Q. What is the meter upgrade?
A. The new meter is equipped with two-way communication that is part of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI). This metering technology has been in use around the country and world for about a decade. It can improve customer service by enabling us to respond faster to outages and service requests. Customers will receive information to better understand their energy use, enroll in budget alerts and have the opportunity to participate in voluntary programs.
Q. What are the benefits of the new Dashboard now and in the not-too-distant future?
A. The Dashboard provides insight into current cost, usage and environmental impact information in 15-minute increments. When you log in for the first time, you will begin receiving weekly email summaries of your Dashboard and you can also sign up to receive text and email alerts regarding budget and usage spikes.
Q. What is a smart grid?
A. Smart grid technology is a state-of-the-art upgrade managing electricity systems. Adding digital technologies ties together the pieces of an electric system, resulting in better reliability and improved efficiency. It also provides more energy usage information to customers. The smart grid enables you to monitor your daily energy use and cost information, and better understand your energy bill. It will also eventually allow the introduction of a number of new programs and services.
Smart grid technology also enables customers to start, stop and transfer service without the need for a service person to visit their home, which greatly reduces the time to complete the request.
Q. Is the meter safe?
A. Each meter is inspected according to American National Standards Institute safety standards to ensure it meets or exceeds those standards.
Q. Will Westar control my usage?
A. No. Just like the meter on your home or business before, the new digital meter only measures the amount of electrical usage for the entire home. The new meter does improve Westar’s ability to offer voluntary programs that can lower your usage during periods of peak generation. However, customers can choose if they want to participate.
Q. Will the smart meter control how much electricity I get?
A. No. The Dashboard provides insight into current cost, usage and environmental impact information. A better understanding of usage can help you to participate in optional programsthat offer alternatives to using electricity during peak energy-use hours. If you decide to participate in the program, it will help all of us save energy.
Q. Does this control my air conditioning unit?
A. No. The new meter only measures whole house electrical usage. The WattSaver Thermostat is a completely separate voluntary program of which customers can help reduce their peak demand. Contact the WattSaver hotline at 1.888.753.6523 for more details.
Q. Do I have to pay for the installation of the new meter or my Dashboard?
A. No. The installation and the use of the dashboard are included in your service at no additional fee.
Q. Do I get a different rate for having the new meter?
A. Your Westar rate remains the same. The digital meter will make energy use and cost information available to you online if have interest. The new digital meter upgrade provides the foundation for customers to have additional choices for rate plans and payment structures that we are unable to offer with the existing technology.
Q. How long does the installation take? Will I be without power? How long?
A. The typical installation will take about 10 minutes. You will be without electricity for only 3-4 minutes. In certain situations, installation may take longer due to the age of the previous meter or other equipment issues.
Q. What if I am not home during the installation?
A. If no one is home, a Westar Energy employee will leave an informational pamphlet on your door and install the new meter.