PSEG-LI has nearly completed installation of new meters in the Huntington area that it says will improve the accuracy of readings and the efficiency of collecting data on power use.
And while some homeowners say the new meters have increased their bills, the utility cites other possible factors, such as visiting guests, a change in weather or other possibilities for those reporting an increase in usage.
Lou Debrino, director of meter services for PSEG-LI, said, "From a technical perspective, the meters are very very accurate. They have a very stringent standard of accuracy. They go through strict testing. When they are delivered to us they go through a whole process" to verify that they work correctly. "We don't have any reason to doubt accuracy of new meters."
One of the advantages of the smart meters, Debrino said, was that they are significantly more accurate, allowing customers to track their own power usage. "They can view data on almost an hourly basis and can alter usage patterns," he said.
A plus from the utility's perspective is that it will no longer have to send teams or workers out to read meters. "Fewer workers in the field means fewer dog bites and bee stings," he said. Meter readers will be retrained for other jobs, he said.
Another benefit, he said, is that the utility is able to monitor temperatures of meters, and have, in a couple of cases, been able to warn customers that they had an electrical overload.
The utility is also able to identify outages and restorations more efficiently, meaning that "It allows us, with single outages, we can ping the meter and see if customers have been restored, eliminating truck rolls." Another issue some customers have raised is privacy, but Debrino said, "We did a cybersecurity risk, and there were no findings that would raise any issues about data privacy." Customers with complaints about their bills or questions about the new meters can call PSEG's customer service line. The utility ran a campaign to notify customers that the new meters were coming. Homeowners can opt out of the new devices, but then will have to pay a separate fee each month to have their meters read.
Debrino said that very few customers rejected the installation of new meters. He said the rollout of the meters has gone well. "We had initially envisioned over 4 years deployment but now project it to be 95 percent by September. We've done well."
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