Between 2010 and 2012, the Nevada Energy replaced over 1 million electric meters with smart meters. The digital devices collect usage data and unlike their analog predecessors, receive and transmit data too. Customers can easily view their billing information online using a MyWeb tool. The meters are also able to monitor electrical systems much more quickly. Smart meters even eliminated the need for manual monthly meter readings. Not all Nevada residents are convinced the meters are a good thing. The meters have received a cold reception from Nevada residents who claim the meters are inaccurate and dangerous. Let’s take a closer look at smart meters and the controversies surrounding them:
One of the key features of the smart meters is their two-way communication between the meters and NV Energy. Readings are sent once every half hour resulting in as much as 48 times a day. NV Energy is governed by law to protect consumer data and claims that all information is submitted via a secured system.
NV Energy advocates that smart meters are beneficial to customers for the ability to monitor their electrical usage. Customers can identify where they are wasting energy and by reducing waste, they can save on their next electric bill. NV Energy also cites the environmental impact of reducing the need for power plants and less pollution from vehicles driven by meter readers.
Smart meters have blamed for health issues, fires, increased bills, and invasion of privacy. Health claims range from loss of hair to insomnia although no health issues have directly been related to the meters. A rash of fires in 2012 had local community leaders questioning the safety of smart meters even though no fires were connected to the meters. Advocacy groups and websites popped up in protest against the meters. Misinformation flooded the web as speculation and fear about the meters grew. Reports such as that of a 64-year-old woman who died in a fire possibly related to a smart meter were indeed, scary stuff.
A large majority of Nevada homes have the smart meters installed. However, due to public outcry, the Public Utilities Commission voted to allow Nevada residents to opt-out of the smart meters. Residents opting out will receive refurbished analog meters. The refurbished meters are incapable of storing data, are non-communicating, and must be read manually. Known as the “Non-Standard Metering Option,” residents choosing to opt-out of smart meters will pay a one-time installation fee and a monthly fee. For Southern Nevada residents, the installation fee is $52.86 with a monthly fee of $8.82. Northern Nevada residents have an installation fee of $52.44 and a monthly fee of $8.72. Residents choosing to opt-out will receive their refurbished meter within approximately 20 days of the request.
The introduction of smart meters caused alarm and outrage in Nevada yet a majority of Nevada homes have smart meters installed. To better educate residents about smart meters, Nevada Energy has a list of frequently asked questions on their website. The questions range from defining what a smart meter is and what it does to how to start the opt-out option process. By educating themselves as much as possible from reliable sources, Nevada Energy customers can make their own decisions about smart meters.
Saving energy is important for the planet and our bank account. Updating electrical needs in your home should be a top priority for 2018. No matter what type of meter you have, ensuring that there are electrical outlets aren’t overloaded and that there are no frayed wires in your walls is something we can help with. Contact us today for a free estimate or simply go online and complete the request a quote form.