Snohomish County Public Utility District No. 1

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Customer Service (M-F 8a-5:30p): 425-783-1000

Meter Reading During COVID-19

UPDATED 5/27/20:

Meter Reading Resumes in June

The safety of our employees and customers is our number one priority. As we start the path to a new normal, PUD meter readers will begin a gradual return to service in June. Meter readers will follow newly developed safety protocols and strict social-distancing policies aligned with state and local guidelines. As meter readers resume their duties, residential and commercial customers will transition away from estimated billing.

PLEASE NOTE: PUD meter readers welcome a friendly wave and hello from customers at a distance, but please respect social distancing guidelines and do not approach a meter reader if you are home when one visits. This is for their safety and for yours. Ensuring your meter is easy to reach and easy to read will also help to limit a meter reader’s time and contact with your property. Thank you for helping us put safety first!

How will I know if my next bill is based on an actual read or an estimate?

On your bill, look for the “Important Messages” box. It will indicate whether all or a portion of your bill was based on an estimate. If your bill does not indicate it was based on an estimate, it means your bill is based on an actual read.

Why does my bill seem higher/lower than normal?

When we are unable to read meters, we estimate your energy use based on previously known meter information. Once your meter can be read again, the following bill accounts for any variance in our prior estimate. This means if your actual energy use during the previous billing cycle was higher than we estimated, it is added to your next bill. Likewise, if your energy use was lower, it is subtracted from your next bill.

On average, residential customers may notice a 5-10% increase in their bill based on more energy used at home during COVID-19. However, many small businesses may see a lower energy bill to account for their reduced hours and services during this time.

My bill is higher than I expected. Can the PUD help?

Yes, we can! Many residential customers have changed their household energy usage patterns in recent weeks and are using more electricity than typical for this time of year. This can include the extended use of lights, televisions, appliances, computers, and electric heating or air conditioning.

We realize this may place a financial hardship on you and your family, and we have resources to help. Our Customer Service Representatives will proactively call customers who may be about to receive a disproportionately high energy bill. They will be able to review the bill and your usage, offer extended flexible payment plans and review our expanded qualifications for bill discounts. The PUD will not ask for payment details, such as your credit card or bank information.

Any customer needing help with their PUD bill can contact Customer Service at 425-783-1000 (M-F, 8a to 5:30p).

I received another estimated bill and think it is inaccurate. What can I do?

Because our return to meter reading is gradual, some customers may still receive an estimated bill. If you receive an estimated bill and are concerned it is too high or too low, there are several options.

  • Customers may pay the amount billed for the previous month if they believe it more accurately reflects their recent usage.
  • Customers may call 425-783-1000 and ask to join the PUD’s Budget Payment Plan, which averages a customer’s monthly payments into a steady, predictable payment.
  • Customers may send the PUD a photo of their meter (see tips below on correct photos to submit). If necessary, the PUD will adjust the bill to reflect the information shown on the meter. Click the link below to be taken to the Meter Reading Site.

The PUD has also temporarily suspended late fees and power disconnections during the outbreak.

Sending a photo of your meter:

  • ELECTRIC METERS: Find your electric meter (see sample photos below). Most are connected to the home on the side or front and look like the meters pictured below. Solar customers have special photo requirements (see below). Take a clear photo of the front of your meter. Make sure the dials or digital display are clear and the meter number is visible.
  • WATER METERS: We need two photos of your water meter (see sample photos below). Most water meters are located in the front yard close to the sidewalk/street, usually by the property line. One photo needs to be of the meter lid that has a clear image of your meter number. The other photo needs to be with the lid opened that includes a clear image of the meter read number.
  • Click on the button above to acccess the Meter Reading site and submit your photo(s).

*When Accessing your Water Meter, Safety First!
We don’t encourage customers to take a photo due to safety concerns. But if you would like to do so, please:

  • Make sure there is adequate lighting
  • Make sure the ground and meter are free from debris
  • Consider wearing gloves and use a knee rest or knee protectors
  • Use proper lifting techniques: using your legs and not your back when lifting the lid
  • Understand that some water meter lids are too heavy and this task should be done by utility crews only
Digital Meter Analog Meter
Digital Meter Analog Meter

Solar Customer Photos

Most solar customers have 2 meters (Production & Net) to photograph. No matter the number of meters, solar customers need to take 2 photos of each meter. The display will cycle through different displays. Please photograph both the “01” and “02” displays of each meter. See samples below.

Production Meter Display 01 Sample:
Solar Production Meter Display 01
Production Meter Display 02 Sample:
Solar Production Meter Display 02

Net Meter Display 01 Sample:
Solar Net Meter Display 01

Net Meter Display 02 Sample:
Solar Net Meter Display 01

Water Customer Photos

Water Meter Lid Closed (Meter Number)
Water Meter Lid Open (Meter Reading)