be completed in fall 2016.
During the transition to monthly reading, the utility remains committed to addressing any customer’s billing issue individually. Any billing errors identified will be fixed and appropriate credits applied. The utility also will work with every customer struggling to pay a high bill. There are numerous options, including payment arrangements and a range of assistance programs.
Even after the switch to monthly meter reading, as in the past there will be situations in which an estimated bill is required. All utilities have times that they estimate bills for customers – including weather that limits access to meters, dogs that prevent entry to a yard or a locked gate.
While monthly meter reads provide more frequent billing information for customers, customers with electrically heated homes in the Northwest will still experience higher winter bills compared to milder summer and fall months. PUD conservation programs can help keep bills in check, with incentives and discounts on home weatherization, heat pumps, efficient lighting and more.
For more information about the transition to monthly meter readings, customers can click here or call PUD Customer Service at 425-783-1000.