Logistics

How do I know if I have a smart meter?

If your electricity meter has been replaced since January 2009 with a digital meter, it is likely a smart meter. Smart meters have a white face, with an LCD display, short for liquid crystal display, which is similar to the display used in digital watches and many portable computers and televisions. If you still have a meter reader visiting your house to take regular readings then you don’t yet have a smart meter. Another way is to check is that sometimes, depending on your utility, your monthly utility bill will have a statement in the "Notes" section indicating that your hom… >>

Can I purchase and install or remove my own meter?

No, it is illegal and unsafe to do so. Other than some limited exceptions the utility owns and maintains the metering equipment. This includes electric and gas meters used for measurement and billing, and other equipment such as transformers on the ground or on a pole.  Removing or tampering with the property creates a safety issue, which may result in termination of service, and is considered a crime. If done improperly it can result in serious injury or death. Licensed electricians must contact utilities when work requires a meter to be removed, reset… >>

Will the communications system interfere with equipment in my home or business?

Smart meters run on two frequencies. The frequency communicating to the electric meter is 900 MHz (megahertz). If the premise also has a gas meter, the frequency from the electric meter to the gas meter is 2.4 GHz (gigahertz).

The electric meter frequency is similar to a cell phone and the gas meter frequency is similar to a computer router. Neither device will interfere with any wireless devices in the home and it is highly unlikely that the relatively weak fields produced the meter would interfere with the operation of a medical device.

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How is the smart meter information transmitted?

When data is collected from a meter and transmitted wirelessly to the utility, the data contains specific unique identifiers associated with the customers meter number and service address.

These fields are validated numerous times to ensure accuracy before the data is used for billing. This process is similar to the cell phone technology where each cell phone has a unique number that goes with every communication which is used to identify a cell tower and connect your call to the correct location

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Will meter readers still need to visit my property?

Field readings will continue only until readings from the new meters are validated as accurate and being processed correctly. Once the meters are fully operational, a meter reader will not need to access your property every month to read your meter.

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Will meters readers lose their jobs once smart meters are installed?

Traditional meter readers, who will no longer be required to “make their rounds” to personally read meters, will have the opportunity to be re-trained for other jobs within utilities. Some roles for former meter readers would include network technician assistants, call center representatives and utility assistants (such as tree trimmers).

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What happens to the old meters?

The old meters are recycled.  Any newer, electronic meters utilities replace (such as solid state meters and OMR – offsite meter read – meters) are refurbished, tested and recycled back into the meter population until smart meters are installed in the area in which they are recycled. The older, electromechanical (dial) meters that are replaced are dismantled and all their components – such as aluminum, copper, glass et cetera – recycled.

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Is the appearance of a smart meter any different from that of my old analog meter?

While very similar to the existing electric meters, there is one big difference in the appearance of the new smart electric meter: an easy-to-read digital display instead of the spinning wheel or dial that many customers have today.  For those customers, this will be the only obvious difference between the appearance of the old and the new meter. 

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