System Upgrade & Your Meter – FAQs
Last Modified: February 11, 2019
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What is a smart meter?
What are the benefits of having smart meters?
How are smart meters different than existing meters?
Who will install my meter?
When will I get my new meter?
Do I need to be home during the exchange?
Will power go out during the exchange?
Will I be charged a fee for the new meter?
How often do smart meters transmit data?
How do I opt out?
A smart meter is a digital meter that records energy consumption and communicates the information back to the utility for billing. Smart meters are used in more than 71 million homes and businesses throughout the United States and are an essential component of a modern power grid.
The meters communicate by sending encrypted electricity usage data via radio frequency (RF) signals. This technology is common. Many everyday products use RF communication, including cell phones, laptop computers, microwave ovens, and baby monitors. But unlike cell phones, computers and baby monitors, smart meters use RF communication only when sending usage data, transmitting in short bursts.
Initially, the estimate was for EPUD’s new meters to transmit data up to 1.25 hours per day. However, our experience with installed meters has been far less. The total transmission time or “time on” per 24-hour period typically ranges from 1.2 seconds to two minutes.
Smart meters are consistent with EPUD’s mission to provide reliable power while keeping the cost of service affordable. Here are a few of the benefits smart meters offer that we think you’ll like:
With smart meters, EPUD will be notified instantly if your power goes out – a feature that is not possible with existing meters. The outage alerts will shorten our response times and help us to restore your power faster.
Smart meters provide more choice and convenience. As new systems are developed, we’ll be able to offer more flexibility in how and when you pay your bills, allowing you to tailor your account to fit your budget and lifestyle.
CUSTOMER ACCOUNT TOOLS
Reliable access to your daily and seasonal electricity usage makes it easy to identify ways to save. And in the near future, you can sign up to receive alerts about the money-saving programs and rebates that interest you.
Smart meters offer important customer benefits that the previous meters didn’t. Take a look at the chart below to see how they compare:
- Energy Usage
Currently, about 80–85 percent of customers can see their daily usage online, although it is often delayed. The new meters will report usage frequently and reliably, allowing customers to view their usage online hourly, and even receive usage alerts to help avoid high bills.
- Outage Notifications
EPUD’s existing meters do not have the capability to send outage alerts. The new meters will notify staff automatically and instantly when power goes out, ensuring that crews are dispatched quickly, without waiting for customers to report the outage.
- Waive Deposits
New customers are often required to pay a deposit when opening a new account. The new meters are built to work with prepayment programs. Soon, new customers who enroll in the prepayment program will be able to avoid paying a steep deposit.
- Account Flexibility
With the new meters, EPUD will be able to offer more flexibility in how and when you pay your bills, allowing you to tailor your account to fit your budget and lifestyle.
Most residential customers have already received a new meter (or meters, if you have more than one). During the exchange, we replaced the existing meters with new meters that are compatible with our new, developing grid management system. No fee was charged to upgrade your meter(s).
When the project began, EPUD partnered with National Metering on residential meter installations; however, all remaining meter exchanges will be performed by EPUD employees. All installation representatives drive EPUD marked vehicles and carry EPUD identification.
If you are a residential customer, chances are you’ve already received a new meter. Prior to the exchange, you will receive a post card to let you know the meter replacement will happen within the next 30 days. On the day of the exchange, the technician will attempt to contact you by knocking on the door so you will know the exchange is in progress.
No. You do not need to be at home for the meter exchange; however, the meter technician must have safe, clear access to the meter. If a pet, locked gate, or other issue prevents access, call EPUD at (541) 746-1583 and leave a message. We will return your call within one business day to schedule an appointment.
Yes. In order to safely remove and replace your existing meter(s), your power will be turned off momentarily. In most cases, it will be off for just a few minutes.
No. There are no additional fees to customers for upgrading to smart meters.
Most residential meters will transmit data once hourly. The total transmission time or “time on” per 24-hour period typically ranges from 1.2 seconds to two minutes.
EPUD’s revised Customer Service Policy includes information on the newly added Advanced Metering Opt Out updates. This revision became effective on January 1, 2019, after being approved by EPUD Board of Directors.
- To opt out from receiving a smart meter, you must meet the following criteria:
- Any account(s) you wish to opt out must not have been disconnected for non-payment at any time in the past 12 months;
- Account(s) must be on a residential rate schedule;
- District employees must have access to manually read the meter each month.
- Additionally, you must agree to the following:
- Account balance(s) must be kept current;
- Customers who opt out will not have access to EPUD’s advanced metering technology, usage data for affected account(s), or programs made available by this technology;
- A monthly meter reading charge will be assessed.
- An Opt Out form will need to be signed and returned to EPUD.
- This form must be signed by the account holder.
- As approved by EPUD’s Board of Directors, the monthly fee to read the meter will be $12.50 per opted out account.
- This fee will will appear on your monthly billing statement and will be reviewed annually with our rates.
- If a meter change is required, a one-time charge of $95.00 per meter will apply.
- If the meter has not yet been upgraded to the new technology, you will not be required to pay this amount.
To read the Opt Out Policy, please CLICK HERE for EPUD’s 2019 Customer Service Policy. If you have any questions about the Opt Out Policy or its requirements, please contact our office at 541-746-1583.