Our new meters will strengthen reliability
Piedmont Electric Cooperative is upgrading our meters to improve the efficiency and reliability of our electric system and provide many benefits to our members.
With these new meters, we will be strengthening our already strong reliability, decreasing the length of power outages and saving you money by allowing us to operate our system more efficiently. Read more about the benefits, installation process and answers to frequently asked questions below!
New Meter Benefits
Improved member service
- Provides members with their hourly energy use through SmartHub which can assist in conservation of energy and resolve billing and usage questions.
- Provides our member services team with more detailed information (eg. power consumption patterns, outage and blink count history and voltage information) to better assist members who may need to reduce high energy consumption or address any power quality issues.
- Members can now combine rate options together that best fit their lifestyle.
- A digital meter is secure and can be read remotely. Service disconnects/reconnects can be performed quickly at the push of a button and no longer require on-site visits.
- These new meters are a key part of preparing our electric grid to help meet members’ power needs in the future.
Improved Service Efficiency and Reliability
- Provides the cooperative with detailed data to help locate and restore power outages quicker.
- Serves as a diagnostic tool for engineers to monitor energy demand and line loss.
- Enhances ability to identify future problems and better forecast power needs.
Our team is currently in the process of installing new meters throughout our service area to help improve the efficiency and reliability of our electric system. Over the next several months, we’ll be installing these new meters in the following order by county: Person, Granville, Durham, Orange, Alamance and Caswell. The national supply chain issue has resulted in new meter shipping delays.
Our team will contact you to let you know when you can expect your installation to take place.
- We will send you a postcard prior to install letting you know that new meters will be coming to your area soon.
- We will send a reminder email as well as an automated call approximately two weeks prior to meter installation.
- We will knock on your door to let you know we are on-site. Our authorized installer, Allegiant Utility Services, will arrive between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m., Monday – Friday. Installers will drive vehicles and carry badges that identify them as an authorized contractor of Piedmont Electric. Unless your electric meter is inside (which is uncommon) they will not need to enter your home and you will not need to be present for the installation. Please ensure animals are inside and that anything blocking your meter is removed, such as lawn furniture or planters. Locked gates will also need to be unlocked for access.
- We will perform the installation. This process will cause a brief service interruption for less than 10 minutes. We will remove the old meter, install the new meter, restore service and verify the new meter is working properly.
- We will leave a door hanger. The door hanger will let you know we have been on your property and successfully installed the new meter. If you receive a red door hanger please call 800.222.3107 and follow the directions for next steps.
Enhanced Meter Opt-Out Application
It is important that you understand the costs and conditions of opting out of enhanced metering. If you have not already done so, please call us at 800.222.3107 before submitting this application.
This application must be completed by members choosing to opt-out of enhanced metering.
I understand that, by opting out, I will not receive the benefits of an enhanced meter, including:
- Automated meter readings, which do not require a representative to visit my home.
- Access to detailed information on my home’s energy use and personalized tips that help to reduce energy use and manage costs.
- Special time based or net metering rates that Piedmont Electric offers.
- Faster outage restoration.
Meter Reading Option 1
I would like my meter to be read each month manually by Piedmont Electric. With this plan, I also agree to pay the following charges:
- A meter reading charge of $30 per month for the first account and $15.00 for each additional meter. This is the fee determined as a trip charge in Piedmont Electric’s service rules and regulations and subject to change.
- I also agree to let Piedmont Electric have access to my meter each month. If a meter reading cannot be obtained by the time of billing, I understand that my bill will be estimated. The estimation process will be entered as 1.5 times the previous month’s energy usage according to the account’s history. I understand that when a true reading is obtained, my bill will be trued up to the actual usage of the meter.
- If a member who opts out of receiving an enhanced meter fails to provide access for three months in any 12-month period, the member will be required to: (a) pay to have the metering equipment relocated to an external location accessible to Piedmont; or (b) permit the company to reinstall an enhanced meter and pay a $30.00 installation fee; or (c) face disconnection of service and pay applicable disconnection fees.
Meter Reading Option 2
I would like to self-report my meter readings each month. With this plan, I also agree to pay the following charges:
- A program fee of $10 per month for the first meter and $5 for any additional meter. This fee is to cover fees incurred by Piedmont Electric for manually processing meter reading and two-yearly site visits.
- I also agree to let Piedmont Electric have access to my meter each month. I acknowledge Piedmont will make two annual site checks to verify my meter is working properly and that my readings are accurate.
- If a meter reading is not provided by the time of billing, I understand that my bill will be estimated. The estimation process will be entered as 1.5 times the previous month’s energy usage. I understand that when a true reading is obtained, my bill will be trued up to the actual usage of the meter.
- If a member who opts out of receiving an enhanced meter fails to provide meter readings for three months in any 12-month period, the member will be required to: (a) pay to have the metering equipment relocated to an external location accessible to Piedmont; or (b) permit the company to reinstall an enhanced meter and pay a $30.00 installation fee; or (c) face disconnection of service and pay applicable disconnection fees.
- Documentation on how to read your meter and a reading schedule will be provided by Piedmont Electric annually.
Applicant agrees to provide access to metering equipment and to pay all approved fees associated with the installation and operation of a non-communicating meter. Fees are subject to change.
Frequently Asked Questions
Upgrading our meters is necessary in order to keep up with our advanced electric grid and prepare for our members’ electrical needs in the future. This new meter technology will provide numerous benefits and lead to better reliability and efficiency for the cooperative’s distribution system today and in the future. See the list of benefits above for more information.
Yes. Piedmont Electric will notify all members of the new meter installation approximately a month before we visit your home. Then, two weeks prior to installation, members will receive a reminder of when the installation will take place.
You will first be notified by the cooperative before the new meter installation will occur in your area. Before we access your meter at your home or business, we will give a courtesy knock on your door. You do not have to be present for the install. Installation should take approximately 5-10 minutes, and you will experience a brief interruption of power. After installation, you will receive a door hanger confirming a successful upgrade with further information regarding meter benefits. If a follow-up is needed, the door hanger will let you know. For a more in-depth look into the details of the installation process, check out the guide above.
Yes. Members who opt out of having a new meter installed and prefer to maintain a mechanical meter at their residence or facility can now do so with a basic service charge of $30 per month, this charge covers the cost of sending someone to read your meter each month. If you would like to opt-out of receiving a new meter, call 800.222.3107 or fill out an online form.
No, there will neither be a charge for the installation nor the new meter.
Meter installation is expected to be completed by early 2023.
Advanced meters will help Piedmont Electric continue to provide affordable energy and reliable service, while providing these additional improvements:
- Improve electric service reliability – The information provided by these enhanced meters is valuable for delivering electricity reliably and efficiently meaning fewer outages, blinks and surges. In addition, these new meters can sense if your home has a power outage, meaning a faster response time.
- Enhance member service – Through remote capabilities, Piedmont Electric can provide faster service connections, provide information about power consumption patterns, outage and blink count history, which can help solve energy use questions, high bill concerns or address any power quality issues.
- Help members conserve energy and save money – These meters can help you better understand how much electricity you are using throughout the day through your SmartHub By using electricity more efficiently, members can realize savings on their electric bills. In addition, these new meters will provide a greater variety of rate options to members to help save energy and money.
- Lower cooperative expenses – Piedmont Electric can operate more efficiently with the information provided by advanced meters, a savings we pass on to our members.
- Environmental benefits – The new meter data will empower members to take control of their energy budget. It will enable decisions to be made that conserve energy and natural resources, minimizing the impact on the environment.
For years, members have been able to access their daily and monthly electricity usage online through Piedmont Electric’s SmartHub portal. With these new meters, members can view their hourly electric use online through SmartHub. Having access to more timely and detailed information about electric use will allow members to make informed energy use choices. If you are not registered with SmartHub, visit pemc.smarthub.coop and sign-up today. You can also download the SmartHub app for your mobile or tablet device.
Yes. The meters and the associated communications system are encrypted and equipped with security features to prevent unauthorized access.
No. Piedmont Electric complies with all federal laws regarding the privacy, protection and disclosure of personal information. We do not sell member data to any third party and the data from these meters is strictly confidential and only used for electrical distribution, monitoring and billing purposes.
Piedmont Electric’s automated metering infrastructure or AMI system is an automated electronic metering communication system that enables us to remotely read meters and deliver a host of benefits to our members.
Yes. These metering devices communicate using low-power, wireless signals that are similar or weaker in strength than those created by common consumer devices like cell phones, baby monitors, cordless phones and Wi-Fi routers. These new meters emit only a fraction of the power identified in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) guidelines for safe RF energy exposure.
RF fields from advanced meters have been studied and found to emit very low fields and then only intermittently. There are no known adverse biological effects from these small fields. To provide some perspective, under typical operating conditions, an individual meter would transmit for approximately 45 minutes over a 20-year operating life. This should provide significantly less RF exposure than a single cellular phone call of the same length.