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Smart Meter Q & A

Q.What is a Smart Meter?
A.A Smart Meter is an electricity meter capable of measuring electricity consumption as well as additional information (cumulative consumption, peak demand, alarm flags, etc.). The meters also include a communication module that transmits information back to the utility.
Q.What is an AMI system?
A.Georgia Power’s AMI (advanced metering infrastructure) system is an automated electronic metering and meter communication system that enables them to remotely read a customer’s meter without having a meter reader visit the property. The AMI system allows Georgia Power to help deliver current and future benefits to customers including the ability to monitor their energy use online.
Q.When did Georgia Power receive Commission approval to replace its mechanical meters with Smart Meters?
A.The Georgia Public Service Commission approved Georgia Power’s request to replace its 2.5 million mechanical meters with new digital AMI or smart meters in 2007. As part of a six year rollout, Georgia Power will install a smart meter for all customers located on its distribution system.
Q.When did Georgia Power begin installing the Smart Meters, and when are the installations expected to be completed?
A.Georgia Power began the smart meter installations in 2007. They expect to complete all remaining smart meter installations in 2014.
Q.How are Georgia Power’s customers notified that their mechanical meter is about to be replaced with a new Smart Meter?
A.Customers should receive a letter in the mail from Georgia Power stating that smart meters are about to be installed in the customer’s area. Automated calls to customers are done approximately one week prior to the smart meter installation.
Q.How will I as a customer benefit from AMI and Smart Meters?
A.There are several benefits for customers. Current AMI and Smart Meter customer benefits include:
  • Fewer visits to a customer’s premise: Georgia Power can read the meter and generate a bill without having to send a meter reader to visit the customer’s property on a regular basis.
  • Better meter maintenance: Georgia Power can check meters remotely to ensure that they are working properly.
  • Prompt service: Smart Meters allow Georgia Power to respond more promptly to a customer’s service request, such as starting or stopping electric service.
  • Fewer vehicles: Since a meter reader is no longer required to physically visit the customer’s premise, the number of vehicles on the road is minimized, reducing pollution, traffic and fuel savings.
  • Outage Notification: In the event of a power outage in your area, the information received from the Smart Meter will help Georgia Power better manage power restoration to its customers.
Q.Are the wireless, radio-frequency (RF) signals used by the smart metering system safe?
A.Yes. The smart 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, cordless phones, or Wi-Fi home computer networks. Smart Meters emit only a fraction of the power identified in the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) guidelines for safe RF energy exposure.
Q.Can I request to keep my old mechanical meter installed or switch back to a mechanical meter?
A.Yes. On December 17, 2013 the Commission approved a Smart Meter Opt-Out tariff as part of Georgia Power's 2013 rate case. Customers who opt out of having a smart meter installed and prefer to maintain a mechanical meter at their residence or facility can now do so with a basic service charge of $19 per month. Customers can request removal of their smart meters by calling 1-800-642-5172 or emailing G2SMARTMTR@southernco.com.
Q.With Georgia Power using this new technology, will my usage data be shared with a third party?
A.No. Your usage information will not be shared with a third party and will remain private between Georgia Power and its customers.

For more information on Smart Meters, please see the Commission’s Consumer Corner

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