Ohio Electric Utilities are already switching to smart meters.
The Public Utility Commission of Ohio has approved smart meter rules for the state’s electric utilities plans. This involves replacing the old analog dial meters with more accurate digital electric meters. The new meters use radio signals to communicate information about your energy usage and eliminate the need for readers. The change comes with some benefits for customers. However, not everybody will be excited about the new smart meter rules. For Ohio customers making apple to apples shopping comparisons, one major stumbling block has been funding.
Electric utility smart meter installation rules
When will electric utility smart meter installations occur? Smart meter installation is now part of PUCO’s “Power Forward” initiative. The new smart meter rules are designed to modernize the Ohio grid. Installation depends on who is your local Ohio electric utility.
- Duke Energy Ohio has already completed smart meter installation, having installed about 730,000 smart meters in the Cincinnati area.
- AEP Ohio is following this schedule for the upgrade. AEP will also notify customers in its service area a few weeks in advance of installations.
- FirstEnergy’s program in Ohio remains voluntary. FirstEnergy was authorized by PUCO to recoup the cost of meters from customers. However, the company has not yet (as of December, 2017) submitted any plans to implement the new smart meter rules.
- DP&L is still in the process of submitting a grid modernization plan and smart meter rules to PUCO.
How to prepare for an electric utility smart meter installation
In most cases, meter technicians shouldn’t need to enter your house. However, you need to provide clear access to your meter. Your power will briefly cut out while technicians swap the meters.
Will you be charged for a smart meter? Yes. Your local utility will charge you a small amount on your monthly bill. The actual amount will depend on what rate PUCO approves for your local utility.
What if you don’t want an electric utility smart meter?
You can refuse the upgrade to a smart meter. However, you will still pay the PUCO-approved charge for meter reader to come out and read your old analog meter. That’s a $24/month charge. If your meter has already been upgraded, you can have an analog meter re-installed for a one-time fee of $43.
What’s in the electric utility smart meter data?
What will the electric utility do with the data collected by your smart meter? Electric utilities will use data from smart meters to determine exactly what to charge for electricity during periods of high use. During outages, data from smart meters will help quickly pinpoint and reroute power to reduce the effect on other customers. Ultimately, if your provider offers a web interface, you will be able to view your usage data online. You can then use this to learn about your usage and even save money on electricity.
Take advantage of the upgrade to electricity smart meters and lower your high electric bill.
Ultimately, the new smart meter rules should help you use energy more efficiently and save money. Getting more detailed information about your energy usage allows you to find which appliances or activities run up your bill. In addition to saving money, being smarter about your electricity use will also lead to becoming a greener energy consumer in Ohio.
If you are looking for more ways to save money on your electricity, try comparing Ohio electric rates and finding the cheapest rate in your area. At Ohio Energy Ratings, you can find all the information you need to discover the best electric supplier and switch to a new plan.