Society as a whole might not be getting smarter, but at least that is occurring with new electrical devices now finding their way to locations in Surry County.
“We have just recently started AMI (advanced metering infrastructure)/smart meter installations in Mount Airy and in Surry County,” Duke Energy spokeswoman Grace Rountree acknowledged Friday.
“This technology is exciting because it helps us deliver more tailored programs and tools that directly benefit customers,” Rountree added of benefits such as allowing customers to see detailed usage data daily.
“We’re investing in smart meters that will give customers faster, real-time information — how much energy they use and when — so they can make better decisions about their energy use and save money on their energy bills.”
Present metering technology only provides usage information when the bill is delivered.
Smart meters, on the other hand, can supply customers with usage information and alerts sooner, so they can take steps to save energy before it shows up on their bills, according to information provided by Rountree.
The new meters also are said to offer more bill-lowering tools for customers. This includes the ability to choose one’s billing due date, as well as alerts allowing customers to set up an email or text notification that tells them their current estimated bill amount and projected amount for a particular billing cycle.
In addition, smart meters are designed to improve outage reporting, allowing faster response times and speeding up repairs. The devices further include an option that enables starts or stoppages in service to occur remotely, without an appointment.
The smart meter installation has only recently gotten under way in Surry County.
“It’s just started in the last few weeks,” Rountree said Friday. “This is an approximation, but we are about a quarter of the way complete for installations in the Surry County area.”
She mentioned that at locations not yet serviced, customers can expect to receive a postcard from Duke Energy about two to three weeks before their meters are exchanged.
The postcard states that customers do not have to be present or make an appointment for the installation process, which can cause a brief interruption in service. Duke Energy employees and contractors carry photo ID cards at all times, according to the postcard.
Installations in Surry County are part of an effort by Duke Energy Carolinas to deploy smart meters across its entire service area. By the time this work is complete in 2019, more than two million meters will have been installed.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.