Advanced Metering Basics

What is advanced metering?

Advanced metering describes a new system of smart technologies and advanced meters that adds computer and communications technology to the existing electricity grid so it can operate more efficiently and reliably. For example, your local delivery company will be able to immediately pinpoint a power outage without having to be called by a customer.

What is a “smart meter”?

Advanced meters (also known as "smart meters") are replacing the old meters most customers have today, which are based on 50-year-old technology. The new digital meters communicate with the smart grid, provide remote readings and help give consumers insight into how and when they’re using energy.

What are the expected benefits of Smart Meters?

Advanced meter systems offer many benefits to electric consumers.

Smart Meter Features include:

  • Your meter is read without a meter reader having to come to your home
  • Your meter can be re-read much faster should you have questions
  • The new meters record electricity use in 15-minute intervals instead of once a month like the old meters, providing customers more choice and control over your electric usage and expenses
  • Smart Meters provide instant power outage notice to the poles & wires companies and support more reliable and efficient electric delivery to your home
  • Since in-person meter readings are no longer required, the number of vehicles on the road will be reduced which reduces pollution and traffic
  • Eventually, you will have access to detailed readings of your electricity use and corresponding price
  • As meters are installed and enabled, less time is needed to process service orders, such as starting or stopping service

In the future, the meters will be able to communicate with programmable devices (like your air conditioner or dishwasher) through a Home Area Network (HAN) module to monitor and control electricity consumption.

Are the new smart meters accurate?

One of the primary benefits of smart meters is to provide more accurate and reliable meter readings through the use of digital technology. The new meters have been tested for accuracy by the poles & wires companies and have been proven just as reliable, if not more so, as the old meters.

Who is installing advanced or smart meters?

Smart meters are installed by the local poles & wires companies who deliver electricity to homes and businesses. In Texas, smart meters have already been installed throughout the Oncor and Centerpoint service territories and are expected to be fully deployed in the AEP territories by the end of 2014.

When will I get my new meter?

Smart meters have been already been installed throughout most of Texas. Oncor and CenterPoint deployed advanced meters to all customers in their service territories by 2012. AEP completed its smart meter deployment in 2013. TNMP began a five-year phased rollout of smart meters starting in 2011.

Elsewhere, smart meters are in various stages of deployment1:

  • Pennsylvania: PPL has installed advanced metering infrastructure, PECO Energy Company expects to have smart meters fully deployed by the end of 2014 and FirstEnergy Corporation will begin full deployment in 2017 following a pilot that started in late 2013
  • New York: ConEdison piloted a smart grid program in Queens but is not expected to expand it
  • Illinois: ComEd completed a pilot with 130,000 meters and is expected to complete full deployment by 2021
  • Maryland: BGE is expected to fully deploy smart meters by the end of 2014

1 Source: www.edisonfoundation.net/iee/.../iee_smartmeterrollouts_0512.pdf

What will be different with my new advanced meter?

The new meter looks a little different, with a small screen and digital readout rather than dials. Additionally, smart meters can be read remotely and more frequently than analog meters. Instead of being measured manually by a person once a month, your energy usage will be measured remotely every 15 minutes.

What is Green Mountain’s role in installing the new meters?

Green Mountain has no role in the installation of meters. This is an initiative of the utility in your area as approved by the state regulatory body.

Texas Utility (TDSP) Advanced Metering Charges

What is the “TDSP Advanced Meter Pass-Through” charge? What is this money going toward?

In accordance with advanced meter implementation plans and orders approved by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), the TDSPs are permitted to recover the costs of deploying the advanced meter system by assessing an advanced meter system surcharge to all customers in their service territory. This surcharge is billed to Green Mountain as your retail electric provider, and we are passing the charge through to our customers without mark-up.

How much is the TDSP Advanced Meter Pass-Through Charge?

  • Oncor: $2.21/month
  • CenterPoint: $3.05/month
  • AEP--TCC: $2.26
  • AEP-TNC: $2.35
  • TNMP: $3.40

Why do I have to pay this charge?

In accordance with the advanced meter implementation plans and orders approved by the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT), the TDSPs are permitted to recover the costs of deploying the advanced meter system by assessing an advanced meter system surcharge to all customers in their service territory. This surcharge is billed to Green Mountain as your retail electric provider, and we are passing the charge through to our customers without mark-up. The cost for these new meters is actually expected to be minimal compared to the estimated savings that may be achieved by reducing demand and more efficient operation of the power system.

I’m on a fixed rate. Why am I being charged this additional fee?

As described in the Electricity Facts Label and Terms of Service for your Green Mountain Energy® electricity service, the price for the Reliable Rate product is subject to change to account for any increased costs that result from a change in law, including changes in TDSP charges. The TDSP advance meter surcharges were implemented as approved by the Public Utility Commission of Texas, and the price has been adjusted to pass these additional costs on to our customers without mark-up.

How long do I have to pay this charge?

The PUCT approved the fee to continue for 11 years for Oncor and AEP (both TCC and TNC) customers and for 12 years for CenterPoint and TNMP customers.

Does everyone have to pay this charge?

The TDSP advance meter charge is being assessed to all customers in the Oncor, CenterPoint, AEP and TNMP service territories.

Are other service providers passing this charge to their customers?

We cannot comment on how all of the other Retail Electric Providers are choosing to handle the advanced meter surcharge. We do know that some of the larger providers are passing these charges through, and we expect that these charges will be passed-through or reflected in the prices for all retail electric providers, because the charges will be assessed to all providers.

Is this charge pro-rated based on days of meter read cycle?

Yes.