Web Content Viewer (JSR 286)

Display menu
Loading...

Frequently Asked Questions

Advanced Meters

What is an advanced meter?

Advanced meters measure and record the amount of electricity and/or natural gas used in a home or business, just like the electromechanical meters that have been working on homes and businesses for years. Instead of the gears and dials in older meters, advanced meters use digital technology and have no moving parts. See the final order of the MPSC that created this program.

top

How does this technology work?

DTE Energy's advanced metering technology uses a radio frequency (RF) network. RF use is common in various everyday devices such as cell phones and microwaves. In an RF solution, meter data is transmitted by radio frequency and collected by a secure network.

top

Why is DTE Energy installing advanced meters?

Advanced meters give us the tools to provide better customer service to you and reduce operating expense.

top

Will you still need to read the meter?

Yes, until installation in your area is complete, a meter reader will continue to read the meter. After that, the meter will be read remotely.

top

Will the date that the meter is read change?

There are no current plans to change the date that the bill is rendered.

top

Are utilities in other states installing advanced meters as well?

DTE Energy is among a growing number of utilities that are installing advanced meters. Other utilities include: San Diego Gas and Electric, CenterPoint, Hydro One in Canada and Southern California Edison. DTE Energy is one of the largest utilities installing advanced meters. In Michigan, many utilities such as Cherryland Electric Cooperative and Great Lakes Energy Cooperative have already installed advanced meters.

top

Benefits

What are the benefits for customers?

The advanced meter gives DTE Energy the ability to read the meter remotely. Once installation in your area is complete, DTE Energy will no longer need to enter your yard, home or business to read the meter. This will virtually eliminate the number of estimated bills you receive.

You will also have access to up-to-date energy usage information which will help you track, manage and control your energy use. Also, advanced meters will help us pinpoint outages and respond more quickly.

top

Will I still need to contact DTE Energy if I have a power outage?

The advanced meters help us identify and respond to outages faster. Together with new circuitry also being installed, the meters will help us to predict outage impacts, identify trouble and restore and verify complete restoration of an area. However, it will still be important for you to call 1-800-477-4747 and report your outage so that your information can be fed into our outage management system. The advanced meters are only able to inform us that power is out at the meter. We do not know of any other hazards such as a downed wire. For more information on outage restoration, click here.

top

Installation

When will I receive my new meter?

Installation depends on where you are located in the DTE Energy service area. DTE Energy will notify you a few weeks before the meter will be replaced or retrofitted. DTE Energy electric meters will be replaced with new meters. In most instances, DTE Energy natural gas meters will be retrofitted with an advanced metering module. In some cases, however, natural gas meters must be replaced. DTE Energy will recycle the glass, plastic and metals from the old meters.

top

When will I be notified about the new meter installation?

Customers will receive a letter a few weeks before the meter installation is scheduled to take place .

top

The existing meter is located outside of my home. Do I need to be home when the new meter is installed?

No. If the electric or natural gas meters are outside and accessible, you don't need to be home when the meter is installed. However, if you normally leave a gate unlocked or keep a pet inside when the meter is read, you should also do so when the advanced meter is installed.

If nobody is at home, the installer will leave a notice hanging on your door to alert you that the meter has been replaced or retrofitted.

top

The existing meter is located inside my home. Do I need to be home when the meter is installed?

Yes. If the electric or natural gas meter is inside your home, an adult must be present at the time of installation.  If someone visits your home or business to install the meter and we cannot gain access, we will leave a door hanger with a phone number so you can contact us to arrange a time for installation.

top

How long does installation take?

The installation process is expected to take only a few minutes.

top

Will the electric or natural gas service be interrupted during installation?

Installation of the electric advanced meter will cause your power to be interrupted briefly when the old meter is replaced with the new meter. Digital clocks and other equipment will have to be reset afterward. We understand that some businesses and industry cannot be interrupted easily. We will work with business owners to minimize any impact to their operations.

Installation of a natural gas advanced metering module will not cause an interruption in your natural gas service unless a new natural gas meter is required.

top

Will I have to pay for the advanced meter?

The electric meter, gas module and installation is done at no charge to the customer.

top

What will the new meter look like?

The new advanced meters will be digital meters with a blue and white label on the front. In most cases, DTE Energy natural gas meters will be retrofitted with an advanced metering module which is installed behind the dial index of the existing meter.

top

Do I need to do anything before you install the meter?

A clear path must be provided for us to gain access to our outside and inside metering equipment, which will require all obstructions or obstacles to be removed prior to the meter upgrade.  If you operate life-support or other sensitive equipment that DTE Energy may not be aware of, please contact us at 800-477-4747.

Normally you will not have to make any changes to your meter enclosure. Modifications or changes to your household wiring and electrical upgrades are not necessary for the installation of the advanced meter.

top

Who owns the meter at my house or business?

DTE Energy owns the electric and natural gas meter.

top

If I don’t want the advanced meter on my home or business, can I change the meter myself?

No. All meter changes are performed by an authorized DTE Energy representative. Please be advised that removing, stealing or otherwise tampering with DTE Electric-owned equipment, including but not limited to any metering equipment, constitutes a felony under Michigan law (MCL 750.383a).

top

Safety, Security, Accuracy

Do advanced meters cause health concerns?

The advanced meters use very low-power radio frequency (RF) waves to transmit your energy usage data to DTE Energy. Several familiar devices use RF, such as baby monitors, cordless phones,  television remote controls and garage openers, just to name a few.

In fact, a person standing two feet from an active advanced meter is exposed to up to 1,100 times fewer RF waves than a person speaking on a cell phone. Both of these devices are below federal guidelines.

RF Comparison Chart

top

Are the advanced meters within Federal Communications Commission (FCC) recommended levels of exposure to radio frequency emissions?

Yes. Based on years of study and research, the FCC, together with other organizations such as the World Health Organization, have adopted Maximum Permissible Exposure limits for radio transmitters of all types, including advanced meters. This standard includes a conservative margin of safety, just in case some health effects are too subtle to have been found. Even so, advanced meters operate significantly below the limit.

For more information on RF safety, visit the Federal Communications Commission Web site for radio frequency at http://transition.fcc.gov/oet/rfsafety/.

top

Is the advanced meter network secure?

Cyber security is a familiar concept to the utility industry. We have extensive experience maintaining security on the information systems needed to operate the electrical grid. Installing advanced meters adds a new component to our system, but the meters, communications and information management will be subject to the same Department of Energy security standards that keep the grid secure.

top

How will my personal energy usage information be protected?

Be assured that the energy usage data obtained from the meter is fully encrypted and is only used for billing purposes.  No personal data is collected or stored by the meter. 

DTE Energy takes information protection very seriously. Protection begins at the meter itself. Specialized meter technology defends against hacking and information is encoded whenever your data is transmitted. Once transmitted, your private information is protected in the same way it has always been, through constant monitoring for evolving threats and system improvements.

 

top

Are these meters accurate?

Every meter installed has been thoroughly tested and each device is installed by a trained professional. All of our advanced meters are tested for accuracy at the factory, using calibrated reference standards.

top

Will the meter interfere with my security system, cell phone or other electronics?

For a handful of security systems, the brief power outage may trigger a false alarm when power is restored, but that is unlikely for most homeowners or businesses. DTE Energy will notify local law enforcement agencies about the meter replacement and the potential for increased false alarms in those areas during installation.

top

Are advanced meters a fire hazard?

All meters, regardless of type, are an extremely low risk of initiating a fire. Customer safety is DTE Energy's highest priority. That's why each advanced meter is installed by a trained professional who is very familiar with the installation process and the advanced meters.

top

Will the meter increase my energy bill?

Like all electric meters, advanced meters measure the energy used in your home or business. The meter itself has no impact on your electric rate or your energy use. A report issued in July 2010 by an independent consultant for the Public utilities Commission of Texas said that based on the results of accuracy tests, 99.6 percent of the meters tested were determined to be accurate according to American National Standards Institute (ANSI) standards. The consultant's research also found that the advanced meters consistently performed better than electromechanical meters.

top

Are the advanced meters safe to use on homes with older wiring?

Advanced meters do not impose any additional burden to the existing meter enclosure or the wiring of your home.

top

Energy Usage

How do I read the advanced meter?

Glancing at the screen beginning with 004 shows your kilowatt meter reading. The other screens show the meter communicating with the advanced metering system. Watch a video on how to read your advanced meter.

top

I'm on the interruptible air conditioning (CoolCurrents) program so there are two electric meters on my home. Will both meters be replaced?

Yes. Both meters will be replaced.

top

How will an advanced meter help me save money on my energy bill?

Customers with advanced meters can choose to view their individual energy usage data on line.  The on line energy usage data is a tool that provides you with information on your actual energy usage measured by the advanced meter.  Having this energy usage information can help you better manage your energy use, which can lead to saving money. You'll also be able to use a wide variety of other tools on our web site to manage your energy use and learn how to save money. Sign up and learn more here.

top

Will the advanced meter impact the way I connect and use a generator?

No. there will be no impact on the way you use a generator.  Please remember to operate your generator safely. See our web page for more information.  

top

I've read the advanced meter will give utilities too much control over my energy usage. Is that true?

Actually, you control your energy usage, not the utility. Advanced metering gives you more control. Advanced meters do provide more information than traditional meters. Currently, you can obtain the information you need to save money and save energy. As with any service, it's necessary to measure consumption for billing purposes. DTE Energy records your electric consumption just like your cell phone provider tracks your cell phone use in order to bill you.

top

If I have questions about my advanced meter, who do I contact?

If you have questions about the installation or use of your advanced meter, please call 800-477-4747 or go to dteenergy.com/advancedmeter.

top

Opt Out Program

What if I do not wish to participate in the Advanced Metering Program?

DTE Energy received approval from the Michigan Public Service Commission (MPSC) to implement an Opt Out program for residential electric customers who do not wish to participate in the Advanced Metering Program. The approval allows the residential electric customer of record the option of having a non-transmitting AMI meter installed regardless of reason. For more information call our Customer Service line at 1.800.477.4747.

top

Will I have to pay to enroll in the Opt Out program?

Yes. Customers who enroll in the Opt Out program are required to pay the following fees for each site enrolled in the program:

  • $67.20 initial one-time fee to install a non-transmitting AMI meter
  • $9.80 monthly charge for a manual meter reading

 

top

How do I enroll in the Opt-Out Program?

You must be the customer of record to enroll in the program and can contact our Customer Service Line at 1.800.477.4747.

top

If I move to a site that has an advanced meter installed and I want to Opt Out, what should I do?

Contact our Customer Service Line at 1.800.477.4747.

top

If I move to a site that does not have an advanced meter installed and I want to participate in the Advanced Metering Program, what should I do?

Contact our Customer Service Line at 1.800.477.4747.

top