The Lakeland City Commission voted unanimously 7-0 in favor of a Smart Meter opt-out program for Lakeland Electric. The program will allow Lakeland Electric customers to choose between a smart meter and a digital meter that must be read manually.
Smart meters offer customers added benefits over analog or digital meters. With a smart meter, customers can receive energy alerts, view daily energy use and smart meters automatically report power outages. Smart Meter customers can participate in energy management by monitoring usage through their very own web portal. Lakeland Electric customers can log onto www.mysmarterpower.com to view their daily energy usage.
Those customers wanting to opt-out of the smart meter program can do so by calling Lakeland Electric customer service at 863/834-9535. There will be a $16.25/month charge for those customers who choose to opt-out because of the dedicated need to have meters read manually each month. Smart meters automatically report consumption so manual meter reads aren’t necessary. The $16.25 monthly charge goes into effect March 1, 2013 for those who choose the opt-out program. There is also a $65 dollar one-time meter replacement fee to change out a Smart Meter with a digital meter as part of the opt-out program. This fee is waived until March 1, 2013.
Lakeland Electric has already installed over 115,000 smart meters to date and there will be over 120,000 installed by the end of December 2012 when the system is fully deployed. Installation of the new meters started March 2, 2011 as the first step in the overall smart grid initiative. The smart grid is the evolution of the nation’s utility grid to make it more effective, efficient and responsive to the needs of utility customers and the growing demands placed on the nation’s power industry. Lakeland Electric was one of 100 utility companies to be chosen to integrate into the Smart Grid through funding by a federal grant.