If you are a Tampa Electric customer, you likely have a new digital smart meter installed at your home or business. In late 2017, we embarked on a multiyear project to upgrade all of our electric meters – more than 810,000 – across our West Central Florida service area. Unlike the meters they replaced, the new digital smart meters send your electric usage data directly to Tampa Electric through a secure wireless network, eliminating the need for us to manually read your meter each month. The new smart meters are an essential part of building a modern grid, bringing you an enhanced level of customer service along with safe, reliable and affordable electricity.
“If we have no storms or other unforeseen events, we expect to have 100% of mass deployed meters upgraded by the end of June,” said David Lukcic, director of strategic solutions at Tampa Electric. “The smart meters are already delivering benefits. When severe storms toppled trees and took down a few power lines in April, we were able to communicate with many of our smart meters. That helped us determine where outages were occurring and enabled us to send crews to impacted areas to restore power as quickly and safely as possible.”
Although we expect to have all meters installed in June and some features are effective immediately, additional features will become available in the near future. “We’re currently conducting a phased approach as we program all 810,000 smart meters to communicate with specific internal systems. This is to ensure that it’s a seamless transition for all customers,” said Lukcic.
Here are some benefits that many of our customers are already experiencing.
- More convenient to start and stop electric service. Many residential and small business customers can simply let us know the date and we’ll handle remotely. No need to wait for a technician to arrive.
- Increased privacy on your property. Your usage data is sent directly to Tampa Electric through a secure wireless network, limiting on-site or drive-by visits to read meters.
- No more estimated bills. Sometimes customers receive an estimated bill due to issues gaining access to the meter or inclement weather. Smart meters eliminate this problem because they send data daily, eliminating the need to estimate bills.
Thanks to smart meters, our customer service representatives are beginning to receive access to data that can help customers. For example, some smart meters are able to alert us if power is out. A battery inside the smart meter allows it to notify Tampa Electric of an outage. This lets us pinpoint outages and send crews to restore power as quickly and safely as possible. Additionally, if you call about a high bill, we have more data to analyze that might help determine the cause.
Although some smart meters are able to alert us if power is out, we encourage all customers to contact Tampa Electric to report your outage since this functionality will not be available on all meters until next year.
Here are some future benefits and technology we’re exploring.
- More information and control over electricity use. You’ll be able to manage your energy use throughout the month, set up alerts when consumption and bills are approaching certain levels and monitor daily usage through mobile devices.
- Payment flexibility. You’ll have even more options when selecting your payment date.
- Applications (apps) for smart meters. Like your smart phone, apps can be uploaded to smart meters. We’re one of the first utilities in the country that’s teaming up with technology companies to test and develop apps that can help detect failing equipment before an outage occurs, detect tampering with meters and more.
How to see if you have a smart meter
You can tell if you have a smart meter by looking for the meter number listed on your bill. If your meter number is 10-digits long, you have a smart meter. If your meter number is 5 or 6 digits long, you should receive a smart meter soon. Visit tampaelectric.com/mymeter for more about smart meters.