FAQs about the SmartMeter™
Get answers to common questions, plus find helpful links and resources
Following are answers to frequently asked questions about the SmartMeter™.
What is the SmartMeter™ system?
SmartMeter™ is a system that collects electric and natural gas use data from your home or business. Electric meters record home usage hourly and commercial usage in every 15 minutes. The natural gas modules attached to gas meters record gas use daily. This data is sent periodically to PG&E through a secure wireless communication network.
How can I opt out of the SmartMeter™ program?
Yes, we offer many simple ways for residential customers to opt out of the program:
- Online. Go to the SmartMeter™ Opt-Out page online to get details and submit your meter preference. Visit SmartMeter™ Opt-Out Program.
- By phone. Call our dedicated 24-hour SmartMeter™ line to opt out by phone. Use our automated phone system, or speak to a representative at 1-866-743-0263.
How are privacy and my SmartMeter™ data managed?
How do radio frequency concerns relate to SmartMeter™ devices?
We use wireless radios attached to electric meters to send your use information securely. This technology enables you to better manage your energy consumption. Get more information about radio frequency. Visit Understanding Radio Frequency (RF).
Can the SmartMeter™ system help control my costs?
The system lets you track your energy use anytime throughout the month, which can help you make smart decisions and control your costs.
Is the SmartMeter™ system available to all PG&E customers?
The SmartMeter™ system is available to all our customers. Most meters were installed in 2012. Some of our residential customers have opted out of the SmartMeter™ program and use analog meters.
Does SmartMeter™ make meter reading more convenient?
The SmartMeter™ system enables us to read your meter without setting foot on your property or disrupting your schedule.
Does SmartMeter™ help pinpoint power outages?
The SmartMeter™ program helps us improve your service by giving us the ability to locate power outages and restore your power faster.
Does installation disrupt my schedule?
You do not need to be present for the upgrade, but we need clear access to the meter. After that, we collect your meter readings without setting foot on your property.
How long does SmartMeter™ installation take?
We install the device in less than 15 minutes. The upgrade takes place during regular business hours and, in most cases, takes about five minutes to complete.
What is Meter-Connector?
Meter-Connector is a type of SmartMeter™ with built-in cellular technology that enables the meter to relay use data in areas with poor network coverage. The device allows for two-way communication that extends network reach and provides a stronger connection, even during storms. In some areas, network connectivity is low or interference prevents a standard SmartMeter™ from consistently maintaining network connection. Examples of interference are foliage, trees, buildings, construction and terrain. Meter-Connector can send use data for surrounding meters.
What’s the difference between Meter-Connector and a standard SmartMeter™?
A standard electric SmartMeter™ regularly sends meter data through a dedicated radio frequency network to PG&E. Each SmartMeter™ for electric service has a network radio that sends meter data to an electric network access point. The system uses radio frequency mesh technology that allows meters to securely route data via nearby meters and relay devices. This process creates a 'mesh' of network coverage. The system supports two-way communication between the meter and PG&E.
Meter-Connector is a type of SmartMeter™ that has built-in cellular technology. When a standard SmartMeter™ can’t connect to the PG&E dedicated radio frequency, we install Meter-Connector to act as a SmartMeter™ and a cellular electric network access point. Meter-Connector collects info from nearby non-communicating meters and sends meter data for itself and other nearby meters back to PG&E.
What are radio frequency emission amounts from a Meter-Connector, and how do they compare to the amounts from a standard SmartMeter™?
Meter-Connector either transmits 1.25 W or 2 W, depending on the speed of the cellular network in your area. SmartMeter only transmits 1 W. Meter-Connector sends use data to PG&E about four times a day. Total transmission time may vary slightly, but typically takes five minutes or less per day. A standard SmartMeter™ relays periodically, with each radio frequency signal typically lasting from 2 to 20 milliseconds. These intermittent signals total about 45 seconds per day. Learn more about radio frequency. Visit Understanding Radio Frequency (RF).
Is Meter-Connector secure?
Protecting customer information is a top priority. We apply the same privacy protection standards to all data we collect. We treat your information as confidential, and follow all CPUC regulatory requirements.
What are Meter-Connector benefits?
Meter-Connector offers the following benefits:
- The technology helps promote more reliable power, reduces your carbon footprint and provides cleaner energy development.
- After you sign in to your account, you can view your energy use by month, day and hour. Visit Your Account.
- You can sign up to get notifications by email, text message or phone when your electric use moves into a higher-cost tier. Visit Your Account.
- You can check your electricity use in 5- to 15-second increments on your Stream My Data device.
Do I have the option to decline a SmartMeter™ installation?
We support individual choice for residential customers when it comes to your home meter selection. The CPUC authorizes residential customers to opt out for any reason, regardless of whether they have a SmartMeter™ or an analog meter in place. The CPUC did not approve a SmartMeter™ Opt-Out program for commercial customers.
Get more info on opting out. Visit Smartmeter™ Opt-Out Program.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT SMARTMETER™ AND METER-CONNECTOR
To learn more about the SmartMeter™, the SmartRate™ program and Energy Alerts call 1-866-743-0263.
READ YOUR SMARTMETER™
SmartMeter™ electric meters record the total amount of electricity consumed. Learn how to read your meter. Visit SmartMeter™ Network – How It Works.
READ AN INDEPENDENT SAFETY REVIEW
"There is no evidence that additional standards are needed to protect the public from smart meters."
California Council on Science and Technology
California Council on Science and Technology is a nonpartisan and not-for-profit corporation.
Source: CCST Study on Radio Frequency.
ACCESS OUR ENERGY USE TOOLS
Following are our tools to help you understand, access and track your energy use:
- Understand your electric and gas rates, based on average baselines and cost tiers. Visit Tiered Base Plan (E1).
- Find out which of your appliances uses the most energy, and track your energy use online by month, day or hour.. Visit Understand Your Energy Use.