System Upgrade Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Last Modified: July 9, 2018
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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?
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 existing meters don’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.
Residential customers can expect to receive a new meter (or meters, if you currently have more than one) as meter exchanges continue over the next 12 months. During the exchange, we will replace existing meters with new meters that are compatible with our new, developing grid management system. No fee is charged to upgrade your meter(s).
EPUD has partnered with National Metering for this project. Whether it is an EPUD employee or a National Metering technician who installs your meter, all representatives drive EPUD marked vehicles and carry EPUD identification.
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 National Metering at (541) 284-1375 and leave a message. They will return your call within two business days 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.