LAS VEGAS -- You will soon have more control over your power bill because your power meter is getting smarter. NV Energy's new smart meters will be installed in every home in Nevada by 2012.
The new smart meters will look just like your old ones, except you will be able to read them and control them from your home, office, laptop or cell phone. That way, you can decide how much or how little power to use throughout the day.
"What we want to do is provide that information so that at any given time during the month, they can say, 'I need to do something. Maybe I need to turn my thermostat a little bit higher. Maybe I need to pull the plug on my plasma TV rather than have the radiator run at any time,' and that will translate into instantaneous savings and the bill will be lower," said NV Energy CEO Michael Yackira.
Starting in February, you will be able to log on to your NV Energy account or call customer service and find out exactly how much power you've used that day that month and how much it costs.
So far, 2,300 smart meters have been installed in the last two weeks and 10,000 will be put in by the end of the year. By the end of 2012, there will be 1.4 million in the state.
Those $100 meters were paid for partially by stimulus money through the Department of Energy and partially by NV Energy.
The smart meters are designed to give residents more options and more control over their personal power usage.
"If you're not home, you can raise your thermostat to 85 degrees and then when you get home, it could automatically go down to 78 degrees. And by the time you get home, you won't even notice the difference. But because you're using electricity, the price of that electricity is lower, your bill will go down," said Yackira.
The new meters will also help when power outages happen because NV Energy will be able to pinpoint exactly where the outage is and restore it quicker.
Other utilities in Texas, California and Georgia have already installed smart meters.
Every residence will get a letter 30 days prior to the meter's installation, and then a phone call five days before. Even if you're not home, the new meter will be installed and you will be given a kit showing what was done. You don't have to take advantage of the meter's features, but every residence and building will get them.
The smart meter project will create 200 new jobs in Nevada.