Older meters (left) have been replaced when necessary by digital meters (middle) over the past 10 years. Digital communicating meters (right) have upgraded functions.

In the coming year at Clark Lake, your electric meter is scheduled for replacement. Consumers Energy is installing new electric meters in Jackson County in 2016.

Consumers reports the “new meters send us a once-per-day text-type message with energy use information that is the foundation for enhanced billing accuracy through the elimination of estimated meter reads. The communicating meters also help us to provide both residential and business customers with secure online access to their energy use information, so they can track their energy usage more closely and predict their bills before they arrive. By fall of 2016, the meters will also have the capability to contact us when power outages occur.”

The new meters also have a module that allows gas usage to be read remotely.

These new meters have already been installed in some of the the areas served by Consumers.  See chart that illustrates the installation schedule below.

Consumers installationsConsumers adds “Notifications of meter upgrades will arrive in the form of large blue informational postcards at homes about 30 days before the upgrades. Residents don’t need to be home for the replacement, which takes only a few minutes, but they can call to make appointments if they choose. Businesses will be contacted in advance through mailings, calls or outreach meetings, depending on their size and the complexity of their electric service. ”

And if you really like your old meter, you can keep it–but at a cost. “Households and businesses do have the option to continue using non-communicating meter technology and enroll in the manual meter reading program for $9.72 per month and a onetime cost of $69.39 to maintain the systems and infrastructure to support continued use of older meters.”