FacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmail Evansville, Ind. – Vectren Energy Delivery (Vectren) is launching its smart meter deployment program this month, bringing safe, secured, and proven digital technology to customers in its electric service territory. This digital enhancement is part of Vectren’s Smart Energy Future strategy, and the new meters and supporting information technology offer a number of enhanced services, including providing customers with more control over their energy use and automation to readily pinpoint and manage outages, and improvements to energy grid management.“We know our customers want more tools to manage their energy usage and bills, as well as tools to help them make smart energy choices to best fit their needs,” said Carl Chapman, Vectren chairman, president and CEO. “These meters will help us deliver that detailed usage information to customers and will also ensure estimated meter reads are virtually eliminated, which is another must-have our customers have requested.”Implementation is planned to begin this month with widespread deployment starting in January of 2018. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2018. Vectren planned the initiative so that customers will see no increase in their bills from the smart meter initiative until after the company’s next electric rate review.Although customers do not need to be home when the upgrade occurs, they will be notified prior to their neighborhood installation. The meter installation typically takes no more than 5-10 minutes. Customers can expect to start seeing benefits of the change in phases shortly after the project is completed. These customer benefits include:Fewer Estimated Bills: Once installed, smart meters will be read remotely over a secured network rather than manually – so there’s no need to estimate bills when meters can’t be easily accessed, such as during severe weather. Vectren will no longer have to access a customer’s property for monthly, walk-by meter reads.Faster Service: Beginning in 2019, most residential customers may no longer have to wait for a Vectren technician to come to their premises to activate or voluntarily deactivate their electric service because requests can be performed remotely with smart meter technology. For reconnecting or disconnecting gas service, access to the gas meter will still be needed.Quicker Response to Power Outages: Today, customers must notify Vectren when experiencing a power outage. With a smart meter, there is a two-way conversation with Vectren’s information systems, so the energy company can proactively notify customers when an outage has occurred. This customer communication is expected to debut in 2019. Likewise, this technology will help Vectren more readily identify outages, which ensures a faster response to begin repairs. Vectren plans to enable customers via a web tool to select preferences for when and how they will be contacted for such events as outages and billing and usage alerts.Usage Alerts: By summer 2019, customers will have the option to receive an alert in between billing cycles if electric usage is trending upward and is likely to lead to a bill that is 30% higher or more than the previous month. The email or text will include the current bill amount and a projection of their final monthly bill. On Vectren.com, customers will also be able to set up budget alerts to help keep track of their weekly usage. They will be informed when their monthly bill is expected to reach a specific dollar amount of their choosing, allowing them to more efficiently manage usage if they wish. This feature will be upgraded to allow customers to tailor the dollar amount for when they want to be alerted on mid-period bill estimates.While crews working for Vectren are upgrading electric meters, for those customers who receive Vectren’s natural gas service, at the same time they will receive enhanced natural gas meters. Automated meter reading technology will be installed on all natural gas meters allowing the gas meter to send usage information through the nearest electric smart meter to Vectren. Vectren recently completed retrofitting more than 1 million natural gas meters throughout Indiana and Ohio in its gas-only service territory where meters received similar technology enhancements over the past two years.Customers’ energy usage information is strictly confidential. The information coming from smart meters is restricted to kilowatt hours of electricity and therms of natural gas only. The information is encrypted and protected from the moment it is collected and while it is being transferred. Digital smart meter technology uses FCC approved radio frequency bands that have been used for many years in devices such as remote-controlled toys and medical monitors. The radio signals are far below the levels emitted by common household appliances and electronics, including cellphones and microwave ovens. According to the World Health Organization, FCC, U.S. Food and Drug Administration and Electric Power Research Institute, no adverse health effects have been shown to occur from the radio frequency signals produced by smart meters or other such wireless networks.Customers can access additional information regarding the smart meter deployment plan by visiting Vectren.com/smartenergyfuture.