An initiative of Lakeland Electric

Questions about..

Do you still have to visit my home to get my meter reading? View answer

Currently we are still phasing in the billing portion of the process which means we are still sending meter readers out, even if the home has the new smart meter. We will start billing from some of the meters in October 2011. This is planned to be a slow and VERY careful process to ensure that there are no customers affected by this process. After October, all new meter installations will still be read by a reader for at least the first 2 months after installation to insure accurate electronic readings versus the manual readings. After that point, it will no longer be necessary for a meter technician to either drive by your home or enter your property to read your electric meter.

If you don’t have to visit my home to read my meter, how do you know how much electricity I’ve used in any given month? View answer

Your Smart Meter will automatically transmit your usage information to Lakeland Electric via a secure wireless network. Because the new meters “talk” to us, we will know how much electricity you have used any given hour of the day. Soon you will be able to log onto a customer website and see that same information. If you don’t have a home computer with Internet access, you’ll still be able to get that same “real-time” usage information by calling Lakeland Electric Customer Service.

Do you still need to keep a key to my gate after the Smart Meter is Installed? View answer

Yes, we will still need to have access to the meter location for maintenance, inspection, and repairs.

What about my water meter? View answer

At this time, only electric meters will be upgraded to the new Smart Meters. Eventually, when funds become available to upgrade the current water meters with Smart Meters, we will make that announcement. However, if your current water meter requires replacement due to age or an unrepairable problem, it may be replaced with a Smart Meter as a part of the Water Department’s upgrade.

Will people lose their jobs because of the Smart Meter? View answer

No jobs will be lost because of the Smart Meter. Meter technicians who work for the Lakeland Electric field staff will be reassigned to related duties.

Will my power be restored more quickly with this new technology? View answer

Yes. In the past, you had to call Lakeland Electric to tell us when your power had gone out. With the new Smart Meter, we will know exactly when your power goes out and when the power is restored.

I remember something about “smart boxes” from several years ago. How is this different? View answer

The old “Smart Box” system deployed by Lakeland Electric in the early 1990′s was a one-way radio controlled Load Management system. It was a voluntary program where a customer was compensated monthly to allow Lakeland Electric to turn off various appliances (hot water heaters, air conditioners, pool pumps, etc.) for increments of 15 minutes during peak usage times. This allowed the utility to continue to serve all of its customers without going out on the expensive “spot market” to purchase additional power. This would result in an overall savings for all customers. This system was abandoned several years ago and will not be used again.

The new Smart Grid system will eventually have similar capabilities to control various appliances. However, the main difference is that customers will control the operation of their appliances in order to better manage their electric usage. Other than this, the systems are not related in any way.

Will you be able to turn off my electricity remotely? View answer

At some locations, the Smart Grid system will provide us with the capability to reconnect and disconnect remotely. These meters contain switches, and they are typically located at addresses where Lakeland Electric makes a higher volume of service calls (some apartment buildings, rental homes, etc.). In the initial phase of the project this capability will be limited to approximately 10% of our customers.