Find answers to your questions about smart meters

Why is SRP installing smart meters?

With smart meters, SRP is able to provide more timely and detailed information to customers on their electricity consumption, enabling them to use electricity more wisely and to better manage their electric bill.

How can I tell if I have a smart meter?

The easiest way is to look at the "Notes" section of your monthly bill. You will see a statement indicating that your home is equipped with a smart meter.

How are the new meters different from the old meters?

Smart meters have two-way radio communication with SRP, allowing us to read them remotely, to start and stop power remotely, and to change price plans remotely without having to change the meter. The new meters electronically capture and store your energy-usage data using digital technology. SRP then shares the information with you through online tools, giving you better control over your energy usage. By improving the flow of information from the meter to SRP, and from SRP to the customer, smart meters are paving the way for more efficient use of electricity.

Who makes your smart meters?

SRP's smart meters are manufactured by Elster Group, L&G and AMPY meters.

How long has SRP been using smart meters?

SRP installed its first Elster smart meters in 2003. The Elster smart meters have consistently proven to be highly accurate and reliable.

What are the possible health effects of radio-frequency emissions from smart meters?

Some people have asked about the potential health effects from exposure to the radio frequency emitted by smart meters.

Smart meters transmit relatively weak radio signals similar to those used by cell phones, baby monitors and laptop computers with wireless Internet connections. Radio waves from a smart meter, at a distance of 10 feet, are only about one one-thousandth (.001) as much as a typical cell phone. Smart meters are outside the customer's house, separated by the home's walls. In addition, a typical smart meter transmits signals for only about 45 seconds daily. It would take a homeowner more than 1,000 years to get as much exposure to radio waves as a typical cell-phone user gets in just one month.

Smart meter radio-frequency levels are the focus of a case study in February 2011 by the Electric Power Research Institute. EPRI is an independent, non-profit organization that performs research, development and demonstration in the electricity sector for the benefit of the public.

Finally, the radio frequency of the wireless smart meters used by SRP is well within the limits set by the Federal Communications Commission.

SRP does respond to customers who have additional questions about the use of a digital meter in their home — providing information when requested and a field visit by an SRP representative with measuring equipment, if necessary.

What if I do not want a smart meter installed at my location?

Smart meters provide a number of benefits to customers including online, daily usage views and electronic text or email notifications which better enable customers to manage their usage and electricity costs. If, however, you wish to have an alternative meter installed at your location, you can choose the SRP M-Power® prepay program. M-Power does not require a smart meter.

If M-Power will not work for you, residential customers can choose our Basic Plan alternative option. With this option, SRP will install a standard meter which is manually read. This will require an additional monthly charge of $20, plus tax, which helps recover the cost of processing and manually reading the meter. While many programs are available to Basic Plan customers, some programs are not supported with the limited technology of a standard meter. SRP customers who choose this option will be enrolled in the Standard Residential price plan. Time-of-Day price plans, Renewable and Buyback riders, and Custom Due Date are not available.

Benefits

What are the advantages of smart meters?

There are many advantages. Smart meters provide additional information to help customers track and better manage their homes' energy consumption. For example, with a smart meter you can monitor your daily usage online at My Account and make consumption changes early in a bill cycle to better manage the amount of your electric bill. You also can elect to receive e-mails and text messages with weekly estimates of your monthly electric bill, to help you plan and budget.

Power can be remotely started and stopped to support timely completion of customer service orders for turn-ons and turnoffs. Field meter reading is no longer required. By reducing labor and transportation costs, SRP is able to keep its prices lower. Traffic and vehicle emissions are also reduced in our community.

Do smart meters provide real-time usage information?

Smart meters record usage in real time; however, SRP reads the meter once a day and post the reads and usage to My Account™ once a day. Currently, there is not an interface that can attach to the smart meter to allow customers to track their real-time usage.

Is there an interface that customers can attach to their smart meter so they can track real-time usage on their personal computer?

Customers may view their daily energy usage on the Web. Within two years, we expect to provide usage information in hourly intervals. SRP does not support in-home displays or meter-to-PC connections at this time.

Do the new meters help the environment?

Yes, since meter readers will no longer need to read every meter each month, that will reduce pollution, fuel consumption and traffic. Additionally, the information you will be able to access can help you make decisions on reducing energy consumption, which can reduce the amount of electricity demand and the environmental impacts associated with power generation.

Billing, accuracy and security

Will the new meter change my bill?

No, the new meter will not directly change your bill. However, the smart meter provides additional information to help you track, each day, how your home uses energy and what it's costing you. This will enable you to make changes to make your home more energy efficient and reduce costs.

How are smart meters read?

Our smart meters communicate with SRP daily through a secure radio network.

Can smart meters send back a wrong read?

No, smart meters will not send back a wrong read. Smart meters report the same read as is measured by the meter. The read may be verified by checking the meter display. Each meter has a uniquely assigned identification code. This code enables SRP to accurately and securely attribute reported data to the correct smart meter.

How are your smart meters tested?

Our smart meters are designed, built, and tested to comply with American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standard 12.2, which calls for metering accuracy of +/- 0.5% at temperatures from -40° F to 185° F. Every meter is tested by the manufacturer for accuracy prior to shipment, and the meter test results are forwarded to SRP.

When smart meters are received by SRP, a sample of the shipment is tested to confirm the accuracy results. SRP follows the rigorous statistical sampling standards established by ANSI, and the testing protocol provides for very clear pass/fail criteria.

How does SRP monitor smart meters and how often does SRP check them to make sure they are working correctly?

SRP systematically monitors on a daily basis the consumption and diagnostic data reported by the meters. It also continuously monitors the status of the communications network.

SRP performs numerous billing validation routines that identify when usage falls outside expected parameters. If a bill falls outside these parameters, the bill is validated and/or corrected before it is issued.

Customers may also validate their billings by verifying the meter reads at the meter or tracking their daily energy consumption on SRP My Account. You can also see instructions on how to read the smart meter.

Are smart meters secure?

Yes, smart meters are secure. Protection begins at the meter itself. Proprietary meter protocols defend against hacking. Encryption is used at each step of the data transmission process: at the meter, during transit from the meter to SRP, and at SRP. The meters are password protected, and meet the ANSI 12.21 and 12.22 security standards for communication. The equipment SRP uses is completely removed from the broad Internet. SRP uses a separate system with firewalled access to the outside world.

SRP has skilled personnel in place to monitor emerging standards, risks, and threats and procedures are adapted to ensure compliance with existing and emerging standards and requirements.

As an added precaution, every meter reading used for billing is systematically tracked for extreme variations in reads — very high or very low usage in any one billing period.

Back to top

Smart Meters 101 infographic -
click to enlarge:

Smart Meters 101 Infographic

Contact us