SEATTLE – Seattle City Light customers started receiving some of the early benefits of Advanced Metering today after computer programming was completed to enable the utility’s billing system to receive electricity use data directly.
Connecting Advanced Metering data to City Light’s billing system eliminates several manual processes that create the potential for errors. It also enables customer service representatives to provide customers with current account balances, eliminates estimated bills that are created when a meter can’t be read and speeds the process for transferring or closing an account.
“Improving service for our customers while increasing our efficiency is one of the key reasons we are upgrading to Advanced Metering,” Customer Service Director Kelly Enright said. “Today is just the start. As we move forward, we will continue to put more power in our customers’ hands to better manage their bills and make informed choices about their energy use.”
City Light has installed about 200,000 advanced meters and expects to upgrade the remaining meters in its service territory by the end of the year.
As additional computer systems are connected to Advanced Metering data, the program will support automated power outage reporting and an online portal that will allow customers to check their energy usage and costs whenever they want.
Additionally, the transition to Advanced Metering will eliminate about 200,000 miles of driving and 72 tons of carbon emissions.
Over the next 15 years, Advanced Metering is expected to pay for the cost of the program and save City Light’s customer-owners about $30 million.
You can learn more about the program at www.seattle.gov/light/meters .
Business customers rated Seattle City Light highest in customer satisfaction among western region midsize electric utilities in the J.D. Power 2016 calendar-year study released today.
“Providing excellent customer service in the delivery of reliable, low-cost, environmentally responsible electricity is what we strive for every day,” Seattle City Light General Manager and CEO Larry Weis said. “I’m proud of our employees for the effort they consistently bring to make that goal a reality for our customers.”
City Light’s score in the survey increased 44 points over the previous year, with improvement in every category of the survey. Throughout the past year, J.D. Power asked business customers to rate their satisfaction with utilities related to power quality and reliability; corporate citizenship; price; billing and payment; communications; and customer service.
City Light received a score of 782 in the survey, which was 27 points higher than the national average. Following City Light among western midsize utilities were Idaho Power, and then a tie between NorthWestern Energy and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.
We believe City Light’s efforts to increase safety, its environmental initiatives and their familiarity with energy efficiency programs among the reasons for their satisfaction.
Safety was a focus area for City Light in 2016. The utility is a national leader in environmental stewardship and energy conservation. In 2005, it became the first utility in the country to fully offset all its greenhouse gas emissions and has maintained its carbon neutral status ever since. City Light has supported energy efficiency and conservation programs since 1977, helping its customers to use less electricity and save money.
City Light is the 10th largest public electric utility in the United States. It has some of the lowest cost customer rates of any urban utility, providing reliable, renewable and environmentally responsible power to about 750,000 Seattle area residents.