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How to Approach Your Utility Customers About Smart Metering

Posted on Nov 24, 2020 9:00:00 AM

Smart meters and advanced metering infrastructure tools are valuable assets for both your utility and your customers, yet many customers still don’t fully understand exactly what they are and how they benefit their life. 

While utilities know the importance of these tools for both their business and the customer, many have neglected educating their customers about these benefits. Yet, today’s customers are increasingly interested in how they can reduce their utility usage and save money, and utility’s need to engage them on how they can do this. 

When interacting with your customers, it’s important that your utility is able to provide clear information on the benefits of smart metering and advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) in a way that is straightforward and easy to understand. 

That’s why, SilverBlaze [below] has compiled a list of frequently asked questions (FAQ) about advanced metering infrastructure and smart metering that today’s customers are frequently asking their utility providers. 

Before we get into that, however, let’s first take a look at why smart metering is becoming increasingly important for customers and how you can provide a superior experience with the SilverBlaze Customer Portal for Utilities

Why is smart metering important for utility customers?

As you know, the typical way to perform metering was through estimates and the occasional reading of a customer’s meter. Yet, today’s customers are becoming increasingly conscious of the services and products they consume.

Utility customers now want to receive information that helps them become more environmentally-friendly and energy-efficient to reduce their monthly bills intelligently. Your utility simply cannot give them that information through traditional metering, therefore your customers cannot achieve their utility goals.

That’s why smart metering has become so crucial for utility providers. Smart metering means customer utility usage is accurately logged and reported back to their utility provider in real time.

As a result, customers are only ever charged for what they consume during their billing period, utility providers can see detailed data on customer consumption to improve their conservation and demand program, AND customers can make better decisions about how they consume their utilities. 

Your utility can use smart metering to provide a world-class customer experience for its customers, providing them with detailed, insightful,real-time data that shows their utility usage and usage patterns - information that empowers them to make changes to the way they use their utilities.

How the SilverBlaze smart metering customer portal module will help

 

 

Smart metering on its own isn’t enough. To truly delight your customers with seamless experiences and insightful usage information at their fingertips, you need to implement a customer portal with an integrated smart metering module.

The SilverBlaze smart metering module provides smart metering data to customers in an easy-to-use and simple format, allowing customers to visually chart how much they consume, adjust their usage, save money, and reduce their carbon footprint

In fact, our innovative customer portal solution was developed specifically with interaction and engagement in mind -sending notifications and alerts to notify customers when they are reaching their allocated usage amount, when there’s a water leakage or power outage, or when the customer has a bill payment to make.

FAQ about Smart Metering and Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)

With smart metering data at their fingertips, your customers will be able to take full advantage of the benefits it provides. This results in increased engagement with your utility provider and improvised customer satisfaction metrics.

Yet, many customers still have questions about what smarter metering and advanced metering infrastructure is. Here are some of the top questions that your customers likely have:

What is an advanced metering infrastructure? 

An advanced metering infrastructure, or AMI, is a system that allows for two-way communication between a smart utility meter and a utility company. This automated communication allows utility companies to collect real-time consumption data which can then be used to provide a superior customer service experience. 

Do not get AMI confused with AMR because they do differ. AMR (automatic meter reading) is an older metering system that serves as a one-way communication between the meter device and the utility and is unable .

What is smart metering?

Smart metering is a method of measuring and communicating a customer’s utility usage through an advanced metering infrastructure in order to help them better understand their consumption. With a smart meter, a customer’s utility usage can be accurately logged and reported back to their utility provider on a daily basis. 

What are the benefits of smart metering? 

Smart metering does away with estimated readings, meaning you’ll only ever be charged for what you consume during your billing period. This level of accuracy helps customers make more informed decisions about how they use their utilities. By offering access to detailed, easy-to-understand data that provides insight into water, electricity, gas, and other utility usage patterns, customers can visually chart how much they consume, adjust their usage, save money, and reduce their footprint. 

Smart metering also allows customers to sign up for predicted billing and receive automated notifications if they are experiencing high usage. This is especially useful if a customer is nearing their allocated monthly usage amounts, as it allows them to quickly make adjustments to avoid additional costs while also feeling more in control of their utility usage. 

Is smart metering safe?

Absolutely! Research into the potential health impacts of radio frequency (RF) waves emitted by smart meters was conducted by the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST). Their report found that having smart meters and advanced metering infrastructure installed in homes resulted in no measurable impact on consumer health. In fact, they were able to determine that people were far more likely to be exposed to RF waves through their cell phones.

 

We hope these questions help you create an educational dialogue with your customers. For more information in the SilverBlaze platform and how we can help you take your smart metering strategy to the next level, contact our team of utility customer experience specialists today

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Topics: Smart Metering, Customer Service