PUCN Logo

Smart Meters


Medidor Inteligente

Download this page as a PDF document.

Download the Nevada Department of Public Safety's smart meter report.

  1. What are smart meters?
  2. Are smart meters accurate? 
  3. Are smart meters secure against hacking?
  4. Will my billing and usage information be kept confidential?  
  5. Will smart meters change the rules regarding when a gas or electric utility can terminate utility service? 
  6. If I have a smart meter, will I be required to participate in NV Energy’s dynamic pricing study?
  7. Will my bill increase due to the cost of the system?
  8. May I opt out of having a smart meter installed by NV Energy at my home?
  9. May I opt out of having a smart meter installed by NV Energy at my business?
  10. How do I apply to participate in the Trial Opt-Out Program? 
  11. Is there a cost to opt-out?
  12. What if I'm already on NV Energy's postponement list? 
  13. Do I get to keep my analog meter if I participate in the Trial Opt-Out Program?
  14. What if I already have a smart meter?  Can I still participate in the Trial Opt-Out Program?
  15. How soon will I receive the refurbished analog meter?
  16. If I move, do I have to pay the set up charge again to partiicpate in the Trial Opt-Out Program at my new residence? 
  17. If I live in Northern Nevada and NV Energy provides both my natural gas and electric service, do I have to opt-out for both my gas and electric meters?
  18. Who is ineligible for the Trial Opt-Out Programs?
  19. If I participate in the Trial Opt-Out Program, can NV Energy force me to get a smart meter at any time?
  20. Why is the opt-out program called a "trial" program? 
  21. Can I quit the Trial Opt-Out Program at any time? 
  22. Where can I find information about PUCN proceedings concerning smart meters?

    1. What are smart meters?

    Smart meters are digital devices that collect energy use data and, unlike traditional meters, transmit and receive data, too. For example, NV Energy’s smart meters record the amount of energy used every 15 minutes, providing a detailed view of daily energy usage patterns. A consumer can access information about his own energy use via the MyAccount web tool on www.nvenergy.com or through NV Energy's automated voicemail system the day after the energy usage occurs. NV Energy’s customers in northern Nevada have similar access to data regarding their natural gas use.

    2. Are smart meters accurate?

    Because smart meters are digital meters, they are generally less likely to provide “slow reads” than analog meters. As with many things, as any utility meter ages it may require maintenance and repair in order to continue to accurately record usage. This is generally one reason for existing meter testing procedures available for any type of utility meter. Regarding smart meters specifically, NV Energy, for example, utilizes a multi-phased process to test the accuracy of its meters:

    • The manufacturer conducts meter testing.
    • NV Energy tests the meters again in its meter shop.
    • Finally, a third party (the University of Nevada) tests the meters.

    3. Are smart meters secure against hacking?

    Smart meters transmit data via the same technology used to transmit data between cell phones. Various measures may be taken by a utility installing smart meters to ensure that data is protected. For example, NV Energy is addressing security and privacy concerns associated with such transmittal by protecting its networks through:

    • The use of best-in-industry technology and software. 
    • The use of an encrypted radio frequency network from the meters to the networks. 
    • Isolation of the network from the customer website. 
    • Isolation of the network that transmits data from the meters to the corporate computer network.

    4. Will my billing and usage information be kept confidential?

    Utilities are required to keep customer information confidential regardless of whether a smart meter has been installed. The following customer information is NEVER broadcast from NV Energy’s smart meters:

    • Name
    • Address
    • Driver’s License Number 
    • Social Security Number 
    • Date of Birth 
    • Personal ID Number 
    • Utility Account Number

    5. Will smart meters change the rules regarding when a gas or electric utility can terminate utility service?

    No. The same rules regarding termination of service and notice apply regardless of whether the customer has a smart meter or a non-standard meter. If a customer has a smart meter and is disconnected, and the customer subsequently pays the utility an amount sufficient to resume service on or before 2 p.m., the utility shall resume service to the customer on the same day that the payment is received by the electric utility. If the payment is received by the electric utility after 2 p.m., the utility shall resume service to the customer within 24 hours. See Nevada Administrative Code 704.350 - 704.380 for more information about the rules gas and electric utilities must follow when terminating a customer's service.

    6. If I have a smart meter, will I be required to participate in NV Energy’s dynamic pricing study?

    No. NV Energy is conducting a voluntary, two-year “dynamic pricing trial” that began in January 2012. Customers who volunteered for the trial will be given the option of quitting the trial at the end of the first year. They will also be offered a lower-price guarantee during the first year of the trial. Customers will have the option of choosing a cost structure that best suits their energy consumption patterns. They will not be forced to use a new pricing plan.

    7. Will my bill increase due to the cost of the system?

    Smart meters may result in both additional costs and additional savings to ratepayers. When NV Energy presents the costs and savings due to smart meters to the PUCN in a rate case, the PUCN will examine the evidence in the record and determine how to adjust rates so that they are just and reasonable.

    8. May I opt out of having a smart meter installed at my home?

    Yes. The PUCN issued an order on January 9, 2013, in Docket 12-05003, approving a smart meter Trial Opt-Out Program.  The Trial Opt-Out Program allows NV Energy's residential customers to choose to have refurbished analog meters rather than smart meters installed on their home. Click here to access NV Energy's tariff detailing the terms and conditions of the program. The PUCN approved this tariff on February 4, 2013.

    9. May I opt out of having a smart meter installed at my business?

    On July 10, 2013, the PUCN opened investigatory docket 13-07017 to determine whether NV Energy should be required to allow commercial customers the option to opt out of its smart meter program.  On July 24, 2013, NV Energy filed a letter with the PUCN stating its intent to create a trial opt-out program for its commercial customers and forego the investigatory process. On Aug. 9, 2013, NV Energy filed proposed draft tariffs, or rules, defining the terms and conditions of a trial opt-out program for its commercial customers, including the cost of opting out. On Aug. 12, 2013, the PUCN opened dockets 13-08007, 13-08008 and 13-08009 to begin the hearing process to review NV Energy's proposed tariffs.  PUCN approval is required before the tariffs can take effect and a trial opt-out program for commercial customers can be implemented.  To stay informed of this matter, check regularly for filings made in dockets 13-08007, 13-08008 and 13-08009 and sign up for the service list for each docket.

    10. How do I apply to participate in the Trial Opt-Out Program?

    Call NV Energy at (702) 402-4273 in Southern Nevada or 1-888-559-9744 in Northern Nevada.

    11. Is there a cost to opt-out?

    Yes. There is a one-time installation fee and a monthly recurring fee.  Fees are defined in the table below. NV Energy does not offer a payment plan specific to the fees associated with the Trial Opt-Out Program.  The fees will appear on your bill as a "non-standard meter charge."

      Southern NV
    Electric
    Northern NV
    Electric Only
    Northern NV
    Electric + Gas
    Set Up Charge
    (one time charge)
    $52.86 $52.44 $52.44
    Monthly Fee $8.82 $8.72 $9.26

    12. What if I'm already on NV Energy's postponement list?

    NV Energy will send letters to customers on the postponement list in February 2013. The letter will include an overview of the Trial Opt-Out Program, the tariff detailing the program's terms and conditions, and a postcard that the customer may complete and return to NV Energy in order to register for the Trial Opt-Out Program before a specified date. These customers may also register to opt-out by calling NV Energy at (702) 402-4273 in Southern Nevada or 1-888-559-9744 in Northern Nevada.

    13. Do I get to keep my analog meter if I participate in the Trial Opt-Out Program?

    No. NV Energy will switch out your existing analog meter with a refurbished analog meter. The refurbished analog meter is non-communicating, incapable of storing data, and must be read manually.

    14. What if I already have a smart meter?  Can I still participate in the Trial Opt-Out Program?

    Yes. NV Energy will replace your smart meter with a refurbished analog meter.

    15. How soon will I receive the refurbished analog meter?

    NV Energy will process requests based on the order of receipt. NV Energy's goal is to install refurbished analog meters within 20 business days of a customer's request.

    16. If I move, do I have to pay the set up charge again to participate in the Trial Opt-Out Program at my new residence?

    Yes.

    17. If I live in Northern Nevada and NV Energy provides both my natural gas and electric service, do I have to opt-out for both my gas and electric meters?

    Yes.

    18. Who is ineligible for the Trial Opt-Out Program?

    The following restrictions apply:

    • Only customers of record (the person whose name is on the bill) with NV Energy are authorized to participate in the program.  A property owner who is not the official customer of record cannot participate.  For example, a landlord cannot select to participate in the program if the landlord is not the official customer of record for the rented property.
    • NV Energy has the discretion to determine that a customer is not eligible for the Trial Opt-Out Program if there is evidence that the customer has tampered with the existing meter at the customer's residence.
    • Participation in the Trial Opt-Out Program is limited to 12,000 electric customers in Southern Nevada, 4,500 electric customers in Northern Nevada, and 4,500 gas customers in Northern Nevada. Participation is on a first-come, first-served basis.
    • Customers who volunteer to participate in NV Energy's optional time-of-use or net metering programs are ineligible.  (Net metering customers receive credit from the utility for electricity produced from a renewable energy system on the customer's property.)

    19. If I participate in the Trial Opt-Out Program, can NV Energy require that I have a smart meter installed at any point in the future?

    NV Energy has terms and conditions that must be met in order for a customer to maintain eligibility for the smart meter Trial Opt-Out Program.

    • Customers who make two late payments in any 12-month period after enrolling in the Trial Opt-Out program will become ineligible for the Trial Opt-Out Program.
    • Customers who deny NV Energy access to read their refurbished analog meter twice in any 12-month period will become ineligible for the program.
    • A customer’s participation in the Trial Opt-Out Program may be revoked if there is evidence that the customer attempts to defraud the utility or tampers or interferes with the operation of the refurbished analog meter.

    See question number 18 above or review the company's tariff for more information about the program's terms and conditions.

    20. Why is the opt-out program called a "trial" program?

    The Trial Opt-Out Program was established as a four-year program that will end on or about December 31, 2016. During this period of time, the PUCN will assess the viability of the program based on data collected by NV Energy. For the first year of the program, the PUCN requires NV Energy to file quarterly reports identifying the number of program participants and meter installations. Within the first 18 months, the PUCN requires NV Energy to file the cost and rates associated with the program. No later than April 1, 2016, the PUCN requires NV Energy to make a filing to either update the Trial Opt-Out Program or a proposal to end it, with a transition plan. At that time, the PUCN will determine whether or not to continue the program.

    For more information on the Trial Opt-Out Program, review the order issued by the PUCN in docket 12-05003.

    21. Can I quit the Trial Opt-Out Program at any time?

    Yes. Call (702) 402-4273 in Southern Nevada and 1-888-559-9744 in Northern Nevada to schedule a smart meter installation. There is no additional fee for the smart meter installation. The fees paid toward participation in the Trial Opt-Out Program cover the cost of removing the refurbished analog meter and placing a standard smart meter.

    22. Where can I find information about PUCN proceedings concerning smart meters?

    Visit the PUCN's All Dockets web page to view filings made as part of the dockets listed below:

    • Docket No. 10-02009:  Application of Nevada Power Company d/b/a NV Energy for approval of its 2010-2029 Triennial Integrated Resource Plan. (The PUCN approved NV Energy's request to set smart meters as the utility's standard metering option for all classes of customers.)
    • Docket No. 11-10007:  Investigation regarding NV Energy's Advanced Service Delivery Meter Program a/k/a Smart Meter and its implementation. (The PUCN issued an order requiring NV Energy to implement a program to allow residential customers to opt-out of the utility's smart meter program.)
    • Docket 12-05003:  Joint Application of Sierra Pacific Power Company d/b/a NV Energy and Nevada Power Company d/b/a NV Energy for authority to establish and implement three separate trial non-standard metering option riders pursuant to the Order issued in Docket No. 11-10007.  (The PUCN issued an order requiring NV Energy to implement a Trial Opt-Out Program that would allow participating customers to receive a non-communicating meter incapable of storing data, rather than a smart meter.)