SMART METERS Q & A.


As part of ongoing system improvements, many electric utilities in Alaska and across the United States have replaced analog meters with smart meters in the last eight years.  The replacement reflects the electric utilities’ commitment to modernize the electric grid to consumers and to help the utilities operate more efficiently and improve service restoration.

WHAT IS A SMART METER?

A smart meter is an advanced meter that measures electric usage more often than conventional meters and sends that information more quickly to the customers and electric utilities. Through two-way communication, smart meters also can monitor the electric distribution system to ensure it is functioning properly.

Smart meters have the following basic functions:  measure the electricity used; remotely coordinate electricity consumption; and interface with electric utilities to identify outages and provide real-time visibility into the operational status of an electric distribution system. 

HOW WILL I BENEFIT FROM THE USE OF SMART METERS?

·     Smart meters can help your utility restore your service faster during power outages.
·     Smart meters can help you better understand how much electricity you are using throughout the day.
·     Smart meters can reduce meter-reading costs and help detect theft of electricity.

HOW COULD A SMART METER HELP ME SAVE ON MY ELECTRIC BILL?

Customers can use the information from smart meters to shift their usage to different times of the day when electricity costs less to produce during off-peak hours. By using electricity more efficiently, customers can see real savings on their electric bills.  For example, rather than running the dishwasher right after dinner when electric prices are higher, customers can run the dishwasher later in the evening during off-peak hours.

ARE THERE HEALTH CONCERNS WITH SMART METERS?

While some have raised questions about the safety of smart meters, it is important to note that the radio frequencies on smart meters are at a much lower level than other devices that consumers already use everyday (e.g., microwaves, cordless phones, and cellphones).  Additionally, based on extensive research, the World Health Organization concluded that exposure to low level electromagnetic fields do not produce any known adverse health effects. 

WHEN WILL I HAVE A SMART METER?

Check with your electric utility company.  Most electric utilities in Alaska have already started replacing the traditional analog meters with smart meters.

ADDITIONAL RESOURCES

Federal Energy Regulatory Commission:  Advanced Metering Infrastructure.



Energy Information Administration:  Frequently Asked Questions.





Date Issued: 10/26/2018