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 Advanced meters: Key to a smarter electric grid

 

Idaho Falls Power began installing state-of-the-art electric meters at our customers’ homes and businesses in 2012 and expects to have upgraded all of the city’s 27,000-plus meters by the end of 2014.

The new advanced or “smart” meters being installed are a key step toward the development of a “smart” electric grid that will significantly boost efficiency at the utility and help you better manage your electricity usage.

These new meters are different from traditional meters in that they are capable of transmitting data instantly between Idaho Falls Power and its customers using wireless technology, providing a number of benefits to the utility and our customers. Among them:

- The new meters will alert IFP to outages as they occur.

- A key component to creating a smarter electric grid, the new meters work in tandem with improvements made to the city’s electricity delivery system to alert IFP to the source of an outage as well as its location, leading to quicker restoration time for most outages, plus savings on transportation and manpower.

- The new meters eliminate the need for meter readers to access your property each month, creating significant savings for the city-owned utility and boosting customer convenience .

- Tamper alarms on the new meters have proven to eliminate cases of theft at other utilities.

- The new meters are capable of providing energy-use data down to the hour. By the end of 2014, IFP will offer a free web portal that works in conjunction with the new meters to allow customers to see their electricity use throughout the month rather than once a month via a bill. This online site will also enable customers to better manage their energy use throughout the month.

- This smarter electric grid will also allow IFP to better manage voltage levels throughout the city, creating significant savings to the utility and our ratepayers.

- As part of a smarter electric grid, the new meters will help prevent small outages from escalating into bigger ones.

- The meters will eliminate the need to estimate bills due to access issues preventing utility personnel from reading your meter, leading to more accurate billing.

- The new meters make it easier to resolve high bill complaints, leading to better customer service.

Despite these benefits, some misconceptions about the devices have arisen. See these Frequently Asked Questions for the facts about the new meters.

 

Click here to view a "Myth Busters" video on advanced meters by the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative.

 

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