Whether we like it or not, advancements in technology change our lives. Think about how you communicate with others. If you’re working from home, you’re likely using Zoom or some other application to communicate with coworkers. It’s becoming more difficult to get by without a smart phone and with battery technology improving, gasoline cars may become a thing of the past. And these are just a few examples! The good news is that most of these changes are for the better.
Sometimes advancements in technology pop up in unexpected places. Take your electric meter as an example. Almost all Tampa Electric customers have one of the most advanced electric meters available thanks to a recently completed multiyear replacement of more than 800,000 meters. Here’s a glimpse into work we’re doing to make the most of them.
We’re exploring some new apps
Just like the applications (better known as apps) on your smart phone, Tampa Electric is the first energy company in the world to test apps that can be uploaded to our electric meters. Here are three apps we’re currently testing. If results look promising, we’ll roll these out to our smart meters.
- Theft Detection App – this app instantly detects tampering of the meter and alerts Tampa Electric. This helps reduce electricity theft and keeps energy bills low for you and all Tampa Electric customers. Bet you didn’t know that electricity theft costs Tampa Electric about $1 million per year.
- Broken Neutral App – a broken or loose wire (also referred to as a broken neutral) behind your meter can lead to voltage fluctuation, loss of power and more. This new app can detect this problem and send an alert to us. This avoids damage to customer equipment and prevents a long-term outage.
- High Impedance App – this app can detect high temperatures or “hot spots” behind the meter or within the distribution network that delivers electricity to your home or business. Similar to the broken neutral app, this app sends an alert to us so we can address before the problem leads to an extended outage.
|A Tampa Electric meter technicians installs a new smart meter.|
Smart meters are delivering benefits right now
Smart meters are already helping us restore power quicker by pinpointing exactly where outages are occurring. This is especially helpful after a storm that causes multiple outages. Features like this will be available across our entire service area by early 2022, once all meters are programmed to communicate with our internal systems. Here are benefits that many 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.
- Fewer 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, significantly reducing the number of estimated bills.
- Quicker restoration. Some of the smart meters are already helping us restore power quicker by pinpointing exactly where outages are occurring.
Visit tampaelectric.com/mymeter to view a video showing more benefits that smart meters will deliver, read a list of frequently asked questions and more.