CARSON CITY — Love them or not, the advent of smart meters has made life easier for NV Energy customers, including taking the guesswork out of the occasional power outage.
Smart meters, which have now been installed in nearly all residences in Southern Nevada, also have allowed new features to be made available to customers, including weekly reports on energy use.
The new features include a text or email to customers’ smartphones if there is a power outage at their residences.
Wonder no longer whether the utility knows when the power goes out. Thanks to smart meters, the utility may know before the customer does, along with the cause and likely time power will be restored.
All of this new information is available to customers who sign up for MyAccount at nvenergy.com.
The service’s users can get reminders when their bills reach a designated dollar amount or they can see where there energy dollars are going — to the pool pump, that extra refrigerator in the garage or, of course, the air conditioning.
Customers can sign up for automatic bill payment or opt to have their monthly bills averaged over 12 months so they can budget better.
“With the new smart meters, we have a great opportunity to provide our customers with basic information they have not had before,” said Pat Egan, NV Energy senior vice president of customer operations.
Rather than get an unpleasant surprise in July when the electric bill comes in the mail, customers will know in advance what their use is, he said.
“The new services create more of a partnership with our customers than just the ‘Here’s a bill, send us a check’ mode of doing business,” Egan said.
Besides notifications if a power outage occurs, the utility is providing a new detailed outage map on its website, which is updated regularly. The map provides statewide information on outage locations, the number of customers affected and an estimated time of restoration.
Customers can also report an outage through the Outage Center although it is likely the company will already know about it.
The services through MyAccount must be useful; nearly 500,000 customers have signed up, Egan said.
If customers are concerned about their consumption, they can sign up for the company’s thermostat control program, which allows the utility to adjust the temperature when peak loads occur on hot summer days.
Those who sign up are saving about $230 a year, Egan said.
“We want our customers to have this information,” he said. “We want to give as many options as possible to our customers.”
Las Vegas-based NV Energy Inc. provides energy services to 1.3 million customers throughout Nevada. NV Energy is a holding company whose principal subsidiaries, Nevada Power Co. and Sierra Pacific Power Co., are doing business as NV Energy.
Contact Capital Bureau reporter Sean Whaley at email@example.com or 775-687-3900. Follow him on Twitter @seanw801.