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News & Press: FOCUS

BWL Launches BSmart

Wednesday, November 1, 2017  
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The Lansing Board of Water & Light has launched a smart grid project called BSmart, aimed at upgrading all electric and water meters. The project involves the replacement of meters to nearly 97,000 electric and 56,000 water customers throughout their service territory over the next few years. As technology advances, new tools and techniques can be implemented to help electric and water grids run more efficiently.

What are smart meters?

Smart meters allow for “two-way” communication by creating a digital network, upgrading from an analog connection, between the meters and the BWL’s information systems. Data flowing both ways allows for the BWL to monitor and diagnose problems in the electric and water system. These upgrades will allow for more efficient outage restorations, integration with energy efficiency program, as well as customer visibility and control over individual electricity and water usage.

Will the new meter cost me anything? Will my bill go up because of the new meter?

You will not be charged any costs associated with the installation of these new meters. The BWL expects the meters to provide efficiencies and allow you to better understand your usage and make smart decisions on your water and electric usage. Your monthly bill will continue to reflect the normal fluctuations in your service use. In some cases where your meter may have been running slow due to age, you may see an increase due to the accuracy of the new meter. Your first bill after installation will show your usage under your old meter and after the smart meter was installed.

Will the new meters be accurate?

The new meters will be electronic and are more accurate compared to the analog meters that the BWL primarily uses now. The meters meet or exceed the national tolerance standards.

How do the new meters help the environment?

They’ll help in several ways. Since meter readers will no longer need to read every meter each month, it will reduce pollution, fuel consumption and traffic. Also, the meters will let us use new technologies that will allow you to make decisions about using less energy, at your discretion, which can reduce the amount of electricity demand. The water meters will also help reduce waste through water leak detection.

Will my energy use information remain confidential and safe?

Yes. Your energy use information will be safely transmitted over secured networks and servers that meet the latest cyber safety guidelines and are the same standards that are currently being used by the U.S. Department of Defense.

Are smart meter RF fields safe?

Yes. Key factors for exposure risk are the power and frequency of the emission and the distance from a person. Smart meters emit only about 1 watt and, when installed, no transmitter is located within the home. Cell phones are considered riskier since they’re held to the head.

Even when meters are grouped together, such as at apartment complexes, their RF emissions are low compared to FCC exposure guidelines.

For more information, visit www.lbwl.com/bsmart.

Click here to download the November issue of FOCUS.


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