What is an Analog meter?

An electricity meter or Analog meter is a device that measures the amount of electric energy consumed by a residence, business, or an electrically powered device.
Electricity meters are typically calibrated in billing units, the most common one being the kilowatt hour [kWh]. Periodic readings of electric meters establishes billing cycles and energy used during a cycle. Unlike Smart meters, Analog meters do not have the ability of wireless communications. In order to be powered on or off a technician must visit the site.

Analog meter

Source: Wikipedia

What makes a meter smart?

Smart Meters are equipped with wireless communications technology. This allows utility companies in Texas to communicate with Smart Meters remotely so that certain service requests can be completed faster, such as meter reading, service connections and outage notifications.

Source: AEP

What is a Smart Meter?

A smart meter is usually an electrical meter that records consumption of electric energy in intervals of an hour or less and communicates that information at least daily back to the utility for monitoring and billing purposes.Smart meters enable two-way communication between the meter and the central system. Unlike home energy monitors, smart meters can gather data for remote reporting. Such an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) differs from traditional automatic meter reading (AMR) in that it enables two-way communications with the meter.

smartmeter

Source: Wikipedia

Source of photo: Whatisworking.com

How do I tell if my meter is on or off?

The meter face on your smart meter shows three separate rotating displays. .
Each display flashes for five seconds. The displays include:

  • Status of your electricity service – Is the power on or off?
  • Cumulative electric usage – used by your Retail Electric Provider in bill calculations
  • Electric demand reading – a view for Utility companies operational use only.

Power Status Display

Source: AEP

What is the Advance Meter Fee?

A PUC-authorized charge for electric delivery companies to recover the costs for their Advanced Metering Systems. This charge will be shared among all electricity users who receive an Advanced Meter. This means that regardless of what provider you choose to go with, you will receive this charge. Your monthly charge will be added to your electricity bill for the next several years. For more information, contact your Retail Electric Provider. –PUCT from Website http://www.puc.texas.gov/consumer/electricity/bill_e.aspx

 

What is an “All Inclusive Plan”?

There are two different ways lay out the costs on a bill. The first is “All Inclusive”. This means that the price per kWh on the bill includes all Transmission and Distribution fees and the cost of Electrical Generation. This type of plan allows for easier cost predictions as the price per kWh does not change.

*This fixed price disclosure does not include applicable federal, state and local taxes or any fees (including gross receipt tax reimbursement), other amounts charged by a governmental entity, and all other non-recurring fees. It does not include Advanced Meter Fee.

What Kind of Plans are available and what do I have?

Fixed Rate – A price per KWh that is contracted in for the term of the contract entered. Some REP’s have a clause in their contract that legally allows the price per KWh to be raised if that clause is executed.

Variable Rate (Month to Month)–  A price per KWh that is not guaranteed by a contract, as in a month to month rate. This rate is subject to the energy market or up to the REP. It can go up as high as the REP wishes or go down. This is a very risky energy situation for the consumer.

Prepaid (Month to Month) – Prepaid is a relatively new type of plan. It is a variation of Month to Month as the rate is not fixed. Customers pay for their electricity in advance and they reload their account as they need. This is a good choice for some customers but may not be for everyone.

When can I legally break an Electric Contract?

The Public Utility Commission of Texas states that an electrical contract can be broken without any Early Termination Fee when the customer is moving from one address to another. This fact is not commonly known and it has occurred often enough that a Retail Electric Provider has charged Early Termination Fees to customers because the Retail Electric Provider was not informed that the customer was moving.

The PUCT Law is:

“A contract is limited to service to a customer at a location specified in the contract.

If the customer moves from the location, the customer is under no obligation to

continue the contract at another location.  The REP may require a customer to

provide evidence that it is moving.  There shall be no early termination fee assessed

to the customer as a result of the customer’s relocation if the customer provides a

forwarding address and, if required, reasonable evidence that the customer no longer

occupies the location specified in the contract.”

– CHAPTER 25. SUBSTANTIVE RULES APPLICABLE TO ELECTRIC  SERVICE PROVIDERS.

Subchapter R. CUSTOMER PROTECTION
(c) General Retail Electric Provider requirements.
(2) General contracting requirements.
(C)
http://www.puc.texas.gov/agency/rulesnlaws/subrules/electric/25.475/25.475.pdf

How do I get a Meter Permit passed?

The property owner must contact the city and request an inspection which gets scheduled by the city. After the inspection gets passed, the city will inform the Transmission and Distribution Provider that the meter has passed inspection. From here, the TDSP will inform the Retail Electric Provider, then a new electricity order can be submitted. This process can take some time depending on the city.