What is a smart meter?

A smart meter is a digital electric meter that collects electricity usage information and sends that data to the local utility through a secure telecommunications connection.   

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Who pays for the smart meter technology?

Pennsylvania Act 129 mandates that customers pay for the development and deployment of smart meter technology throughout our service area.  A charge for the smart meter program is reviewed and approved by the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on an annual basis and is subject to change.

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What if I don't want a smart meter?

The company is required by Pennsylvania law to install a smart meter for all of our Pennsylvania customers.

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When will a smart meter be installed on my home/business?

In 2014 the companies began installing smart meters to all customers in Penn Power’s service area. Installation for West Penn Power, Penelec and Met-Ed customers will begin in 2016. Please see our Deployment Schedule for a more detailed look at when we will be installing meters in your area.

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Will I be notified when I am receiving a smart meter?

Approximately one month before your meter is exchanged, you will receive a brochure in the mail to provide you with information about the meter and the installation process. A few weeks prior to the actual installation date, you will receive a letter that will give you the time period when we will be in your area to exchange your meter. On the day of the installation, an installer will come to your door to let you know they are installing your meter. If no one is home, we will leave a door hanger either indicating that the meter has been changed or asking you to contact us to schedule an appointment to change your meter.

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Do I need to make an appointment for my smart meter installation?

Most smart meter installations will be performed without an appointment. Every effort is made to notify you in advance of your meter installation.  In addition to mailings, the installer will come to your door before beginning work. Appointments for special needs will be handled on a case-by-case basis.  

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How can I tell if my meter is a smart meter?

Smart meters are digital, so they will display numbers instead of dials.  In addition, our smart meters have a blue stripe across the face.

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Will power to my home or business be interrupted during the meter installation?

For homes, there will be a brief interruption in your electric service when the meter is being installed, so you may need to reset some of your electronic equipment.  For businesses, your power might be interrupted during the installation.  The meter installer will be able to determine if an interruption will occur when the work is being done.  

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Who will be installing my meter?

The meters will be installed by company personnel or our installation vendor, Wellington Energy. Please be aware that all of our installers will be carrying proper identification. If the installer cannot show you an identification card, or if you have a concern about that person’s identity, please call Wellington Energy at 1-888-317-8815.

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Is my usage information transmitted by smart meters secure?

Yes. FirstEnergy places the utmost importance on the security and protection of all aspects of our electric system and associated subsystems. Our communication network is a high security environment that uses multiple layers of protection from unwanted access – including the use of passwords, firewalls, data encryption, continuous monitoring and other security controls. We follow the cybersecurity guidelines published by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). In addition, Pennsylvania regulations restrict access to customer information, and do not permit an electric company or electric supplier to release private customer information to a third party without customer consent.

Click here for our Fact Sheet on Security and Privacy.

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Will unauthorized people be able to monitor my account to learn more about how I use energy in my home?

Smart meters measure how much energy is used, based on time of day – not how that energy is used. A smart meter cannot tell which specific electric equipment is using the energy. The company’s smart meter solution is based on industry best practices, and built on a secured network designed to protect customer data.

Check here for more information about how FirstEnergy is helping keep your information secure.

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After I get my smart meter, will I be able to see more detailed information about how my home uses electricity?

Yes. After your meter is installed and the utility starts gathering your usage in intervals, you will be able to access that information using our online Home Energy Analyzer tool. The company will notify you when this functionality is available to you.

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Will you limit the amount of electricity I am allowed to use?

No. The company will not limit the amount of power you can use.

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Are smart meters as accurate as my current meter?

Smart meters use state-of-the-art technologies that ensure accurate readings while providing customers with information they need to better manage their electricity use. Like the meters of today, we test each smart meter according to stringent American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards to ensure they are accurate.  Click here for our Fact Sheet on Accuracy.

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Will I receive fewer estimated bills with a smart meter?

Yes. Since we will be able to read smart meters remotely, we will have easier access to the meter information.  Please note that this functionality will be implemented over time, so meter readers will continue to manually read the smart meter for some time after the meter is installed.

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How do you know that the information you get is for my meter and not my neighbor’s?

Data collected from a meter and transmitted wirelessly contains specific, unique identifiers associated with the customer's meter number and service address. These fields are validated numerous times to ensure accuracy before the data is used for billing.

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Will I be exposed to radio frequencies from smart meter equipment?

While 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). 

Click here for more information about RF and smart meters. 

Click here for our Fact Sheet on Radio Frequency.

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I have a smart meter, so why am I still seeing meter readers?

Although the smart meter has been installed, the functionality of the meter will be implemented over time – meaning, the company is gathering your usage information but must also then evaluate and verify the accuracy for some time before we start using that information for billing.

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If the power goes out, do I still have to call the utility company?

Yes, for the time being. If your power goes out, please call 1-888-LIGHTSS (1-888-544-4877) to report it so we can identify the problem and respond promptly.

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If I’m late paying my bill, will the utility company be able to turn off my power without sending a representative to the location?

Although the system will provide the utility company the ability to disconnect a meter remotely for non-payment situations, a company representative will still visit the premises in person at disconnection, in compliance with the current Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission rules.

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Last Modified: October 12, 2015