We’re putting our energy into efficiency.
Why is NU replacing existing meters with Smart Meters? Smart Meters bring many benefits to our customers through operational efficiencies and enhanced service. A few examples of the many benefits are improved energy management, minimized utility visits to your home through remote meter reading and remote turn-on and turn-off capabilities, a well as improved outage response. We know you have questions; we have answers. Below are some FAQs that you may find helpful.
I already have a Smart Meter. Why does it need to be changed?
Technology changes rapidly. The older Smart Meters in the NU system were becoming obsolete. Updating the meters to the newest technology enhances system performance. Think of your cellphone and the advances made every year. NU sees the importance of delivering the best possible service to our community. Updating the components used in our infrastructure is part of improved service.
Is the meter exchange optional?
NU makes decisions for our equipment based on the performance of the entire system. For maximum performance, all meters in the system need to be equal. NU requires that all meters be exchanged to ensure accuracy. Replacement is not optional.
What about accuracy? I’ve heard that the new meters read higher.
Meters only reflect usage. Exchanging the meter does not change usage. All meters are tested and certified by the manufacturer. Meters are then tested in the NU meter department. The NU meter shop has a long standing protocol regarding meter accuracy and testing. Our test equipment is calibrated and certified on an annual basis. NU’s acceptable accuracy range is +/- .3%. The average registration for the new meters is 99.93% on full load and 99.93% on light load. If a customer is concerned that the meter is not reading accurately, NU can pull the meter and conduct a load test. There is a $100 fee for this service which is refunded if any defects are found.
Then why is my bill higher since the meter was changed?
Is your usage the same as it was prior to the exchange? Has the outside temperature been much lower or higher than the previous month? Meters will only reflect usage. In the recent winter months, electric demand is the highest it has been in the last three years due to the sustained cold temperatures after two comparatively mild winters. Heat pumps begin to lose efficiency at around 40 degrees. Extremely cold temperatures–25 degrees and lower–place a heavy demand on heat pumps. Many use electric coils for emergency heat which will increase your electric consumption. There are a number of ways to reduce energy consumption. These include improving insulation in the walls, ceiling, windows, and doors; lowering your thermostat in the winter (or raising it in the summer); and insulating your electric water heater. For more energy saving ideas, visit www.energyright.com.
I use the SmartHub app to monitor my usage. Why isn’t it showing current usage? Or, why is it showing gallons?
Using the SmartHub app (available on the Apple Store and Google Play) is a great way to keep up with your usage. You can also pay your bill through the app, check and report outages, etc. If you’re not seeing your current usage, you may need to select the new meter. In the app, click on the “usage” icon, then click on the settings icon in the upper right corner. You’ll see a heading that says “Choose a meter.” Select the correct meter from the drop down list. The new electric meters are 8-digits. The historical readings from your old meter will still be available to see but will be reporting zero usage if your meter has been replaced. If you need help, give us a call at 625-2800.
But what about RF Exposure?
The use of radio frequencies (RF) in consumer products such as cellular phones and wireless routers has increased considerably over the past decade, and continues to increase. Although Smart Meters utilize RF technology, by staying within regulated requirements, transmitting infrequently, and remote placement, they present significantly lower RF exposure for consumers than many other products that are used daily without concern.
In the US, the FCC establishes the requirements for use of the RF spectrum and acceptable exposure limits for the public. The Smart Meters that NU will deploy, made by Honeywell, comply with and exceed the FCC requirements.
Still have questions?
You can always call NU Customer Service at 423.625.2800 for additional information.
RF Exposure Comparison
Customer Notification Inserted in December Bill
Your electric service by the numbers.
Delivery Voltage: 161kV (2 points)
69KV Transmission: 36.55 miles
13.2 KV Distribution: 2191 miles
Service Area: 600 Square miles