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 Upgrade
Providing you with safe, reliable and affordable energy is our priority. To do that, we must continuously improve our systems and our service. This includes building a smarter energy infrastructure.
In October 2017, Tampa Electric began upgrading 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 upgraded meters, also referred to as a smart meter or Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) meter, has state-of-the-art capabilities. Once everyone in our community has a smart meter by early 2022, we will all benefit from the enhanced services it provides. For example, we will be able to start or transfer service remotely, we can respond to outages more quickly, and we can provide you with real-time information about your energy use so you can be more efficient and save money.
Smart Meter Pilot Extension
Tampa Electric will upgrade additional meters in downtown area neighborhoods in early 2018. If you reside in the area where upgrades will take place, you'll receive communications before you receive an upgraded meter.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q: Why is Tampa Electric upgrading my electric meter?
A: We're upgrading meters as part of building a smarter energy infrastructure. The new equipment supports our ongoing efforts to provide you with safe, reliable and affordable electricity.
Q: Why was my area selected for the upgrade?
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 evaluate our new automated communications network.
Q: Is this a smart meter, also known as an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) meter?
A: Yes. However, most of the "smart" functionality will be activated once everyone in our community has a smart meter by early 2022. Essentially, this meter works the same as your previous meter.
Q: How do I know if I live in an area that will receive an upgraded meter?
A: If you live near downtown Tampa area neighborhoods, including parts of Davis Islands and Harbour Island, you may receive an upgraded meter. Please know you will receive a letter prior to any upgrade taking place.
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. For example, we will be able to start or transfer service remotely, we can respond to outages more quickly, and we can provide you with real-time information about your energy use so you can be more efficient and save money.
Q: How do smart meters collect and transmit data?
A: Smart meters collect and store energy usage data. This data is sent to Tampa Electric through a radio frequency (RF) network.
Q: Should I be concerned about radio frequencies from smart meter equipment?
A: Smart meters emit a low level of radio frequency (RF). RF exposure from smart meters is a fraction of the level that comes from other commonly used household devices, such as cell phones, garage door openers, televisions, baby monitors, microwaves and wireless internet. Also, advanced metering systems only transmit data for a few seconds per hour, and at average levels far below the safety standards specified by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). Visit the American Cancer Society's website to learn more.
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 will not provide information on how you use electricity inside your home.
Q: What if I don't want this upgraded meter?
A: You are not required to participate in this upgrade. 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 on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. 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: We are installing a limited number of upgraded meters in 2018 and will not have enough to expand into other areas. Please know that we plan to have upgraded meters installed across our entire service area by early 2022.
Q: How can I get answers to more questions?
A: You may also contact Tampa Electric Customer Care online or at 813-223-0800 on weekdays from 7:30 a.m. to 6 p.m.