Smart Meter Costs and Billing

 Smart Meter Costs and Billing 

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Who’s paying for smart meters?
BGE estimates the cost of the smart meter program for its service area to be $482 million, of which the Department of Energy has provided a $200 million grant to offset the total cost of the program.  By implementing smart meters and related smart grid technology, BGE is investing in the electric distribution system which is for the benefit of our customers. While BGE will seek to recover additional program costs through rate changes that customers will see on their bills, we believe that customers can expect their savings will be significantly greater than any potential costs. Customer savings will come from reduced energy and operating costs as well as the new programs BGE will introduce for customers to help them manage energy use and bills. ​
How much will my smart meter cost me?
You will not have to pay for a smart meter at the time the meter is installed. Any customer charges must be reviewed and approved by the PSC before they can go into effect. We believe that customers can expect their savings will be significantly greater than any potential costs. Customer savings will come from reduced energy and operating costs as well as the new programs BGE will introduce for customers to help them manage energy use and bills. ​
Why didn't I receive a bill this month? Or why did I get an estimated bill this month? My new smart meter was installed and you should be getting readings.
As BGE installs smart meters, we are also building a two-way communications network so the meters can communicate with BGE to provide your electric and gas usage information. It takes time for this communications network to be built in each area, as it is dependent on the number of meters in the area that form the network.  Until the network is fully up and running, electronic readings may be delayed in some cases and some customers may not get a bill for one month, or may receive an estimated bill.  In these cases, we will send an updated bill once we receive the usage information from the meter.
Why don't my start and stop readings show for each of the Time-Of-Use intervals like they did before?
Your new smart meter sends us readings of your energy use throughout each day, so we no longer need to wait for a monthly reading.  You no longer have one “stop” at the end of the billing period and a “start” at the beginning of the billing period.  As we receive the readings from your smart meter, our system will automatically determine the timeframe of your electricity use based on Time of Use periods (on, intermediate and off peak).  Your bill will still be based on how much electricity you use during these specified periods, just as with your previous meter.
Will my smart meter make my energy bills higher?
Smart meters are tested for accuracy and their primary function is measuring power usage.  Similar to your old meter, smart meters will measure the energy that is used by residents of your home.  The meter itself cannot and will not increase your bills. Your bills could actually be lower because smart meters and smart grid technology will provide you with personalized information and tools to decrease your energy usage. Smart meters will reduce the need for BGE to estimate bills. If you find your bill is higher than normal, there may be several reasons for this that are unrelated to your smart meter, including extreme weather conditions. You can contact BGE Customer Relations at 1-800-685-0123 to talk through the possible reasons and identify solutions. Old analog meters can stick or run 'slow' resulting in inaccurate bills. In cases like this, the smart meter will now provide an accurate reading of your energy usage.​​
Will the change have any effect on my bill?
The amount of your bill will continue to reflect the energy you use. In 2013, the BGE bill will be re-designed to accommodate and illustrate many of the enhanced smart meter features. ​​
I heard that BGE is introducing a new pricing program after you install the meters.
Beginning in mid-2013, BGE will introduce a program called Smart Energy Rewards that provides customers who have smart meters the opportunity to earn credits on their bills by reducing energy use at specific times.   During certain days of high energy consumption (such as very hot days), BGE will notify customers who have smart meters that they can choose to reduce their energy use and will receive a credit on their bill based on their reduction.
Why are residents required to pay a monthly fee for the smart meter when BGE is saving money on meter readers’ salaries?
You will not directly be charged for the meter and the installation of the meter, however it is expected that there may be a cost recovery program in which BGE will try to recovery costs through rates.  It is important to note that the benefits to you far exceeds the costs that may occur in rates. Customers with smart meters are not paying any additional fees or rates, and will not see any changes to their bills until the PSC holds a hearing on the cost effectiveness of smart grid.