Automated Meter Reading Frequently Asked Questions
Below are the answers to some frequently asked questions you might have about the installation of Automated Meter Reading in New Hampshire.
What are AMR Meters?
“Automated Meter Reading” devices, or AMR meters, are safe, proven, digital technology, approved by the Federal Communications Commission and used across the country and around the world for many years. They are used for consistent, accurate collection of meter readings through wireless communication.
Are these “Smart Meters?”
No. AMR meters use transmitters that broadcast meter readings at regular intervals. Our meter readers capture the usage information from their vehicle, or on a handheld computer.
Smart meters are different. They are capable of two-way communication that records energy usage in much more detail. They use higher power transmitters and communicate information via a secure network back and forth between properties and utilities.
With AMR meters, we will continue to capture the same information we collect today, only from a greater distance.
Smart meters are much more expensive and can be equipped to relay data to and from air conditioners, refrigerators and other specially equipped devices within your home or business. Our AMR meters do not have these capabilities.
Are AMR meters safe?
Yes. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) requires testing of all radio-communicating devices to ensure they meet federal standards before they are installed.
Signal levels from our residential AMR meters are 1/10th of the “Maximum Permissible Exposure Levels” as defined by the FCC.
Our AMR meter signal strength is much lower than many everyday appliances, including microwave ovens, garage door openers, wireless routers, and cell phones.
What research has been done on these meters?
Over the past decade, there have been hundreds of studies in this area.
Federal regulatory agencies have conducted detailed reviews and have found that AMR meters fall well within federal safety standards.
Detailed information is available online at the Federal Communications Commission, World Health Organization and Itron.
Can someone intercept the AMR signal to steal my billing information?
No. There are two important reasons:
- The only data coming from the meter is the amount of electricity used since the last time the meter was read. There is no account, customer or banking information stored in the meter.
- The data in the meter is encrypted, and to obtain the usage information an individual would need the appropriate meter reading hardware and software, which is very unlikely.
We encourage consumers and businesses to be constantly vigilant. You can find helpful information on the Federal Trade Commission web site, www.ftc.gov.
Can the AMR signals get crossed, and the wrong information used to bill my account?
No, this would be very unlikely. We have data integrity checks in place to help ensure this would not happen.
Each meter is assigned a unique number for each customer location. Data from a customer’s location is matched with the meter number assigned to that location before it is sent to our billing system for processing.
It’s important to remember that with AMR meters, we will continue to capture the same information we collect today, only from a greater distance.
Don’t you need permission to install these meters?
No. New Hampshire law requires customer permission for installation of “Smart Meter Gateway Devices.” We are not installing those meters.
How will AMR meters help me?
We are enhancing our technology to serve you better. Installing AMR meters allows us to continue to provide safe, timely, accurate meter reading but at a lower cost. Controlling costs is an important factor in determining Eversource rates.
In most cases, once the technology is fully implemented the usage data from your meter can be obtained from a distance. Therefore, our meter readers normally won’t need to enter your premises. This will reduce our need to estimate monthly bills, which we issue when our meter readers are unable to gain physical access to your meter.
Once we start reading the new AMR meters remotely, customers will no longer need to shovel a path for meter readers during the winter months.
What types of costs will I incur?
None. We do not require any payments for these meter exchanges. If someone posing as a meter installer asks you for a payment, it is a scam, and you should alert local police.
Eversource is making this investment to continue to provide safe, timely, accurate meter reading but at a lower cost.
When will I get my meter? Do I need to be home?
You will be notified several weeks before meters are installed in your area.
Most customers will not need to be home, unless installers cannot get access to the meter. If this is the case, you will be given a number to call to schedule the installation.
What can I expect when my AMR meter is installed?
Technicians from a Eversource-certified contractor, will install your meter.
Installers will be wearing clearly marked uniforms, carry Eversource identification badges, and use vehicles featuring a prominently displayed logo.
Installers will knock on your door to notify you that work is beginning. No payment will be requested to complete the installation. Meter installations will take place Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., excluding holidays.
Will I lose power when my AMR meter is installed?
Swapping out your current meter with an AMR meter will require that we shut off the power to your home for a very brief period of time—a matter of minutes. We apologize for any inconvenience.
Will I be notified once my AMR meter is installed?
A door hanger will be left to inform you that a successful installation took place. If we are unable to gain access to your meter to make the swap, we will leave a notice on your door with instructions on how to call to make an appointment.