The following are a list of some frequently asked questions about the Energy Smart Community and related topics. Do you have a question that isn't answered here? Submit your question to Sharon Anderson ska2@cornell.edu and we will answer you directly.

What is a smart meter?
A smart meter is a  natural gas or electric meter that can digitally send meter readings to the utility. Smart meters enable a two-way communication between the meter and the grid system and are a common component of smart grid technology.

Why is NYSEG installing smart meters?
Smart meters are part of a broader effort NYSEG is undertaking to test system upgrades to the utility. Advances in systems include upgrades to substations, circuits, meters, and grid management software. There will also be customer-facing products, services, and rates based on time of use available in the future. 

What are the Benefits of a Smart Grid (and Smart Meters)

  • Quicker notification of power outages and restoration of service.
  • Reduced peak demand, which may also help lower electricity rates for customers. 
  • Increased integration of large-scale solar and other clean-energy. 
  • Variable pricing depending on peak energy use. 
  • Integration of innovations like battery storage.

Are the smart meters available to all NYSEG customers?
Initially, smart meters will be limited to 12,400 customers in the first Grid Update Area. Those households in the first Grid Upgrade Area will receive a letter from NYSEG explaining when the meter switch out will occur. NYSEG expects to expand this program to all of their customers over the next few years. 

Will smart meters save me money?
Possibly. The system lets you track your energy use throughout the month, which can help you make decisions about shifting your energy use to off-peak times .Peak energy use is typically from 4 pm to 9 pm. NYSEG will also be offering time-of-use rate pricing incentives if you are able to shift energy use away from peak time. 

Will my privacy be protected?
NYSEG has said that they apply the same privacy protection standards to all data they collect. They have said that they treat your personal information as confidential and they comply with all regulatory requirements of the Public Service Commission. They have more information on their Frequently Asked Questions website under Network and Data Security Section

Can I opt out of getting a smart meter if I want to? Yes, you will be able to opt out of receiving a smart meter at no additional cost. NYSEG has said that if you choose to opt out, you will not be eligible for any of the enhanced services such as daily usage monitoring and the new pricing plans. In the next few years, when smart meters are deployed across all of NYSEG's service areas, there may be a fee to opt out. NYSEG's customer service number is 800.925.1559 if you would like to speak to a representative about  opting out of a smart meter installation. 

How will smart meters help increase the use of renewable energy?
The current grid was designed for the last century, where energy flow was one direction from generation to transmission to distribution. Now, with the increase in renewable energy generation (primarily solar), there are thousands of points of generation as well as net metering. In order to incorporate multi-directional flow of electricity, the grid needs to be modernized. The first step to modernizing the grid is to automate it through smart meters and associated infrastructure.

What will this do for me if I already have solar at my house?
Probably not much at the moment. A Cornell University team, also part of the Energy Smart Community, is working on a battery project to offer solar with storage, but that will be in the future.

Does the West Dryden Road Pipeline have anything to do with Energy Smart Tompkins?  Yes, there is a connection.  In February 2017, NYSEG asked the New York State Public Service Commission review an alternate approach to the West Dryden Road natural gas pipeline.  The approach is to replace the pipeline with the following plan: first, a compressor would be installed in the Town of Lansing to ensure a steady flow of gas delivery to existing customers. Second, creative solutions would be proposed to reduce natural gas use, and the existing moratorium on new natural gas customers in Lansing would be extended indefinitely. The Energy Smart Community provides an opportunity to increase the capacity of the grid to incorporate more renewable energy sources.  This will help reduce natural gas use. Read more about it here.                                                                                                           


Sharon Anderson
Environment Team Leader
(607) 272-2292 ext. 156

Last updated August 3, 2017