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Smart meters helping power customers save on energy bill

SRP smart meters (SRP Photo).

Smart meters are helping Valley residents cut back on their energy bill.

These meters, which are installed in nearly all Valley homes, allow power companies to remotely gather usage information from customers without having to send someone out to take a meter reading. About 1.1 million Arizona Public Service (APS) customers have the meters. All but 500 Salt River Project (SRP) customers have the meters installed. The meters allow power companies to provide instant usage data to customers.

“We have the ability to provide them more up-to-date usage information if they’re interested in how they’re using electricity from an efficiency perspective,” said Scott Bordenkircher, director of Technology, Innovation and Integration for APS.

For SRP customers, smart meters enable them to choose on-peak and off-peak usage times.

“By shifting the time that they use power, they can save money,” said Michael Mendonca, senior director of revenue cycle services for SRP. “Typically customers on these programs save about 4 (percent) to 8 percent annually on their bill.”

While these meters have benefited both customers and power companies, not everyone has jumped on board. Bordenkircher said some APS customers had concerns about health risks associated with the radio frequency used to obtain data from the meters.

Mendonca said some SRP customers opted out of the smart meter program. Those customers pay a $20 monthly fee. Mendonca said those customers get a manual meter reading. Both companies are optimistic about the future of smart meters.

“We look forward to be able to provide more and more data to customers and insights to customers to help them know and understand their usage,” Mendonca said.

“As we truck towards the future as a society, hopefully (we will) able to offer customer programs that provide even more opportunities for them to understand their energy usage,” Bordenkircher said.

 

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