Earth Week 2023: 'Smart' meters modernizing Michiana's power grid
Nearly 100 million homes across the U.S. have “smart” meters, which allow you to have more control over how much electricity you use.
Instead of monthly data, these meters allow you to see your usage data at 15-minute intervals, allowing you to see spikes in real time and reduce your footprint quickly.
Not only will this give the customer more control over their electric usage, but the increased communication reduces the number of I&M trucks that need to be on the road, reducing emissions further.
“With the smart meter, just about any task that we need to do, we can do remotely,” explained Cameron Wims, Manager of Meter Revenue Operations for I&M Power. “So, it really cuts down on the amount of time that we need to get out there and provide service to our customers.”
The new technology is coming online with summer storms right around the corner, threatening to knock out power to Michiana homes. Smart meters, however, can help crews pinpoint the source of an outage almost immediately, reducing overall outage times.
While there have been supply chain issues and delays, I&M power’s goal is to have over 600,000 customers across Indiana and Michigan using smart meters by the end of next year.
“For this area, the South Bend area, we’ll be installing in the spring, moving on to Elkhart in the summer and finishing out the year in the Fort Wayne area this fall,” Wims said.
Residential customers can opt out of the new smart meters, but you will incur a monthly fee if you do. The charge is around $10 per month if you live in Michigan and around $16 if you live in Indiana.