Question #2

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Q&A

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.

How is my personal usage information kept private and secure?

Answered by various utilities, security is a top priority for utilities:

AEP Ohio: The privacy, protection and disclosure of personal information are important to AEP Ohio. Cyber security is essential to the success of any smart grid project. AEP Ohio intends to advance the cyber security of the smart grid by establishing a dedicated cyber security operations center in Columbus. Cyber security is a familiar concept to the utility industry. They have extensive experience maintaining security on the information systems needed to operate the electrical grid. Installing advanced meters adds a new component to their system, but the meters, communications and information management will be subject to the same Department of Energy security standards that keep the grid secure.

SDG&E: The Information Technology (IT) security controls SDG&E have in place for smart meters reflect energy industry best practices. They are designed to provide a very high level of assurance that our systems cannot be compromised. SDG&E considers security a top priority. SDG&E takes all reasonable and necessary steps to ensure the services they provide their customers are not only high quality and easily available, but also extremely secure. In addition, they constantly monitor for evolving threats and attempts to breach security and progressively update their system protection as needed.  They also regularly review, test and practice incident response processes.

SCE: Security protocols for Edison SmartConnect are adapted from the banking and defense sectors in order to ensure the highest levels of security and privacy. All information transmitted between meters and the utility is encrypted using U.S. government-approved and recommended standards, and we work with federal and state agencies to stay ahead of cyber threats.

Will smart meters increase my energy bill?

Smart meters are tested for accuracy and their primary function is measuring power usage. Similar to your old meter, smart meters will measure the energy that is used by residents of your home. The meter itself cannot and will not increase your bills. Your bills could actually be lower because smart meters and smart grid technology will provide you with personalized information and tools to decrease your energy usage. Old analog meters can stick or run ‘slow’ resulting in inaccurate bills. In cases like this, the smart meter will now provide an accurate reading of your energy usage.

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