Board of Water and Light looking to install smart meters

Posted at 7:09 AM, Aug 01, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-01 12:36:32-04

Pretty soon, smart meters might be in your home. The BWL says it's an upgrade that you're going to want.

"What we've compared it to is basically going from a landline to a cell phone," Annie Rzpecki with the BWL said.
"They just keep track of your energy usage and instead of having to come out once a month it sends the information back to us," Dick Peffley with the BWL said.

They'll also allow you to monitor your usage online, so you'll know if you're leaving your lights on too much or if there's a leak in your pipe while you're away. Some customers say they're looking forward to it.

"I think the technology would be great,” Melinda Schaaf, a BWL customer said. “This way I might be saving money."

The BWL says smart meters are going to be a huge benefit when the power goes out, because they'll automatically let the BWL know which houses don't have power.

“We don't have that with the current meters,”Peffley said. “We don't know when your power goes out unless you call us. If a resident isn't home and their power goes out we're going to know about it, they won't have to worry about it.”

But not everybody thinks these meters are a good idea.

"Rates will rise dramatically and will require new appliances with chips," a woman said to Lansing City Council.

The BWL says a small amount of rates will go up a bit because some of the current meters are running slow. But…
"That's just a small number, we're not expecting that to be the norm at all," Rzepecki said.

Some fear the meters will gather their data and sell it, which the BWL says they will not do.

Others just want to know how much it'll cost to get it installed. The BWL says it'll be free.

They also say if you don't want a smart meter, you don't have to get one. Just let them know.