FAQs

What is a smart meter?

A smart meter is a digital meter equipped with two-way communication technology that provides near real-time meter readings. It securely transfers usage information to I&M for billing and operational purposes. A smart meter improves billing accuracy and gives you the ability to better manage your energy use.

How will I benefit from having a smart meter?

A smart meter allows you to take control of your energy cost. Energy use and cost information can be viewed from your smart phone, tablet or laptop. A smart meter simplifies the billing process by eliminating estimated bills. It also provides the ability to start or stop electric service without scheduling a field visit to come to your home.

When will I receive a smart meter?

You will be notified at least 60-days in advance and in multiple ways including via mail, email, phone and in-person. The communication schedule includes:

  • Postcard – 60 days or more before installation
  • Email – 45 days or more before installation
  • Letter – about 30 days before installation
  • Phone call / message – 10 days before installation
  • In-person – day of installation
  • Door Hanger – day of installation
  • Welcome Letter – about 30 days after installation
  • Understanding Your Smart Meter Letter - about 90 days after installation
Do I need to be home when you install the new meter?

No. A meter technician will leave a door hanger indicating the result of the meter change. Please leave a clear path for the technician, including unlocking gates, keeping pets indoors and removing objects from around the meter base on the day of installation. Appointments for special circumstances will be handled on a case by case basis.

Will my power be interrupted during the installation?

You will experience a brief power outage when I&M replaces the meter. We expect the interruption to be no longer than a few minutes.

What will my smart meter display tell me?

Smart meters have an easy-to-read digital display with three separate rotating displays:

  • One display will show your total electric usage in kilowatt-hours (kWh). This is the amount of energy that has flowed through your meter since it was installed. I&M uses this information to calculate your bill.
  • The next rotating display, which includes a decimal point, shows the electricity demand reading in kilowatts (kW). This is used for operational purposes (it is not used for calculating your bill).
  • The last display will show whether your electric service is on or off. If the display says “CLOSED” your power is on. If the display says “OPEN” your service has been interrupted.
Will I have to pay to have the new meter installed?

There is no additional cost to have a smart meter installed.

Why is my meter being replaced?

The electric grid is being upgraded to take advantage of new technologies and offer more benefits to our customers. Smart meters also enhance customer service through remote capabilities; providing faster meter readings and service connections.

What makes a meter “smart”?

Smart meters are equipped with secure wireless communications technology. This allows I&M to communicate with the smart meters remotely. Meter readings, service connections and outage notifications can all be done remotely.

Will my meter still be “read” each month?

Once installed, the smart meter will be read automatically. However, I&M employees may at times require access to the meter. These visits include periodic maintenance, safety and quality inspections.

Will the smart meter interfere with home equipment?

All communications equipment meets criteria set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The smart meter should not interfere with any equipment inside a home or business.

Is my smart meter account information secure?

The meters and their communications are encrypted and equipped with security features to prevent unauthorized access. In fact, I&M must meet mandatory cybersecurity standards. I&M follows strict standards of the Information Technology guidelines of the National Institute for Standards and Technology (“NIST”).

How can smart meters help me save energy?

Today, you learn about the level of your energy use once a month, when you receive your statement. With smart meters, you can view your energy use by the hour, by the day or monthly to assist you in managing your energy cost. Smart meters also allow I&M to send high usage alerts when it is determined that your bill is projected to exceed a similar billing period based on your usage history.

I understand that smart meters use radio frequency communication. Is this safe?

Numerous studies have demonstrated smart meters do not pose a health risk. Radio Frequencies (RF) emitted by digital meters are well below the limits set by the FCC and are well below emissions produced by other common household devices like cell phones, microwaves and baby monitors.

The American Cancer Society notes that smart meters send and receive signals only about 1 percent of the time. They also add that radio frequencies from a smart meter are “much less than what you could be exposed to from a cell phone.”

Are smart meters accurate?

Yes. Smart meters go through the same rigorous tests as the traditional meters before they are installed. Both are also required to follow the same standards for accuracy.

How can I receive more information about a smart meter?

If you would like more information about smart meters, we can be reached at 800-311-4634 or provide your contact information. We will contact you within two business days.

I live in Michigan, can I refuse to have a smart meter installed?

Yes, you may decline a smart meter. The Michigan Public Service Commission approved a $9.75 monthly fee for customers who do not want a smart meter installed. The $9.75 monthly fee goes towards the costs associated with sending an I&M representative to read the meter. This charge will be applied to your monthly bill and payment of this fee will be required to maintain service. Failure to pay may result in disconnection.

If you’d like more information about opting out, please provide your contact information. We will contact you within two business days.

I live in Indiana, can I refuse to have a smart meter installed?

Yes, you may decline a smart meter. The Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission approved a $16.48 monthly fee for customers who do not want a smart meter installed. The $16.48 monthly fee goes towards the costs associated with sending an I&M representative to read the meter. This charge will be applied to your monthly bill and payment of this fee will be required to maintain service. Failure to pay may result in disconnection.

In Indiana, the monthly fee will be waived if the customer chooses to report their monthly usage to I&M by voluntarily enrolling in the Self-read program. Failure to report usage accurately or on time will result in the $16.48 monthly fee being added to your bill.

If you’d like more information about opting out, please provide your contact information. We will contact you within two business days.

How is I&M following all safety standards during the COVID-19 pandemic, including while installing smart meters?

I&M is very mindful of the uncertainties surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. I&M meter technicians’ work will be limited to the meter location. We plan to continue to practice physical distancing for the foreseeable future and follow other guidelines regarding safety and health as prescribed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and guidance and recommendations of the state governments in Michigan and Indiana. For more information on what I&M is doing to address the pandemic and help our customers please go to: www.indianamichiganpower.com/coronavirus.

I&M urges everyone to remember to please take the below additional prevention measures recommended by the CDC as we all work through this uncertain time:

  • Practice physical distancing and stay at least 6-feet away from others when out in the public.
  • Wear masks and appropriate personal protection equipment (PPE).
  • Regularly wash your hands with soap and water.
  • Avoid contact with people who are sick.
  • Stay home when you're sick.
  • Cough or sneeze into your elbow or a tissue. Throw the tissue in the trash and wash your hands.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using cleaning spray or wipes.

Once a smart meter is installed, there will be less of a need for a meter technician to be at your residence or business. For example, rather than send a technician to connect or disconnect a meter when someone moves, the change will be made remotely.

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