Smart Meters FAQ

Do I own my electric meter?

Electric meters are owned, installed, and maintained by SMECO as a condition of providing electric service to the customer. The meter base and service entrance cables are the customer’s responsibility. A qualified electrician should make repairs to the meter base and service entrance cables to ensure the system provides safe, reliable service.

What do I do if the power goes out?

Smart meters are capable of notifying SMECO when your power is out and when it comes back on. To report an outage or check for status updates, go to SMECO's outage map. You may report your outage by texting OUT to 76326 (SMECO), or by contacting SMECO through our automated system at (877) 74-SMECO ((877) 747-6326) or our Customer Care Center at (888) 440-3311.

What if I don’t want a smart meter?

If you want to opt out of SMECO’s smart meter installation, contact SMECO at (888) 440-3311. You will then receive a letter confirming your choice to opt out. The letter explains the cost: an initial fee of $75 and a monthly charge of $17. (The $75 fee may be paid in three monthly installments. That means your first three bills will have additional charges of $42, then starting with the fourth bill, the ongoing charge will be $17 per month.) Only residential and small commercial customers with single-phase service may opt out.

If you opt out, SMECO will remove the existing meter, review the condition of the meter base and service conductors, and install a basic digital meter.

How do you know that the billing usage data being sent wirelessly is actually my data and does not belong to my neighbor?

When data is collected from a meter and transmitted wirelessly to SMECO, the data contains specific unique identifiers associated with the customer’s meter number and service address.

These fields are validated numerous times to ensure accuracy before the data is used for billing. This process is similar to cell phone technology; each cell phone has a unique number that goes with every communication which is used to identify a cell tower and connect your call to the correct location.

How do I know smart meters measure energy use accurately?

Smart meter technology has been thoroughly tested by manufacturers and utilities using a wide range of tests and equipment to ensure that the meters adhere to the established meter accuracy guidelines set by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST).

SMECO smart meters are tested by the manufacturer, and SMECO tests a random sample of meters before they are installed. Tests have shown that smart meters are very accurate.

Is the smart meter network secure?

Security is a top priority for SMECO. We take all reasonable and necessary steps to ensure the services we provide are extremely secure. SMECO’s smart meters operate on a secure and private radio network, and data is encrypted to enforce security.

Can the smart meter control my appliances?

No, SMECO’s smart meters cannot be used to control your appliances. Like SMECO’s basic digital meters, they measure whole-house energy use.

The SMECO CoolSentry program is a separate program for reducing peak demand during the summer. Customers who choose to participate in the program have a programmable thermostat or a device on the heat pump/AC outdoor unit, and they receive electric bill credits during the summer.

How do smart meters communicate?

SMECO’s smart meters use a radio signal to communicate, just like a cell phone, cordless phone, or other devices in your house that use radio signals (aka, radio frequency or RF), such as these:

  • Laptop computer or Wi-Fi wireless router
  • Baby monitor or walkie-talkie
  • Remote controlled (or radio-controlled) toys
  • Garage door opener
  • Kindle, iPad, or other mobile devices while online

The transmissions from these communication devices, like those from smart meters, are harmless when the device is used as designed.

  • Smart meters use a very low wattage to transmit information
  • Under normal circumstances, they only transmit once per hour
  • They only transmit for 1/10 of a second, normally less than 5 seconds per day

The manufacturers of SMECO’s smart meters test their equipment to ensure compliance with U.S. government standards for safe operation.