Q: What is a smart meter?
A: Smart meters are digital devices that collect energy-use data and, unlike traditional meters, transmit and receive data, too. Electric energy use will be recorded every 15 minutes to provide an accurate view of your daily energy patterns. This information will be available later in 2011 and can be securely accessed via the MyAccount web tool on nvenergy.com or through NV Energy's automated voicemail system the day after it is collected. For customers in northern Nevada, natural gas use information will be available on a daily basis. Smart meters are the cornerstone of NV Energy's NVEnergize project.
Q: Why is NV Energy installing smart meters?
A: Smart meters are one component of a new NV Energize system that will help reduce operating costs which can lead to lower customer bills. NV Energize can improve our customer service and reliability, and also help us plan for future energy needs.
Q: How will NVEnergize help me?
A: NV Energize will help provide the data you need to see how much energy you use at specific times throughout the day. You'll know how your usage compares to your budget in order to make energy choices that best fit your lifestyle and budget. You'll be able to view this data through MyAccount at http://www.nvenergy.com/home/ or other tools like mobile devices or in-home energy displays. Other features will also be available such as start/stop service and other billing options as well as energy efficiency and conservation (demand response) programs that help reduce bills.
Q: What is NV Energy changing with NVEnergize?
A: The project will improve billing processes, system reliability and enhance other company and customer equipment. An important aspect of the project is two-way communication between the customer and NV Energy. Basic components of NVEnergize include: Advanced Meter Infrastructure, Smart Grid Technology and Meter Data Management.
Q: Are the meters accurate?
A: Yes. There are three tests NV Energy is using to confirm this. First, the manufacturer tests all meters. Second, NV Energy tests a sample of meters. Third, the University of Nevada, Reno conducted independent lab tests on a sample of meters. All tests show that smart meters meet American National Standards Institute (ANSI) accuracy standards. Also, after installation, NV Energy will read meters both manually and remotely for a period of time to ensure the meter and our system are operating properly.
Q: Are there health concerns related to smart meter technology and radio
A: Smart meters meet Federal Communications Commission (FCC) standards and are within limits for Class B devices. As a matter of fact, smart meter radio frequency (RF) exposures are far lower than the FCC guidelines*. Smart meters typically communicate using RF signals 48 times per day. Each transmission is only a fraction of a second, which means smart meters transmit about 5 seconds per day on average. By comparison, cell phones transmit constantly and at very close range. Please see below for additional safety information, such as links to independent third-party case studies and safety standards.
* Electric Power Research Institute, "A Perspective on Radio-Frequency Exposure Associated With Residential Automatic Meter Reading Technology,"
• EPRI: Perspective on Radio-Frequency Exposure
• FCC Letter (RF Exposure Limits)
• DRSG: Radio Frequency (RF) & Smart Meters Q&A
• UTC: No Health Threat from Smart Meters
• EPRI: Radio-Frequency Exposure Levels from Smart Meters: A Case Study of One Model
Q: Will you force people to use new pricing plans?
A: No. Customers will have the option to choose a cost structure that best suits their energy consumption patterns.
Q: What is the voluntary dynamic pricing trial?
A: NV Energy will conduct a voluntary, two-year dynamic pricing trial beginning in January 2013 that will test a variety of pricing plans, technology, and energy efficiency and customer education programs. Customers will volunteer for the trial and be given the option to quit the trial at the end of the first year. They will also be offered a lower-price guarantee during the first year of the trial.
Q: When will NVEnergize be completed?
A: The project will be phased in over the next few years with completion of meter installations scheduled for December 2012.
Q: Who is affected by NVEnergize?
A: This project will link approximately 1.45 million NV Energy electric and gas customers across Nevada providing increased service reliability as well as customer usage information on a daily basis in order to help customers save more energy and money.
Q: How many smart meters are you installing?
A: Approximately 1.4 million meters will be installed across Nevada by year-end 2012.
Q: Who is paying for NVEnergize?
A: A U.S. Department of Energy grant provides nearly half of the approximate $303 million cost. It is anticipated that NV Energy's share of the cost will come from future operational cost savings. NV Energy expects to save as much as $25 million annually to help cover the remaining portion and help hold down costs for customers.
Q: What about electric cars?
A: Charging of Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicles will also be evaluated as part of this project.
Q: What is a Smart Grid?
A: The smart grid is part of a plan to upgrade our nation's energy system and prepare it for the future. What the smart grid does is add new communication and computer controls to the existing grid. When we add digital information and remote management capability to the grid, we can:
• Improve reliability, capacity and capability.
• Work towards using cost-effective and environmentally sustainable energy resources.
• Respond more quickly to outages.
• Build a strong, open and dynamic information network. The federal government and others think this smart grid effort is vital to our economic stability. So, it has assigned $4.5 billion for smart grid investments as a part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.
• Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007
• American Recovery and Reinvestment act of 2009