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Smart meters help provide better service – like power outage detection, faster problem resolution and remote meter readings. Because the meters communicate electronically, they reduce traffic and vehicle emissions in your neighborhood caused by reading the meter. Smart meters can also help customers manage their energy use by providing daily energy information through My Account.
Employee walking back to his truck

What is smart energy, anyway?

A smart grid applies advanced technologies, tools and data to make the energy grid work more reliably and efficiently. These tools ultimately mean better service for customers, additional benefits for the environment and lower energy costs over time.

A smart meter is part of a system that enables remote two-way communication between the meter and Dominion Energy. The system uses radio frequency technology to securely gather data from the meter to provide real-time information that keeps everyone informed and up to date.

A secure router, strategically placed in centralized locations throughout the community collects the data from smart meters and periodically transfers it to Dominion Energy through a protected cellular network as quickly and efficiently as possible.

They are extremely accurate. Meters are subject to strict design standards. Meters are tested by the manufacturer and those results are sent to Dominion Energy. We have a procedure to select and test meters on a random basis both before and after putting them into service to confirm they meet requirements set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

What will smart meters do for me?

Smart metering is all about access to more detailed information on your energy usage - giving you the insight you need to adjust how and when you use energy in your home. Data from smart meters enables Dominion Energy to measure energy in small intervals throughout the day, so we can offer voluntary pricing plans with rates based on time-of-day usage - rates that are lower during times when electricity is not in high demand. This means you not only have more control over your energy costs, but you can save money, too. Smart meters can also detect power outages and other events that could affect your electric service, which helps us provide safer and more reliable service as well as provide timely text and email alerts that keep you in the know. Smart meters also enable us to turn your electric service on and off without having to send an employee to your home or business, saving you time and effort if you’re moving or having electrical work done at your home.

There are no additional charges incurred to get a smart meter. In fact, the widespread use of smart meters can actually reduce costs for all of us by making our business practices and our energy use more efficient. Customers should not notice any change to their monthly bill as a result of this new technology.

Free Smart Meters

Smart meters provide more convenience and levels of control to all of our customers, with more information about electricity flow on the grid and other key indicators we use to make the larger energy grid more efficient. The meters can notify us when your power goes out and when it has been restored. This collective knowledge helps everyone in the community stay more informed because we understand that it takes all of us working together to stay safe and comfortable.

Smart meters help us integrate newly distributed energy resources like solar and wind into the grid, further increasing efficiency and potentially lowering costs for all customers. The automated, remote data collection and operation also means fewer trucks on the road and fewer technician visits to your home, reducing emissions and creating less impact on the environment.

As advanced as smart meters are, if you experience a power outage, we still encourage you to report it to Dominion Energy, either by logging on to our web site or calling us directly. By reporting your outage, you can help us identify safety hazards such as downed wire or provide other specific information that will help with service restoration.

What should I expect - and when will it happen?

Smart meter installations are ongoing in the communities we serve and will continue through 2024. You will receive a postcard in the mail at least 10 days before your existing meter is going to be replaced. A certified Dominion Energy professional will also place a door hanger at your home to let you know when the new meter has been installed at your home or place of business.

The smart meter will be placed in the existing meter base—we’re simply switching out the old meter with the new one. Most smart meters are designed to be the same size and shape as your existing one, so you shouldn’t notice much of a difference at all. The new and innovative technology is simply working seamlessly in the background for you.

This process is designed to be quick, easy and efficient—in most cases, we’ll take care of everything. There’s really nothing for you to do other than to be aware that the change is taking place. In the rare instance where there are problems with the installation, we’ll leave detailed information on your front door about scheduling a follow-up visit to correct the problem and get the smart meter installed correctly.

Dominion Energy has partnered with Aclara to provide meter exchange services. (Dominion Energy’s full-time metering personnel will handle large commercial and industrial accounts.) The Aclara technician will wear a Dominion Energy badge and drive a vehicle identified as a Dominion Energy authorized contractor. On the day of the meter exchange, the technician will knock on your door. If someone answers, they will explain the work about to be done and will access the meter to complete the work in about 10 minutes or less. During this time, there will be a short interruption to the electric service.

No. As part of the provision of electric service, all meters must be owned and operated by Dominion Energy. Anyone who tampers with or damages any metering device is putting themselves in danger. These guidelines are meant to protect our customers, as electricity is an ever-present safety hazard to anyone who is not certified or instructed on how to appropriately handle electrical equipment.

Upgrading to a smart meter does require a brief power outage, which could trigger a security system alarm. Security systems should have a battery backup that is designed to last for 8-12 hours in case of a power outage. The usual process that you would go through with a typical power outage when it relates to the security alarm would be the same during a meter exchange.

Do smart meters affect my safety, privacy or health?

Yes, smart meters are a safe and reliable tool for the electric utility provider. Smart meters simply help us measure electricity usage more effectively, monitor our grid performance, and detect power outages more efficiently, all of which help keep everyone safe and comfortable– and helps keep the lights on.

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) develops standards for consumer products like televisions, cell phones and blenders. Smart meters aren’t sold as a consumer product. Instead, smart meters are manufactured and tested under stringent standards set by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Smart meters have the power to keep your personal information safe, too. Just like other types of meters, smart meters measure total energy consumption (how much energy is being used), not how the energy is used. No personally identifiable information, such as your name or address is stored in the meter or transmitted across the metering network which complies with the industry’s highest standards for cybersecurity. All electricity usage data is transferred safely by our secure communications network and is never sold to a third-party source. You can log in to your Dominion Energy account any time you’d like to review the usage data collected.

Radio-frequency levels for smart meters are set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and the meters used by Dominion Energy comply with these FCC standards. Radiofrequency levels measured from smart meters are well below the approved limits, and they’re not on all the time—they typically transmit for less than 5% of the day. Smart meters emit up to 30,000 times less RF than “always on” technology like your smartphone.

Radio Frequency Levels Radio Frequency Levels

What if I don’t want a smart meter?

  • You must be a residential customer and can only request the Non-Communicating Meter Option for accounts where you have the authority to make account-level changes.
  • You must submit a separate enrollment form for each account which you are requesting to opt out of the Smart Metering program.
  • Your account(s) must be in good standing without any pending, recently completed or active credit activity scheduled on the account.
  • You must already have an AMI meter or be currently scheduled for an AMI meter upgrade.
  • You must currently receive Electric Service from Dominion Energy in accordance with residential Rate Schedule 1 or transfer to Rate Schedule 1 prior to enrolling in the Non-Communicating Meter Option.
  • You are responsible for providing and maintaining access to Dominion Energy for purposes of meter installation, maintenance and reading in accordance with Section XV of our Terms and Conditions. We have the right to access your premises at all reasonable times and must have safe access to the meter.

Please note that Dominion Energy reserves the right to:

  • Discontinue your participation in the opt-out program and require you to have an AMI meter if you do not provide and maintain proper access.
  • Propose a charge for manually reading your electric meter, which will be subject to approval by the State Corporation Commission. Dominion Energy will notify you of any approved fees.
No. Even if you choose not to get a smart meter, you will still experience changes to your existing electric meter. That’s because as technology advances, analog meters are becoming obsolete. Options for purchasing them new are limited as they are no longer being manufactured. Customers who choose to opt-out of a smart meter will still need to have their meter exchanged for the digital Non-Communicating Meter to ensure integration with our metering systems as the older technology is phased out.
Customers who meet any of the following criteria cannot opt out of the program and must receive a new smart meter:
  • Non-residential customers
  • Customers who receive Electric Service on dynamic-pricing (e.g., Rate Schedule DP-R) or any residential time-of-use rate schedule (e.g., Rate Schedule 1P, 1S, or 1T, 1G/Off-Peak Plan)
  • Customers who use their own customer-generated electricity
  • Customers who require additional metering data for billing (e.g., Net Metering and Bidirectional ng, Rate Schedule SP – Solar Purchase [Experimental].
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