Florida utilities continue to invest in smart meters

by | Apr 28, 2021


Florida utility companies across the state continue to make major investments in Floridians, installing smart meters that give consumers more control over their energy use.

Smart meters are a vital tool for utilities seeking to gain insight into and control over their electricity distribution networks. Such meters measure and record electricity usage at regular intervals and send the data wirelessly to customers and the power company, much like how your home Wi-Fi works. The units replace outdated, manually read electromechanical meters by implementing two-way communicating devices that measure and share usage data in hourly or minute-by-minute intervals.

On Tuesday, Duke Energy became the latest to modernize Florida’s grid by installing smart meters. The Florida utility company announced the completion of a multi-year effort across the state to upgrade nearly 2 million customer meters to smart meters. The new smart meters are part of Duke Energy’s commitment to building a smarter energy future. The company says the digital technology investment will help the company meet the changing needs and expectations of customers.

“Customers have told us they want more timely access to their energy usage information and bringing this technology to Florida is one way for us to better meet those expectations,” said Melissa Seixas, Duke Energy Florida state president. “Smart meters will help us identify and respond faster to customer outages and give our customers tools to help them make smart energy choices to best fit their needs.”

In a press release, Duke stated the meters are an evolution in the company’s previous meter-reading technology and provide several enhanced services that offer residential and some business customers more control over their energy use. Such options include opportunities to pick billing due dates and receive usage alerts. Such alerts can help customers better understand and budget for their energy consumption.

Full deployments continue in Florida and other states into 2021.

Duke is the most recent company to make Florida’s energy grid more resilient. Florida Power and Light (FPL) was among the first in the country to invest in smart grid technology. The largest energy company in the U.S., FPL rolled out smart meters 10 years ago, with over 5 million customers receiving advanced technology to help detect problems and restore service faster during power outages.

In addition to their smart meter initiative, FPL has installed more than 155,000 intelligent devices crucial to the company’s program to modernize the energy system.

Gulf Power, which merged with FPL at the beginning of 2021, reached full deployment in 2012 and has 469,000 meters.

Tampa Electric (TECO) has also rolled out new technology to make the electrical infrastructure easier to manage. The company is nearly done installing state-of-the-art smart meters for all 800,00 customers, with the majority expected to have a new meter by the end of the summer.

“These meters are a foundation for many future improvements, including Improved outage detection and restoration, more convenience and privacy for customers, and more information about energy use,” said Cherie Jacobs, a spokesperson for Tampa Electric. “This new technology will ultimately connect our grid to streetlights, rooftop solar, electric vehicles and more.”

With hurricane season right around the corner, utilities say the smart meters will help support faster service restoration in the event of outages, including storm-driven outages.

For a breakdown of Florida’s smart meter deployment, click here.

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