About Your Meter
Tampa Electric uses a meter to measure the amount of energy consumed by your home or business. Meters display usage in kilowatt hours (kWh). Your monthly statement reflects the difference in kWh of energy used from the previous month to the current month. That number is used to calculate the cost of your electric service.
Reading your meter
Tampa Electric customers have a digital meter that shows the kilowatt-hour (kWh) reading on the display. Some digital meters will display readings continuously while others show the kWh reading followed by a test display with all 8s.
Follow these steps to calculate approximately how much money you owe for your electric bill. You'll want to have last month's bill handy for reference.
- Read your electric meter (refer to the instructions listed above if you're not sure how to read your meter).
- Locate the meter reading listed on your last month's electric bill.
- Subtract last month's reading (step 2) from your current reading (step 1).
- The result is the amount of electricity (in kilowatt-hours, or kWh) your home has used since your last reading.
- Again, refer to last month's bill to find your energy charge and fuel charge rates. Multiply the number of kWh by these rates and add the totals together.
- This number, plus the Tampa Electric customer charge and any franchise fee and/or applicable taxes, is approximately how much money you owe this month for your electric bill.
Advances in meter technology
In the past decade, meter technology has evolved from electromechanical, or dial-type, meters to digital meters. In fact, all major electric-meter manufacturers have discontinued production of dial-type meters, and all Florida investor-owned utilities are utilizing digital meters.
Tampa Electric adopted advanced metering technology in 2003, when the company began replacing electromechanical or dial-type meters with digital meters, also called drive-by meters. This technology is also known as automated meter reading, or AMR. We have completed installing these meters on all homes and businesses.
Automated Meter Reading
Meter technology has evolved from electromechanical, or dial-type, meters to digital meters. Tampa Electric adopted advanced metering technology in 2003, when the company began replacing dial-type meters with digital meters, also called drive-by meters. This technology is also known as automated meter reading, or AMR. We have completed installing these meters on all homes and businesses in our 2,000-square-mile territory.
The advanced metering technology allows Tampa Electric field crews to read a meter without entering a customer's property – they simply drive a vehicle down the street. The meters transmit data using a one-way radio frequency. The radio signal is picked up by a "collector" inside a meter reader's vehicle. This is similar to the operation of your garage-door opener or a SunPass. This technology is different from two-way meters, which are sometimes referred to as "smart meters."
This one-way, digital technology provides significant benefits, such as:
- More accurate meter readings than traditional dial meters
- Increases privacy for customers because no meter reader enters their property
- Reduces access issues for customers with dogs or locked gates
It is important to note that radio frequencies are all around us – from computer and cell-phone networks, toll roads and many appliances in your home, such as garage door openers. Exposure from automated electric meters is significantly less than many devices common in everyday life. Since 1996, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has required wireless devices to meet minimum guidelines for safe human exposure to radio frequencies. It is important to note that Tampa Electric's wireless digital meters operate significantly below FCC guidelines. The equipment operates at very low levels comparable to radio waves already present in the environment. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), research does not suggest any adverse health effects from exposure to radio frequencies that meet the FCC guidelines.
This equipment is specifically designed for meter reading, and it is unlikely it would interfere with the operation of any other equipment, such as computers or other electronics.
All equipment used by Tampa Electric is designed to operate within state and federal standards, such as the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Smart Meter Pilot
In October 2017, Tampa Electric launched a pilot to upgrade residential electric meters in downtown Tampa area neighborhoods, including parts of Davis Islands and Harbour Island. If you live in these areas, you received a letter from us before your meter was upgraded.
The purpose of the pilot is to test and evaluate new communications equipment, including new meters, also referred to as smart meters or Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) meters. The new equipment supports our ongoing efforts to provide our customers with reliable and affordable electricity. Once the pilot is successfully completed, we'll install additional equipment across our service area to serve all our customers.
Smart Meter Pilot Extension
Tampa Electric will expand the pilot in early 2018. Just like the earlier pilot, if you live in the pilot area, you'll receive communications before you receive an upgraded meter.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Why is Tampa Electric upgrading my electric meter?
A: The purpose of the new pilot project is to test and evaluate new automated communications equipment, including upgraded meters that can be read remotely. The new equipment supports our ongoing efforts to provide you with reliable and affordable electricity.
Q: Why was my area selected for the pilot? OR How was I selected to participate in the pilot?
A: We selected downtown area neighborhoods, including parts of Davis Islands and Harbour Island, because this area has a high concentration of homes and high rises. This diverse urban environment provides an ideal mix of housing types to test and evaluate our new automated communications equipment and upgraded meters.
Q: Is this a smart meter or an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) meter?
A: Yes. However, as part of this pilot, most of the "smart" functionality will not be activated. Essentially, this meter works the same as your previous meter. The purpose of the pilot is to test and evaluate the equipment. Upon successful completion of the pilot, we will install additional upgraded meters and communications equipment across our service area to serve all our customers.
Q: How do I know if I am in the pilot area and will I get a new meter?
A: If you live near downtown Tampa area neighborhoods, including parts of Davis Islands and Harbour Island, you may be inside the pilot area. If you reside within the pilot area, you will receive a letter in the mail prior to receiving an upgraded meter.
Q: What is a smart meter and how is it different than the meter I have today?
A: Your upgraded meter, also referred to as smart meter or Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) meter, has state-of-the-art capabilities that will, in the future, allow you to have more control over and visibility into your energy usage.
Q: Will the upgraded meter impact my service?
A: No, your upgraded meter will have no impact on your service, your account number or your billing date. You will experience a brief interruption in service when your upgraded meter is installed.
Q: Will the upgraded meter impact my Zap Cap Systems equipment?
A: No, your upgraded meter will have no impact on your Zap Cap Systems equipment.
Q: Will I have to be present during the installation?
A: You do not need to be available for the installation. If you have previously provided specific access instructions for regularly scheduled meter readings, Tampa Electric will follow those instructions for entry.
Q: How secure is a smart meter? Is Tampa Electric monitoring my appliances and how I use electricity?
A: Smart meters are safe and secure. All communications are delivered across secure networks. The smart meters being installed as part of this pilot will not provide information on how you use electricity inside your home.
Q: Are other electric utilities installing smart meters?
A: Yes, more than 50 percent of U.S. households across the U.S. have a smart meter.
Q: What if I don't want this upgraded meter?
A: You are not required to participate in the pilot. To have the upgraded meter removed or if you received a letter and do not want an upgrade meter, simply call Tampa Electric Customer Care at 813-223-0800 and let the representative know you do not want an upgraded meter. If the upgraded meter is already installed, we will remove it at no cost to you.
Q: My neighbor received a smart meter. Can I get one?
A: Unfortunately, we cannot expand the pilot. Although your home might be right next door, the pilot is limited to a set number of meters. Please know that once the pilot is complete, we will be installing additional equipment and upgraded meters across our entire service area.
Q: How can I get answers to more questions?
A: You may also contact Tampa Electric Customer Care online or at 813-223-0800.