Smart Meter FAQS

What is an advanced meter?

An advanced meter is a digital device that not only reads usage data for electricity and water, but transmits that data to us over a secure wireless network. Unlike the current analog meters, advanced meters do not need to be read by a meter reader and provides two-way communication for improved inefficiencies and outage management. 

Is that the same as a smart meter?

Yes, these meters are sometimes referred to as "smart meters." The word "smart" is often being used in the utility industry because the technology being installed is helping make the power grid and distribution system smarter.

Why do the meters need to be changed?

Unfortunately, our current meter infrastructure is aging and needs to be replaced. Instead of replacing the meters with a similar product, we looked at making an investment in state-of-the art infrastructure that will provide long-term reliability and greater benefits to our residents and businesses. Doing so with advanced meters will enable us to provide a higher level of service and quicker response times.

Will my account and usage information remain confidential?

Our system adheres to the best practices and standards for cyber security and privacy. Our meters and associated communications system also are encrypted and equipped with security measures to prevent unauthorized access and detect attempts at theft.
Moreover, companies, from utilities to developers, are working with federal agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Energy, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology, to strengthen privacy and security standards to provide even more safeguards for consumer protection.

I heard that advanced meters are not as reliable as analog meters?
This has been a common myth as these meters are installed. Advanced meters are rigorously tested for accuracy even before they leave the manufacturing plant. They are subject to strict manufacturing design standards set by the American National Standards Institute. It has been found that advanced meters are often more accurate than analog meters.

Are advanced meters safe?
Yes, advanced meters are safe. They must meet safety requirements and standards as defined by the National Electric Safety Code. These meters are installed only by trained professionals, who exercise standard safety precautions.

Do advanced meters pose a health threat because of the wireless communication?
No, in fact, no credible evidence shows any threat to human health from radio frequency emissions at or below radio frequency exposure limits developed by the Federal Communication Commission (FCC). With over 25,000 articles published on the topic over the last 30 years, scientific knowledge in this area is now more extensive than for most chemicals.

Will the meter or communication system interfere with my home or business equipment?
Advanced meters should not adversely affect the stability or performance of home wireless networks. The FCC regulates all electronics to prevent one type of electronic equipment from interfering with other electronic and wireless devices that operate in the same frequency band.

Will implementing this program raise my bill?
Implementing the AMI program is not expected to raise our customers' rates. It will, however, help our customers become more engaged in their electricity/water usage and help them better manage their usage, which could save money in the long run.

How did City of Seaford determine the need for this program?

After careful review of our current infrastructure, including operations and maintenance expenses, it was determined that implementing the AMI program would help reduce costs and allow us to utilize advanced technology to improve our business operations. We presented this information to Council who carefully reviewed the proposal and approved the project. Because we are a member of American Municipal Power, we also were able to purchase the meters and communication components under an aggregated purchasing agreement with its vendors/partners. This not only reduced our costs, but reduced the risk associated with implementing this type of program.
What is Distribution Automation?

Distribution automation, using a host of various technologies, including sensors, processors, switches and communication networks, improves reliability by reducing the number of customers affected by an outage and the amount of time a customer is without power.

Will the new meter be larger or smaller than my old meter?

The old meter and new meter are the same size.

Why do I need a new meter?
The new meter will get your lights back on more quickly and more safely during power out-ages. It will help the City operate more efficiently, reduce electric waste and provide customers with more detailed information on their electricity use. It will provide more real-time reports for those without power during a power outage to assist us in restoring power to all customers by giving us the exact location of the outage.