Electric Smart Meters

My electric utility will be installing them over the next 2 years. These meters will provide the number of kilowatts used. Meter readers will be no longer needed. These meters will inform the utility of outages that occur. And they can be shut off from the main office. The customer will be billed a .21/month “surcharge on their monthly electric
bill to help pay for the smart meters.” I suppose the utility feels the labor savings is insufficient savings; thus the surcharge.
The total cost to replace the old meters with smart meters is $146 million.


A year or so after the smart meters are installed, expect the utility to begin billing based on time of use. That is one of the main reasons (other than eliminating the meter readers) for installing smart meters.

Not only will the utility know how many kilowatt-hours you use each month, but they will also know the times those kwh were consumed. They will then be able to charge you more for the kwh used during “high demand” times of the day. This is usually in the late afternoon and early evening. Here in San Diego, the high demand time is designated as between 4 pm and 9 pm. This is when most residential customers are cooking and eating their evening meal, then spending a few hours watching TV, listening to music, or using the computer.

  • Pete

Can they also shut off your electricity if necessary? If so, could they be hacked by malicious souls?



I wouldn’t think so; to get ours they merely replaced the glass bowl with the spinning disk with a different glass bowl with a spinning disk. I would think you would have to have some kind of monster switching apparatus to kill 400 amps of service remotely. (The physical switch is a giant circuit breaker on an outside panel, double gang, larger than any in your home.)

We’ve had them for several years, and other than increasing prices because of fuel, haven’t seen any movement towards “time of day” pricing. They do say that they are building out fiber-optic cable to better monitor, which is a laugh because you could do that with a twister copper pair “and we may explore other uses for surplus capacity on the fiber-optic”, which means I might finally get competition for Comcast. As much as I’m not a fan of the electric utility, I’m a bigger not fan of Comcast.


Ayup. Detroit Edison replace my electric meter with a “smart” meter a few years ago.

Received this e-mail last week: " DTE, and the state of Michigan, are moving to a Time of Day rate in March 2023 to better fit our customers’ unique needs… Rates are lower before 3 p.m. or after 7 p.m. weekdays"

So, clearly, I turn off my A/C, on the rare occasions when I run it at all, between those hours. People who aren’t cheap will buy a programmable thermostat.



Funny! There’s a bit more to it than a glass bowl with spinning disks, but I like your consumer view!

You are indeed correct that smart meters not only allow remote meter reading and time of day usage, but they also play a critical role in consumer generated power such as found with solar panels and such. I worked for National Grid a large NE/NY and UK power company for a couple of years (couldn’t stand it) on their smart metering program and it was quite a challenge to first get all of their meter data in one spot and then ensure that it was accurate before rolling out the meter program.

Another thing that smart meters can do? Shut off your electricity remotely.

This wikipedia article also speaks of smart meter security issues.

→ also not a fan of Comcast


Here is a news article from several years ago. From the link:
"PG&E had used /SmartMeter/ technology to cut off electricity to the family because the family was not keeping up with its bills. Some say shutoffs will happen more frequently now as more SmartMeters are installed. "

% % % % %

If computers are involved, I would think the possibility of hacking always exists. The wiki article that 38Packard provided in this thread describes the vulnerabilities and security in more detail.

  • Pete
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In much of the east (Baltimore and New Jersey at least) the power company puts a box on your AC compressor. They send signals by FM radio to control it. When peak power usage is high, it allows them to shut down your compressor for 15 or 20 minute intervals. Your fan works but no cool air for a while.

They pay you a monthly fee for allowing this service. $5/mo. It lets the power company trim peak demand. Works well. Few complaints.

They have been doing this at least since the 1980s. This not new. Just the latest implementation.