RG&E to begin smart meter installation in Rochester region next week
ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Next week, RG&E will begin installing smart meters across its Rochester Central division, which includes areas of Monroe, Orleans, Wayne, Livingston, and Genesee counties. Customers in Greece and parts of Southeast Rochester are first on the list for the switch over. RG&E is planning to transition about 20,000 customers at a time, which means it will take about three years to hit every home.
Customers will get a postcard a few weeks before their neighborhood is scheduled, and then a robocall the day before. If RG&E can access the electric and/or natural gas meter outside, you do not need to be present to have the meters upgraded. If the utility is unable to complete the upgrade, its technicians will leave a door hanger with contact information so customers can schedule an appointment time.
If the company is unable to gain access to install the new meter after several visits, phone calls, and mailings to a home or business, the customer will automatically be enrolled in the opt-out program and charged the opt-out fee of $11.56/per month.
“The electric meter has to be changed out because it’s basically a mini computer,” explains Angie Capps, the manager of NY Meter Services for RG&E and NYSEG. “On the gas meter, we’re going add a radio to the existing gas meter for most of our customers.”
“The gas meters collect a read every hour and the electric meters are already energized and they will send us readings every 15 minutes,” Capps explains. Within a few months of installation, usage data should be available for customers to view on their online accounts.
Every smart meter that RG&E installs in New York State has to go through the NYS Public Service Commission’s approval process to be tested for accuracy.
“We sample test selected meters every year, a true random sample of our entire meter population for accuracy,” says Capps.
Eventually, customers will likely be able to use the usage data to reduce their electricity consumption during peak hours to save money.
RG&E says the transition to smart meters should also help alleviate some of the issues its has been experiencing with estimated reads vs. actual reads and how those impact the billing system.
Jennifer Lewke (News10NBC) – So many customers have experienced so many issues with RG&E, that I think this roll-out of smart meters has them maybe more worried than they would have been a couple of years ago. How do you assure people that as you’re going through these customer service and billing issues and trying to dig yourself out of that, that this is going to be a smooth transition?
Shelby Cohen (RG&E/NYSEG) –Absolutely, you know we’ve talked many times about this Jennifer, about the journey we’re on with customer service. What we know about RG&E and our 175 year legacy in the Rochester area is that our first priority is providing safe, reliable electric service and this is part of that. The smart meters will give us better, clearer data to use for billing…Just as you’ve seen improvements in customer service as we have told you we were going to make, this is something that we are focused on and we are rolling out with great care.
Jennifer Lewke – We know you put a new billing system in, are the kinks worked out of that before the connection is made with the new meters? Are we sure that billing system is up and ready and running properly?
Shelby Cohen – What this will do is greatly reduce the amount of estimated reads and those estimates reads are connected to a lot of the billing issues that you have seen.
RG&E is hosting open houses now throughout the region to provide residents, business owners, municipal officials, and other interested parties details about the installation of smart meters, including its scope of work, timeline, and customer impacts.
For more information on smart meters, FAQs, videos, installation information and resources, click here.