Duke Energy Florida installs two million smart meters

  • May 4, 2021
  • Steve Rogerson

Duke Energy has completed a multiyear effort in Florida to upgrade nearly two million meters to smart meters.

The smart meters are part of Duke Energy’s commitment to building a smarter energy future. The investment in this digital technology should help the company meet the changing needs and expectations of its customers.

“Customers have told us they want more timely access to their energy usage information and bringing this technology to Florida is one way for us to better meet those expectations,” said Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida state president. “Smart meters will help us identify and respond faster to customer outages and give our customers tools to help them make smart energy choices to best fit their needs.”

The meters are an evolution of the company’s previous meter-reading technology and provide enhanced services that offer residential and some business customers more control over their energy use. Options include opportunities to pick billing due dates and receive usage alerts. Such alerts can help users better understand and budget for their energy consumption.

“I’m a small business owner, so I am always interested in options that can help me manage expenses,” said Mark Aeling, owner of MGA Sculpture Studio in St Petersburg, Florida. “I like that having a smart meter will give me usage information sooner and help me to make informed choices.”

Smart meters measure and record electricity usage at regular intervals and send the data wirelessly to users and the power company. Users can access the information online by logging on to their Duke energy account.

Smart meter data might tell users the hour spent cooking on a hot Florida summer night is creating a power spike from the working oven competing with an air conditioner trying to cool things off. Or that a teenager’s hours playing video games cost more than anticipated.

Users have the option to select a billing due date that best aligns with their personal needs and finances to provide more flexibility and control when paying their monthly bills. They can also take control of their electricity use and monthly budget with usage alerts.

Users will automatically receive an email halfway through the billing cycle. The email will include the current bill amount and a projection of the final monthly bill. They have the option to receive midcycle alerts via text message and can set up budget alerts to help keep their bill in check. They will be informed when their bill is expected to reach a specific dollar amount of their choosing, allowing them to course-correct and cut back on usage if they wish.

In addition, smart meters offer two-way communications with Duke Energy’s systems, so the company will know more about outages. This can speed response and restoration times. In the future, a smart meter may even report the outage for customers.

Smart meters are read automatically – not manually – so there’s no need to estimate bills when meters can’t be easily accessed, such as during severe weather. In addition, Duke Energy will not have to access a customer’s property for meter reads.

Duke Energy Florida, a subsidiary of Duke Energy, owns a diverse generation mix of natural gas, coal and renewables, providing about 10,200MW of owned electric capacity to approximately 1.9 million users in a 33,700-square-kilometre service area in Florida.