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Entergy begins meter automation upgrades, fee added to bills

8 months 1 week 4 hours ago Monday, January 07 2019 Jan 7, 2019 January 07, 2019 4:45 PM January 07, 2019 in On Your Side
Source: WBRZ

BATON ROUGE – Entergy customers will notice an additional fee on bills as the company rolls out a new meter system.

Automated meters will allow the company to collect usage data electronically, eliminating the need for employees to visit a meter attached to a structure and record usage. Meter upgrades will begin in mid-February, the company said in a news release.

Customers in the first-round of the installation have likely already received notices about a new meter scheduled to be installed at their home.

The company expects to have new meters installed at all customer locations by May 2020.

The new meters come with a $2.22 fee, a spokesperson told WBRZ Monday. The “initial” monthly fee was added to bills in January.  The fee will decrease over a 15-year installment, the company said.  

“While there is a small increase, it is worth noting Entergy Louisiana residential customers pay rates that are among the lowest in the state and nation,” a spokesperson said in an email that outlined the fee.

Customers can opt-out of the new meters but will be charged $14.35 per month. The additional charge for keeping an older meter is to off-set “operation and maintenance of additional infrastructure and manual processes that are required to serve opt-out customers and read the meter manually each month,” the company said.

Sometime in 2020, a majority of the meter reading and meter services functions will be automated, and employees whose jobs will no longer be needed may be offered jobs within the company.

Entergy said the new meters and automation will create new positions.

A company news release said the service streamlines operations and make energy data more accessible to customers.

“...We are laying the foundation for grid modernization technologies that will create a smarter energy future for Louisiana and offer a wide-range of benefits to our customers,” said Phillip May, president and CEO of Entergy Louisiana, LLC. 

Each meter is equipped with a network radio; The radio transmits meter readings to the electric network access point, housed on an electric pole near the meter. This data is then transmitted to the utility through a secure cellular network.

Entergy posted additional information HERE.

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