Smart Grid and Smart Meters
The key to saving money and energy is understanding how you use energy.
As we serve your energy needs today, we are also thinking about Long Island’s needs in the future. That’s why PSEG Long Island doing its part by modernizing the energy grid that delivers power to your home or business. We’re implementing new technology that uses two-way communications, automation, a new outage management system and smart meters. Bringing these new technologies to Long Island and the Rockaways will enhance service by providing long-term reliability and ways to help you save energy and control costs.
Benefits of new technologies
Electric system upgrades:
- Greater efficiency reduces the need for new power sources
- Two-way communication for timely information and faster power restoration
- Identify and isolate problems on the system, reducing number of outages
- Detailed electric usage data in 15-minute intervals
- Data provides better understanding of usage to help you control costs
- Eliminates the need for estimated bills and reduces billing errors
- Easier to monitor the savings from installing energy efficient equipment
Frequently Asked Questions
What is this new technology?
It’s the use of digital technology and two-way communications, often referred to as the Smart Grid, to improve the reliability and efficiency of the energy grid. Ultimately it saves energy and reduces costs for consumers. With advanced monitoring and control capabilities, these new technologies can identify problems instantly and route electricity around them to minimize outages. PSEG Long Island and other electric utilities across the country and in many parts of the world have been moving toward achieving a Smart Grid through investments in infrastructure and equipment.
Why is PSEG Long Island investing in new technologies?
While the energy grid we operate is already highly automated, these new technologies are designed to further increase electric reliability and provide you with tools to help you better understand and manage your energy use to lower costs.
What is a Smart Meter?
A Smart Meter is an integral part of the entire Smart Grid. Traditionally, an electric meter is a device that measures the amount of electricity used, with the need to send someone to the meter periodically to record readings. A Smart Meter offers two-way, automated communications between the meter and the utility. Meter readings are captured automatically, eliminating estimated bills. Plus, you gain a better understanding your energy usage thanks to almost real-time usage information. Smart Meters also improve reliability and speed up power restoration by notifying us automatically when power is off and confirming when it’s back on.
How does a Smart Meter send its data?
These meters transmit data wirelessly using Radio Frequency (RF) transmissions, similar to that used by cell phones and wireless laptop computers. Unlike cell phones and laptops, Smart Meters do not constantly send transmissions; only four times a day for a combined total of less than one second. Smart Meters are not kept close to your body like a cell phone or laptop and the power of the RF signal decreases exponentially as the distance from the meter increases.
What will change with Smart Meters?
There will be no noticeable change to your service, except that PSEG Long Island will begin to record your electricity usage remotely. Once Smart Meters are fully functional, meter reader visits will cease and you’ll have online access to your daily usage down to 15-minute intervals.
What does having a Smart Meter mean to me?
A Smart Meter will support tools that show you detailed information about electricity use. This helps pinpoint exactly when energy dollars are being spent to better manage energy use and control costs. You may choose to participate in different rate options that provide benefits for shifting energy use to certain times of the day.
What will PSEG Long Island do with customer data?
Any information collected to be analyzed by PSEG Long Island is aggregate data that is not linked to any specific customer. We treat each customer's personal information and data as confidential. In fact, customers’ personal information is limited within PSEG Long Island to only those employees performing specific tasks on a “need to know” basis.
How does PSEG Long Island protect Smart Meter information?
Protecting our customers' information is a top priority. PSEG Long Island has invested and continues to invest significant resources in cyber security. Following a best practices approach, PSEG Long Island applies multiple layers of security controls and processes designed to identify and protect against potential system vulnerabilities posed by people, technology, and operations. PSEG Long Island adheres to industry standards such as Critical Infrastructure Protection (CIP) set by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) and uses state of the art cyber security tools such as cryptographic methods approved by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). Additionally, PSEG Long Island actively participates in collaborative associations and research forums with other utilities, academic institutions, government entities and vendors to ensure that our security architecture and processes continue to deter future threats.
How long does it take to install an Smart Meter?
It takes less than 15 minutes to install a Smart Meter at a home and up to 60 minutes at a business.
Will my electric service be interrupted while an Smart Meter is being installed?
Not for most business customers. Some business and residential customers may experience a brief interruption, which would require that you reset digital clocks and other devices that have digital timers.
When can I expect to get an Smart Meter?
Building the infrastructure to support the Smart Grid and Smart Meters is a multi-year effort. The initial roll out of Smart Meters involves our large commercial customers. With the greatest energy consumption, they offer the greatest opportunity for reducing energy use and carbon emissions. Homes with solar power are also included, because Smart Meters provide a better way to evaluate the impact of power being sent into the electric system. As we roll out these meters, we will continuously evaluate customer response as well as the benefits and costs before proceeding onto the next phase.
How will I know when the meter will be replaced?
You will be notified, either by mail or email, prior to the meter being replaced. When our technicians have completed the installation, a door hanger will be left to let you know. We will always provide a phone number in case you have any additional questions.
Do I need to be present when the meter is replaced?
Most electric meters are located outside so you will not need to be present when the meter is replaced. If your meter is located indoors, you can call us at the number provided in our letter or email to arrange an appointment. In either case, our technicians will need unobstructed access to the meter.
Will the installation of the Smart Meter impact my bill cycle?
Most customers will see no impact at all. For most business customers and in limited other cases, during the billing cycle in which the meter is installed, there may be two separate bills:
- Bill #1 - will include the period from your prior bill to the date of the meter change
- Bill #2 - will include the period from the date of the meter change to your next scheduled bill date.
This simply splits your PSEG Long Island cost for this billing period into two statements. After this, you will receive one bill each billing period.
What will happen to my bill?
There’s no charge for an Smart Meter, so there’s no effect on your bill. In fact, the new information and services made possible by the meter could help you lower your bills. There’s also the benefit of remote meter readings, which eliminate estimated bills. Finally, Smart Meters provide greater billing accuracy because they are digital with few moving parts.
What do Smart Meters do for the electric system?
One of the many benefits of Smart Meters is increased electric service reliability. A lot of work goes into keeping the power on 24/7, but outages cannot be completely prevented. Today, we usually need you to contact us and tell us when your power is out. A Smart Meter will send us a signal to let us know. The meter can then confirm when power is back on. Smart Meters allow us to get power back on faster and even give us advanced notice of power problems.
What is PSEG Long Island doing to ensure the quality and performance of Smart Meters?
PSEG Long Island reviews factory test results and performs its own laboratory and field operation quality-control testing to ensure that all meters, including Smart Meters, are safe, accurate and functional.
Can I read my Smart Meter to determine my energy usage?
Yes. The Smart Meter digital display will cycle through three different screens. Each screen stays visible for five seconds. Look for the screen that displays "001" in the upper left-hand corner. For residential and small commercial customers, this screen shows the traditional meter reading that you may already be familiar with. Over time, some customers will receive online and other tools that will also track usage and even more information that will be presented in an easy-to-use format.
How specific is the information about my electricity use?
A Smart Meter measures your electricity use in 15-minute intervals. This information is available to you on our website to help you monitor your electricity use and understand how it affects your cost. The measurement is based on your overall electricity use, and is not specific to any particular appliance or electrical device.
Are these new meters being used in other parts of the country?
Yes, utility companies across the nation are looking for ways to deliver more reliability and the environmental benefits of reducing energy use and have begun to install these types of meters.
If I move, can I take my Smart Meter with me?
No, the meter will remain at the location at which it was originally installed just as a traditional meter.
If I have an electric vehicle, will the Smart Meter impact my charging?
No. The Smart Meter will have no impact on the charging of electric vehicles. It will record the energy used by the charging station just as it would any other appliance in your home.
What are the possible health effects of radio-frequency emissions from Smart Meters?
Smart meters transmit data only four times per day with relatively weak radio signals as compared to those emitted by cell phones, baby monitors and laptop computers with wireless Internet connections. Radio waves from a Smart Meter, at a distance of 10 feet, are only about one one-thousandth (.001) as strong as those of a typical cell phone. Smart meters are outside, separated by exterior walls. To match the impact of radio wave exposure from a typical cell phone in one month, it would require more than 1,000 years of exposure to a SmartMeter.
Can I “opt-out” of getting an Smart Meter?
Smart Meters will be installed to support operational performance and customer satisfaction. Residential customers billed on Rate 180 will be allowed to opt-out at no charge by notifying PSEG Long Island in writing. Residential customers with a Net Meter (used for homes with solar power), time-of-use rates or retail choice programs and commercial customers may not opt-out.