Frequently Asked Questions
Building a smarter energy grid
The term “smart grid” refers to the new digital technology we’re adding to modernize the energy grid. It also includes new computer systems used to manage all the new devices. The new technology enables efficient communications between us and our customers, helping us prevent and repair outages, and read your meter faster and more accurately.
Digital technologies will work in combination with in-home energy management systems, new energy efficiency programs, improved communication tools and customer-sited renewable energy sources like rooftop solar panels.
You will have tools to better understand your energy usage and manage your energy bills. Smart appliances, renewable energy generation, and plug-in electric vehicles will be integrated with the smart grid, and we'll be able to detect and solve problems faster.
The traditional approach of building new power plants to meet demand can no longer be the only option. We have to find ways to improve our service and meet energy needs in efficient ways that have less impact on the environment. Renewable generation and energy efficiency must play larger roles.
By deploying smart grid technologies, we can build a smarter energy infrastructure to empower you in making wiser energy decisions, and help create a cleaner, lower-carbon and more energy-efficient world.
We have allocated over $1 billion for deployment efforts in Ohio, Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, Indiana and Florida. Deployment includes digital and automated technology such as advanced meters, automated power delivery equipment and communications nodes.
In 2009, we began a full-scale deployment in Cincinnati, Ohio, and we’re on track to complete deployment of over 1 million advanced meters and over 100,000 communication nodes to support meter communication by 2015.
In the Carolinas, we have projects in progress that will result in more than 200,000 advanced meters by 2015, and we’re evaluating opportunities to increase that number.
In Florida, approximately 80,000 manually read meters have been replaced as part of a targeted project to upgrade aging components of our EnergyWise® Home residential direct load control program. We will continue to work through the regulatory process in Indiana, Kentucky, North Carolina and South Carolina to finalize our deployment plans in those states.
Smart grid technologies, including meters, use the same type of digital technology that make cell phones, computers and wireless internet possible. We are using this technology to offer more options, improve reliability and service, and make it possible to incorporate more renewable energy generation options into the energy grid.
Smart grid technology can enable us to work together to keep energy affordable, reliable and clean. We’re committed to providing the information and tools necessary to best manage your comfort and costs, and digital technology is the best way to do that.
We must make these investments now so we can continue to meet growing energy needs. Today, we have to balance the ever-growing need for safe and reliable electricity with stricter environmental regulations and the responsibility to protect our environment and natural resources. These new digital technologies can help. Spending money now on new digital technologies – and energy-efficiency projects – will save money in the long run.
We are pleased to have reached an agreement with the DOE to accept approximately $400 million in digital grid stimulus funds. This award has enabled us to move forward with the evolution of our power delivery system in the six states we serve.
Smart grid technology can significantly improve our response to day-to-day power outages. In some cases, the new equipment can quickly detect and correct trouble on a power line and isolate and reroute electricity. And since smart meters are capable of conversation with computer systems at Duke Energy, we will know more about outages, which could help us respond faster to restore service.
Smart meters are energy meters that communicate with your energy provider through digital connections. Wireless smart meters transmit metered information from your premises back to Duke Energy using cellular or radio wave communication.
Smart meters have some immediate benefits, such as remote reading. Having a smart meter will also significantly reduce the need for us to estimate bills, so your energy bill will reflect your actual usage. These meters also allow for faster new service. Lastly, the smart meter will capture daily energy usage data that will help inform wiser energy decisions.
Before we begin using the remote meter readings for billing purposes, we will continue to gather manual readings to verify that the information we are getting remotely matches the data displayed on the meter. If your meter is inaccessible, you may be asked to read your meter until you receive a letter telling you that your meter has been certified operational and the manual reads are no longer necessary.
You should continue to read your meter each month and provide the readings until you receive a letter stating that your meter is certified operational. Once your meter is certified, we will gather your reading remotely. You may continue to receive the EZ Read reminder email, but you may disregard it once you receive the certification letter.
Yes, any savings realized from gains in operational efficiencies and the use of the technology will be passed on to customers.
Some employee positions are affected by the use of the new technology. Duke Energy is working closely with employees to communicate and to make training and opportunities available.
Recently, the DOE awarded Duke Energy $3.5 million for workforce development and training. We are currently developing training plans and programs to equip our existing and new employees to support our grid modernization efforts.
No. Participating in residential energy management and other energy-efficiency programs is completely optional. If you choose to participate, you can use the information you receive to manage your daily energy usage.
The smart meters will provide us with encrypted kilowatt-hour consumption information at regular intervals for billing and reliability purposes. This is similar to the data already provided by our current meters.
The meter make/model we select must pass a battery of rigorous tests before it is approved for use in the field. Standardized tests are used to measure accuracy during various load and weather conditions. We also test a percentage of all meters we receive from the vendor prior to installing them at an actual home or business. And we continue to monitor meter accuracy after installation by conducting routine samples and/or periodic testing.
We consider your information confidential and do not share nor sell it to other companies. We recognize that emerging technologies open new avenues of risk. Our digital grid components are protected with layers of cyber and physical security, and our relationships with manufacturers and regulators help ensure we have a broad view of real-time cybersecurity threats and can respond to them appropriately.
We may have to remove plantings around the box to ensure we have enough clearance to work safely.
- No. It will take a few years to fully deploy all of the new smart grid technology and realize the benefits. But there are simple things you can do in your home today to save energy and money. For example, you can switch to energy-efficient light bulbs and adjust your thermostat by a couple of degrees. Turn off electronics when they aren't in use, and unplug things you aren't using. (Fact: Electronics like cell phone and laptop chargers use energy when they're plugged in – even if you aren't using them.)
We also have a number of resources and programs to help you save energy and money. Explore all the options here, including:
- Get free CFLs
- Get a free home energy report
- Get a free in-home energy assessment
- Get incentive money to help make home improvements
- Learn more ways to save
- Duke Energy is installing smart meters to benefit our customers and our company. These meters will pave the way for new products and services for customers. They also benefit our company, since we will no longer have to manually read meters, saving time and reducing fuel and maintenance costs.