Frequently Asked Questions

Find the answers to commonly asked questions in the following categories:

General | Meter Reading | Installation | Billing | Safety, Security & Privacy | Opt-Out | Using your Smart Meter


General

What is a smart meter?

A smart meter is a digital electric meter that communicates your energy usage and outage information to Pacific Power through a secure wireless network.

How do they work?

Smart meters collect energy usage data for billing purposes and then transmit the data through our secure wireless network. This information is sent several times throughout the day using short, low-power radio transmissions.

Smart meters also help notify us if there’s a power outage. That means we can get to work restoring your service right away – possibly before you even know there’s a problem.

To learn more about the technology, please visit the What Is a Smart Meter? page.

What are the benefits of having a smart meter?

Unlike your existing meter, your smart meter will help us respond faster to outages, give you useful insights about your energy consumption, provide a forecast of your upcoming bill and help the grid make better use of clean, renewable energy sources.

To learn more about the benefits of having a smart meter, please visit the What Is a Smart Meter? page.

Why are they being replaced now?

Smart meters have been installed in over 70 million homes and businesses throughout the United States. We’ve been studying smart meters for years, and we’ve intentionally waited until the technology was mature and we were confident that they would exceed all of our safety and security measures.

Additionally, advances in technology, along with competitive pricing, have finally enabled us to deliver the benefits of a proven technology without charging our customers for the upgrade.


Meter Reading

Will my meter be read digitally from now on?

Once your installation is complete, we will manually read your meter for one month to confirm everything is working properly. After that, your meter reading will happen digitally and you’ll be able to view your usage online.

How will you read my meter?

We will not need to do a monthly manual meter read once your smart meter is installed and tested. Your smart meter will securely transmit your energy usage data to Pacific Power throughout the day.

How do you make sure you aren’t getting my neighbor’s reading?

Your meter’s unique identification number is transmitted along with the usage data so there’s no way it can be confused with your neighbor’s.

How do you know the meters are accurate?

Our meters are precision instruments that reliably measure energy use. They are third-party tested for accuracy and certified by American National Standards Institute (ANSA) and Underwriters Laboratories (UL).


Installation

When will I receive my smart meter?

You will receive a letter with more detailed information about the installation process a few weeks before your area’s installation window.

To see a map of when smart meters will be coming to your area, please visit the Installation page.

What should I expect on installation day?

On installation day, our authorized installer, Aclara, will knock on your door to let you know they’re on-site. They will perform the installation which will require the power be cut off to your home for less than five minutes. After they have successfully installed the meter, they will leave a door hanger with more information.

To see a more detailed explanation of this process, please visit the Installation page.

What happens if they can’t install my meter?

If for some reason Aclara is unable to install the meter, they will leave a separate door hanger providing information on next steps, including a phone number you can call to schedule another installation. The Aclara phone number is 1-866-353-9002.


Billing

Will this cost me anything?

No, we are installing the new smart meters at no cost to our customers.


Safety, Security & Privacy

How safe are smart meters?

Smart meters transmit data using low frequency radio waves that have been proven to be safe. In fact, the radio frequency from smart meters is so low that you could stand directly in front of a smart meter for a year and still have less radio frequency exposure than you’d get from a single 15-minute cell phone call.

To learn more about safety, please visit the Safe and Secure page.

How secure are smart meters?

Smart meters use low-watt radio frequency to transmit whole-house electrical usage information through our secure wireless network. No other data is shared or collected, and no personal information, including name and address, is included with the transmission of usage data.

To learn more about security, please visit the Safe and Secure page.

What are the privacy measures?

We take our customers’ privacy very seriously, so even though the smart meters only transmit energy usage data, we still use advanced security technology to protect our customers’ information. Additionally, smart meters cannot track or record individual appliance usage. Instead, they record whole-house usage, meaning Pacific Power gets no information on the specifics of how you use energy.

To learn more about privacy, please visit the Safe and Secure page.


Opt-Out

May I opt-out of having a smart meter installed?

We’re installing smart meters at no cost to our customers as part of our strategy to modernize the power grid. However, if you do not wish to upgrade to a smart meter, there is an opt-out option available for a monthly fee. The fee covers the cost of manually reading the meter. If you opt out before a smart meter is installed, your existing meter will stay in place.

Please note that opting out of a smart meter may also result in a change to your current meter reading and billing dates.

If you have any questions about opting out, please contact us toll-free at 1-866-869-8520 to discuss this option.

Opt-out information for Oregon customers:

Oregon customers who choose to opt out will be charged a monthly meter reading fee of $36. If you change your mind at any time, we will install a smart meter at no additional cost.  Monthly meter reading fees will not be refunded.

Oregon customers who request the removal of an existing smart meter will be charged meter exchange fees totaling $169.00, plus a $36 monthly meter reading fee. If you change your mind within six months of the exchange, we will install a smart meter and refund the meter exchange fee as charged. Monthly meter reading fees will not be refunded.

Opt-out information for California customers:

California customers who choose to opt out will be charged a monthly meter reading fee of $20; $16 for CARE customers. If you change your mind at any time, we will install a smart meter at no additional cost. Monthly meter reading fees will not be refunded.

California customers who request the removal of an existing smart meter will be charged a meter exchange fee of $75 for non-CARE customers and $60 for CARE customers plus the monthly meter reading fee. If you change your mind within six months of the exchange, we will install a smart meter and refund the meter exchange fee as charged. Monthly meter reading fees will not be refunded.

If you had a smart meter installed prior to the California Public Utility Commission ruling on August 23, 2018 and you wish to opt out you will not be charged the exchange fee only the monthly meter reading fee.


Using your Smart Meter

How will I know when my smart meter has been installed?

Once your smart meter has been activated, you will see that information when you log in to your account page. Additionally, we will send a postcard to your house with details on how to start taking advantage of your smart meter’s benefits.

Don’t have an account yet? Sign up for a Pacific Power online account today so you can start taking advantage of your smart meter when it’s live.

What can I learn from my new smart meter?

Your smart meter can give you insights into your energy usage that you can then use to gain more control over your monthly bill. This information lives on your Pacific Power online account, where you can also see your projected bill for the month and current usage information.

Through your online account, you can sign up for billing alerts, so we can notify you when your bill is ready, and for outage alerts, so we can keep you updated as we work to restore service.

To learn more, please visit the Meet Your Smart Meter page.

How do I start taking advantage of what I’ve learned from my smart meter?

Sign in to your online account to see your energy usage broken down into monthly, daily and even hourly levels. Once you get a sense of your usage patterns, you can use your knowledge of your own household to pinpoint opportunities to conserve energy and save money.

For tips on how to save both energy and money, visit wattsmart.

How do billing thresholds work?

You can set monthly billing thresholds to help with your budget. If it starts to look like you’re going to exceed your threshold, we’ll send you an alert either by text or email. That way you always know what to expect and can then choose to take action to potentially lower your bill.

Where can I see my energy usage?

The best way to see how much energy you’re using is to log in to your online account. From there, you can see your energy usage broken down into monthly, daily and even hourly levels, plus average temperatures, tips to manage your energy usage and more.

What do the numbers on my smart meter display mean?

Your smart meter cycles through a variety of messages that are related to the functioning of the meter, including:

  • 88888 which ensures the display is working
  • Register 14 read – The amount of electricity used (in kWh). This is what your bill is based on.
  • Register 16 read – This is the peak demand (in kW) for the billing period. For residential customers, this does not affect your bill. For commercial customers, a kW greater than 15 gets billed.
  • Register 416 – This is your instantaneous kW; it shows how much load is currently on the meter (in kW). This does not affect your bill.
  • CLOSED or OPEN – This display shows the status of the internal service switch.  OPEN indicates the switch is open and the power is off. CLOSED indicates the switch is closed and the power is on.  

Top of Page