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.
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.
That's why we're building a modern grid that provides advanced communication and control capabilities. As part of this investment, we are installing second-generation digital meters that send data to Tampa Electric through a secure radio frequency network and eliminate the need for a truck to drive by to read your meter each month.
Once everyone in our community has a new meter by early 2022, we'll all benefit from the enhanced services they provide.
- Improved outage detection and restoration. When your power goes out, we'll know right away and be able to more quickly diagnose and repair the problem. Plus, you'll get more timely, customized information on the cause and status of restoration.
- More convenient to start, stop or transfer electric service. You let us know the date and we'll handle remotely.
- More information about 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.
- More flexibility. You'll have even more options when selecting your payment date.
- Increased privacy on your property. Your usage information will be relayed automatically, limiting on-site or drive-by visits to read meters, cut or restore power.
Smart meter installations continue
Our multi-year grid modernization project is well underway.
You'll receive a letter prior to installation. Before any change is made, our approved contractor, Contract Callers, Inc. (CCI) will attempt to notify you that they will replace your meter, which will result in a brief interruption – typically less than five minutes – to your electric service. They will show you their Tampa Electric contractor photo identification. If you are not available at the time of installation, a door hanger noting that your meter was replaced will be posted.
If you have questions about your new meter, please call CCI toll-free at 844-213-8243 on weekdays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. You can also email: TECO.FIELD@ContractCallers.com.
View our Frequently Asked Questions.
Smart Meter FAQs
A. The smart meters we're installing emit a low level of RF and only transmit data for a few seconds per hour. The average RF levels are far below the safety standards specified by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The FCC is required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, to evaluate the effect of emissions from FCC-regulated transmitters on the quality of the human environment. Tampa Electric only uses FCC-compliant meters.
Here are some sources for more information.
Radio Frequencies and Smart Meters – SGCC is a consumer-focused non-profit organization aiming to promote the understanding and benefits of modernized electrical systems among all stakeholders in the United States.
FCC Policy on Human Exposure to Radiofrequency Electromagnetic Fields – The FCC is required by the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 to evaluate the effect of emissions from FCC-regulated transmitters on the quality of the human environment.
Worrying about wireless, The Economist, Sept. 3, 2011 – In an independent study released by the California Council on Science and Technology, an advisory arm of the state legislature, concluded that wireless smart meters produce much lower levels of radio-frequency exposure than many existing household devices – especially microwave ovens.
"Radio Frequency and Smart Meters," Smart Grid, October 2014 – The World Health Organization (WHO) has concluded that no adverse health effects have been demonstrated to result from exposure to low-level radio frequency energy such as that produced by smart meters.
Federal Communications Commission letter to Sage Associates Environmental Consultants, Aug. 6, 2010. – The chief of the FCC's Office of Engineering and Technology addresses misinformation regarding the health effects of smart meters.
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.
Reading an AMR meter
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.