• BWL Smart Grid Program

    Meters are getting smarter and we’re working on installing new state-of-the-art meters for a system-wide project on all of our customers’ homes. This project will begin to upgrade the electric grid with new technologies designed to improve the reliability, efficiency and security of BWL services provided to all of our customers. This project allows our customers to become partners with BWL in our commitment to energy efficiency, reliability and affordability.

    Frequently Asked Questions

    What is a smart grid?

    As technology advances, new tools and techniques can be implemented to help electric and water grids run more efficiently. A smart grid is a way to monitor electric and water distribution networks.

    Previous meter-reading solutions only allowed “one-way” communication. The new Smart Grid allows for “two-way” communication by creating a network between the meters and the BWL’s information systems. Data flowing both ways allows for the BWL to monitor and diagnose problems in the electric and water system. Information gathered through our smart grid will allow for more efficient outage restorations, integration with energy efficiency program , as well as customer visibility and control over individual electricity and water usage.

    What is BSmart?

    BWL has launched a smart grid project called BSmart, aimed at upgrading all electric and water meters. This project involves the replacement of meters to nearly 97,000 electric and 56,000 water customers throughout our service territory over the next few years. This project will allow customers to become partners with the BWL in our commitment to energy efficiency, reliability and affordability.

    What are smart meters?

    Smart meters are used to measure water and electric use with digital technology that enables us to read your meter remotely, providing even better service when you contact us. Eventually, you’ll be able to see daily information from the meters giving you better control over your energy usage and bill.

    Why do we need new meters?

    These state-of-the-art meters will help us improve your service and provide you with many benefits now and for years to come. Eventually, they will become powerful tools that give you better control over your water and electric use, and your bill.

    What are the benefits of smart meters?

    Future benefits of smart meters will increase BWL’s operational efficiency and reliability, enable the BWL to improve customer service and enable the customer to manage their own energy usage. Here are a look at a few of those benefits:


    Will the new meter cost me anything?

    You will not be charged any costs associated with the installation of these new meters. We expect the meters to provide efficiencies and allow you to better understand your usage and make smart decisions on your water/electric usage.

    How are the new meters different from the old meters?

    Our new smart meters measure your water/electric use with digital technology that enables us to read your meter remotely. Smart meters help us provide even better service when you contact us. Eventually, seeing daily information from the smart meters will give you better control over your water/electric use and your bill.

    Will my bill go up because of the new meter?

    Your monthly bill will continue to reflect the normal fluctuations in your service use. In some cases where your meter may have been running slow due to age, you may see an increase due to the accuracy of the new meter. Your first bill after installation will show your usage under your old meter and after the smart meter was installed.

    Will the new meters be accurate?

    The new meters will be electronic and are more accurate compared to the analog meters that we primarily use now. The meters meet or exceed the national tolerance standards.

    What type of meter do I currently have?

    Your current meter is a non-communicating meter. Your non-communicating meter is either a digital or an analog meter. In most residential meters, there are no communication or radio mechanisms in the meter.

    Can I opt out of having a smart meter?

    The details of opting out are currently under development at the BWL.

    Why can’t I keep my old meter?

    For both operational efficiency, which keeps your costs lower, and for the future capability of offering Time-of-Use rates, we need to have only one meter in use. This meter needs to be able to track interval usage data. The details of opting out are still under development currently at the BWL.

    With a smart meter, can electric service be connected or disconnected remotely?

    Yes, for residential customers only. For example, if you are moving, you will no longer need to wait for a field service technician, leave your gates open or worry about your pets.

    How do the new meters help the environment?

    They’ll help in several ways. Since meter readers will no longer need to read every meter each month, it will reduce pollution, fuel consumption, and traffic. Also, the meters will let us use new technologies that will allow you to make decisions about using less energy, at your discretion, which can reduce the amount of electricity demand. The water meters will also help reduce waste through water leak detection.

    Will the new meter or RF interfere with my home electronics or medical devices?

    No. BWL is purchasing smart meters that are certified by the FCC and are designed not to interfere with your home electronics or medical devices.

    Will my energy use information remain confidential and safe?

    Yes. Your energy use information will be safely transmitted over secured networks and servers that meet the latest cyber safety guidelines and are the same standards that are currently being used by the US Department of Defense.

    Are smart meter RF fields safe?

    Yes. Key factors for exposure risk are the power and frequency of the emission and the distance from a person. Smart meters emit only about 1 watt and, when installed, no transmitter is located within the home. Cell phones are considered riskier since they’re held to the head.

    Even when meters are grouped together such as at apartment complexes, their RF emissions are low compared to FCC exposure guidelines.


    Courtesy of the APPA

     

    Click here to download these FAQs.

    If you have further questions, please email bsmart@lbwl.com