Commissioners Approve "Smart Meter"

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TALLAHASSEE -- Wednesday Tallahassee City commissioners approve a major move that could save you money on your power bill. It's called the "smart meter."

As it is now, we have to wait till the end of the month when we get our utility bill to see how much energy we used. But the "smart meter" lets customers check how much energy they're using anytime they want.

"It's higher on colder days and during summer months the utility bill's quite high," said Wendy Halleck, owner of Quarter Moon Imports.

In an age of rising energy costs, Halleck will soon have more control over her utility bill. Utility workers say it'll be as simple as making a few mouse clicks. Customers can check their energy consumption and adjust their air conditioning or heat online. In a technology savvy era, utility workers say the switch will be as easy as it sounds.

"It's basically empowering the customer, giving them resources so that as a community we can be as efficient as possible," said Reese Goad, the Utility Services accounting administrator. "Very much going green."

Over the next three years, utility workers will attach something to power poles, similar to a wi-fi transmitter. It'll send information from your "smart meter" straight to the utility company. And the changes on your bill will be all up to you. If you see you're using too much energy, making instant adjustments are right at your fingertips.

"I think anything that makes consumers more aware of their energy consumption is certainly good for the pocket book," said Halleck.

Tallahassee residents can expect to see the "smart meters" in your home in about three years. It'll cost the city about 45 million bucks, but workers expect it'll save money in the long run, since they won't have to send workers out to check your meter once a month. Instead, they'll be able to do it from a computer.