MID began upgrading all of its residential and commercial electric meters in Dec. 2008. Authorized technicians from MID or its contractor, Wellington Energy, finished installing over 100,000 new digital “smart” meters by the end of March 2010. Midway through 2009, MID began using a secure, wireless communication system (similar to a cellular telephone network) to read the new smart meters by remote control. Today other advanced features of MID’s smart meter system are fully automated.
How do smart meters benefit MID customers?
Smart meters will bring long-term benefits for customers:
- Streamlined, more efficient operations.
- Long-term savings that will be passed on to MID customers. MID is a customer-owned utility. When we save, you save too. MID anticipates recouping our $22 million investment in smart meters over a 5-10 year time frame.
- Faster response to power outages. If your power goes out, MID will know immediately – even if you don’t report the problem. MID can dispatch repair crews faster and more efficiently during outages.
- More efficient energy use. Smart meters will provide you with confidential, detailed feedback about how you personally use energy.
- Less air pollution. MID will drive over 200,000 fewer miles each year to read meters.
Smart meters: How accurate are they?
- You may have heard questions about how accurate smart meters are. MID wants you to feel confident about your new meter. Here are the facts:
Smart meters measure your electric use very accurately.
- Every MID digital smart meter has been calibrated at the factory, before it arrives at MID.
- The meters have been certified to comply with standards of the American National Standards Institute, a federal agency within the U.S. Dept. of Commerce.
- Smart meters are tested to ensure they are accurate within 3/10s of 1 percent.
- Smart meters have self-diagnostic technology built in.
- If a smart meter stops working right, this technology detects the problem and reports it to MID.
- MID quickly send a technician to replace the faulty meter with one that works properly.
- If a faulty meter causes an accidental overbilling, MID credits the customer’s account – without even being asked.
If you think your meter was read incorrectly, you may ask MID to read it again.
- MID will gladly re-read your electric meter at no charge to you (first request). MID waives this charge if the meter reading was wrong.
Smart meters: Do they make electric bills go up?
- No. Your smart meter simply uses a different technology to measure how much electricity you use. However, there are a number of things that can make your electric bill go up.
Things that can make your electric bill higher include
- Electric rate increases: MID raised electric rates 7 percent effective Feb. 1, 2010.
- Weather – the single biggest influence on how much electricity you use.
- The number of kilowatthours of electricity you used per day – strongly influenced by weather conditions.
- The number of days in the billing period.
- Any balance carried over from the previous month that you might not have paid yet.
As always, you pay MID only for electricity you have actually used.
How do digital smart meters work?
- The new meters are electronic, not electromechanical. Old-fashioned dials are replaced with an easy-to-read, digital liquid crystal display. Smart meters transmit your electric usage data by radio to data collection points. From there data is relayed via fiber-optic cable or a secure cellular telephone network to MID’s downtown office. MID reads the new meters by remote control using a secure, wireless communication system.
MID access to smart meters
- Please make sure MID technicians can still access your electric meter for future repairs and testing. Even though MID meter readers will no longer routinely visit customer locations to reach the meter, occasionally we will need to check your electric service. Please make sure our technicians can access your electric meter and other MID-owned equipment on your property.