Rochester Gas & Electric will begin installing smart readers for some customers east of Rochester. The utility plans to install these devices for 26,000 customers in the Sodus Division in Wayne and Cayuga counties by July to help them with their energy use and bills.
NYSEG and the companies other 17 divisions will follow later. RG&E stated that the meters will allow customers to see precisely how much energy they are using, which would lead to more accurate billing. RG&E’s CEO and President Patricia Nilsen explained that the smart meters would enable customers to keep track of their energy usage and billing accurately, and would also allow the company to respond immediately in case of a power outage.
During the pandemic, RG&E had relied on using estimates more frequently for billing, leading to many customer complaints. The company is working with cybersecurity experts to ensure the data collected through smart meters remains secure. The process of replacing every meter with smart meters will cost RG&E around $480 million. The company expects the smart meters to help with the billing issues the company has been experiencing, leading to a $900,000 penalty, by offering the exact meter reading. Therefore, the company has requested the state waive the fine.
There will be no charge to customers to replace the meters, but opting out of using a smart meter will cost an RG&E customer about $12 per month. The installation process is low maintenance, and the company will send a phone call or a mailer to let customers know that crews are coming to their neighborhood. The transition to smart meters is expected to take about three years to complete. Until then, the company will send more staff to do physical meter readings, instead of using estimates, and has rolled out a new billing system over Labor Day.
Two public open houses will be held for customers to learn more about the installations, the first of which will be held Tuesday, February 21st at the Sodus Community Library from 5-7 p.m. The second will be held Thursday, March 2nd, at Leavenworth Middle School in Wolcott from 5-7 p.m.
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