I&M is Powering the Next in customer experience as it continues investing in distribution infrastructure and newer technologies. Smart meters will improve reliability and provide more value to customers through a variety of services and programs to help customers make better choices and potentially save money.
Smart meters use advanced technology to monitor energy use and provide two-way communication with the energy company, which aids with outages and restorations, and provides the platform for enhanced customer controls and programs.
I&M plans to install more than 480,000 smart meters by 2024. Currently 40,000 I&M customers have smart meters, including 18,000 in Indiana.
With smart meters, I&M customers will have access to more timely energy usage information, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week so they can use the information to make adjustments in when and how they use electricity.
Part of I&M’s proposal includes using smart meter technology to provide customers with a wide-range of programs, including:
- Changes to Existing TOD Tariffs- We have removed participation caps to our Time of Day (TOD) tariffs. These tariffs provide a higher price signal during peak periods of the day. Customers can save money if they move their energy usage to off peak periods.
- Critical Peak Pricing Tariff- Similar to TOD tariffs, but have an additional price signal during the critical peak usage period.
- Residential Customer Engagement Demand Response- The Company notifies customers that there is a peak demand period and if they voluntarily reduce their load, they receive a bill credit. It is up to the customer how, when and how much they reduce their load and the size of bill credit is commensurate with reduction.
- Residential HVAC Direct Load Control- A customer gives I&M, or its vendor, the ability to reduce the HVAC temperature on peak days when electric demand on the system is high. Customers get a bill credit for participating.
- Residential AMI Electric Water Heater Direct Load Control- Where a customer gives I&M, or its vendor, the ability to stop a water heater from heating water on peak days when the electric demand on the system is high. Customers get a bill credit for participating.
- Small Business AMI Direct Load Control- Customer gives I&M or its vendor the ability to directly control some portion of the customers’ electric load in exchange for a bill credit.
- I&M is proposing adding new payment and billing options, including FlexPay providing customers more payment and billing options when using smart meter technology.
- This helps customers pay-as-they-go based on schedule and budget (similar to pay-as-you-go cell phones).
- Customers are obligated to maintain a positive balance in their account, but can control when and how to make payments.
I&M is dedicated to providing its customers with value and a positive experience. We already offer a variety of programs such as average monthly payment plans, paperless billing, Income Qualified Weatherproofing, electric vehicle incentives and IM Green, which supports renewable energy.