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What is a smart meter?
What are the benefits of having smart meters?
Why is EWEB upgrading to smart meters now?
Are there additional fees to upgrade my meters?
How do smart meters work?
How often do smart meters transmit data?
How are you protecting my privacy?
How has EWEB determined smart meters are safe?
When will I receive my smart meters?
Why isn't EWEB upgrading meters in the McKenzie River Valley service area?
Can I opt out of having smart meters?
Will I have to pay more if I opt out?
If I opt out can I keep my old meter?
A smart meter is a digital meter that sends messages to EWEB through a secure wireless network. It's technology that provides a number of enhanced benefits and services to our customers. Smart meters are also an important building block in EWEB's efforts to modernize our community's electric and water distribution systems to provide customers with more reliable, resilient services.
Smart meters are a part of our effort to provide customers with better service and more choice and control, while keeping services affordable. Some services will be available following the upgrade of your meters, while others will be available in future years. We will let you know more about products and services as they are developed.
More choice and control
Keeping services affordable
Smart meters have been installed in more than 71 million homes and businesses throughout the United States. EWEB has been studying smart meters for almost two decades and we are confident the technology is mature and the meters meet our high safety and security standards.
Smart meters are an important piece of our efforts to modernize the electrical grid and water distribution network to create more resilient and efficient systems.
Smart meters gather electric and water usage information and transmit that data to EWEB using a low-power radio over a secure wireless network. The meters can also receive communication from EWEB, which allows for remote connection and disconnection of service. The information is sent using short radio transmissions similar to a text message sent from a cell phone.
Electric meters transmit data hourly, and water meters transmit every four hours. The messages sent by the meters are each about the size of a cell phone text message and help ensure that EWEB receives the complete information it needs to provide advanced services to customers. As EWEB approaches full deployment, we will be tuning the network to reduce any communications not needed for operations.
Smart meters use low-watt radio frequency to transmit whole-house electric or water usage — the same information that existing meters gather. No other data is collected, which means that no personal information, such as name or address, is gathered or sent via the secure wireless network to EWEB. The meters use multiple layers of security, including the same type of data encryption used by the online banking industry. EWEB conducted third-party cyber-security tests to verify the system and we are satisfied with the security.
Just like many everyday devices such as baby monitors, cell phones and WiFi routers, smart meters communicate using radio signals. Smart meters result in much lower levels of radio frequency exposure than many of these common household electric devices. In fact, exposure levels are many times lower than with a cell phone held to the ear.
Radio frequency emissions from smart meters are far below the limits set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The smart meters we are installing fully comply with FCC health and safety standards. EWEB referenced many third-party resources that provide peer-reviewed medical research, like the American Cancer Society and the National Institute of Health for additional information regarding health impacts of smart meters. In addition, EWEB found no known standards or regulations that are not in alignment with EWEB's intended deployment of smart meters.
The hilly, forested topography of EWEB's McKenzie River Valley service area (including Thurston, Walterville and Leaburg) is not compatible with the smart meter communication equipment that EWEB has installed in the Eugene portion of its service area. We are continuing to explore cost-effective ways to provide advanced services to the McKenzie River Valley.
Yes. EWEB has created an opt-out program for customers who do not want to upgrade their services.
In order to opt out, you must be the account holder at the address in question. An account holder's preference applies to all services on the account. Customers who opt out will not be able to receive advanced services that require communicating electric and/or water meters. Advanced services include water leak detection, automatic power outage notification, access to more detailed consumption information and pricing plans.
To opt out of advanced services, please contact Customer Service in one of the following ways:
The opt-out preference is tied to a specific account. If you move to another address within EWEB's service territory, you will need to make a new opt-out request. If your preference changes, please notify EWEB so we can update your account accordingly.
At this time, EWEB will not charge opt-out customers any additional fees. Once meters are upgraded throughout our service territory and we better understand the actual costs of manually reading meters for a small group of customers, additional fees may apply to recover those costs.
Through 2021, we will not install new meters for customers who have opted out, other than for maintenance purposes. If it is necessary to replace a meter for maintenance purposes and your account is documented as "opt out", the new meter will be set to a non-communicating mode.
Once meters are installed throughout our service territory, we will begin installing new meters for customers with a documented opt-out preference. Customers who choose to opt out of advanced services will receive new meter(s) with the radio disabled through a setting within the meter's operation. With the radio turned off, the meter is unable to send or receive messages to or from EWEB's network.
Smart meter benefits
Smart meters are a common form of technology that transmit energy and water usage to the utility through a secure wireless network. They will help us provide better service and a future that puts more choice and control in your hands.
Smart meter installation
We will upgrade all of our electric meters by the end of 2021 and our water meters by the end of 2023, with the exception of our McKenzie River service area. See what you can expect and where technicians are scheduled to work next.