What are the benefits of digital electric meters?
What are the environmental benefits of these digital electric meters?
For OUC, the digital electric meters provide detailed information without the need for an on-site visit by a traditional meter reader for monthly billing. Additionally, in many cases, the meters can be outfitted with a remote switch capable, allowing the utility to remotely disconnect and reconnect power after payment or move-in, preventing the need for an on-site visit by an OUC technician. The meters also provide additional visibility for OUC into outage and voltage information at the location.
For the customer, the digital electric meters provide detailed usage data can that can be accessed online by the account holder after registering for a myOUC account. Additionally, in cases where the meter is compatible with a remote switch feature, reconnection of electric service after payment typically occurs much faster than it would have been had an OUC field technician been required to drive to the location and perform the reconnection manually.
Lastly, these meters enable OUC to offer the Power Pass (prepaid) program, that includes several unique benefits to both the utility and customer. Click here to learn more about Power Pass.
How do I read the digital electric meter?
The primary environmental benefit from digital electric meters is reduced emissions from OUC vehicles that will no longer make regular visits for monthly meter reading. Additionally, many digital electric meters are also outfitted with a remote switch, allowing OUC to remotely disconnect and reconnect power for that specific location, preventing the need for additional field visits and further reduction of emissions. Lastly, many studies show that customers who are able to access their digital electric meter usage data online have more awareness of their usage patterns and are more empowered to decrease their overall energy usage.
Are the digital electric meters safe?
A digital electric meter measures electricity usage in kilowatt-hours (kWH). The display on the digital meter shows the current kilowatt-hour reading in the same way that a car’s odometer records current mileage.
Usage information is one of several screens the smart meter cycles through. Wait for the display to read “Tot KW h” on the right side of the display screen. Read the display from left to right for the usage in kilowatt hours (kWh). With the exception of Solar Photovoltaic (PV) customers, the display with a negative (-) value should be ignored. The (-) display shows the energy a customer has delivered to OUC. All other displays on the screen are related to the operation of the meter and connection to the communication network for meter technicians’ use.
To determine your energy (kWh) usage over a period of time, take an initial meter reading. At a later time, take a second reading. Subtract the first reading from the second reading to determine how much electricity you have used during that time.
Using the meter shown below as an example, the initial meter reading is 113 kWh. Looking at the meter at a later time for a second reading, the meter reads 29,611 kWh. Subtracting the later reading of 29,611 kWh, from the initial reading of 113 kWh means 29,498 kWh (29,611 kWh-113 kWh = 29,498 kWh) was used during that period of time.
What should I consider if I want to ‘opt out’ of having a digital electric meter?
The digital meters that OUC installs meet all Federal Communications Commission (FCC) guidelines and safety standards. OUC utilizes a low power “mesh network” where the meters act as repeaters passing the data to other nearby meters until it makes it to a main collector. The meters emit only a ¼-watt signal for just 1.5 seconds every four hours, which is significantly less than the radio frequency emitted by cell phones. Digital meters send information about electricity use to utilities by RF signals. The exposure from digital or smart meters is much lower than other common sources for two reasons (see image below): 1) infrequent signal transmission, and 2) distance from the source.
For more information and research on smart meters, please visit the links below:
California Council on Science and Technology:
Health Impacts of Radio Frequency from Smart Meters
Electric Research Power Institute:
EPRI Radio-Frequency Exposure Levels from Smart Meters: A Case Study of One Model
If after understanding all of the benefits and regulations surrounding digital electric meters you still feel that it’s not right for you, please consider the following requirements for opting out:
- Payment of a one-time, non-refundable opt-out enrollment fee is required
- A monthly manual meter reading fee will be assessed on the monthly billing statement
- Opt-out requests can only be processed for the meter(s) associated with the account holder’s location (i.e. customer may not request an opt-out for a neighbor’s meter not on their own account)
- Opt-Out requests will be processed so long as:
- a non-standard analog electric meter is available for installation,
- the technology is supported by OUC and
- the requesting customer has not been found by OUC to have engaged in meter tampering or theft
Authorized persons on the respective OUC account may contact Customer Service at 407-423-9018 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.