If you live in Galveston County, Texas and you see someone in your yard wearing a black uniform and a black helmet with a face shield, don’t be frightened. You’re just getting a new Smart Meter.
CenterPoint Energy, the public utility that distributes electricity to homes in the Houston and Galveston areas of Texas, recently launched a digital Smart Meter upgrade program in Galveston County, including Galveston, Jamaica Beach, Santa Fe, Hitchcock, Bayou Vista, and parts of League City and La Marque.
The black-clad workers are employees of North Houston Pole Line, a contractor that’s handling the meter installations for CenterPoint. They should knock on your door to let you know they’re there before they go around back and install the meters, but if they don’t get an answer, they’ll go ahead and install the meter anyway.
In case you don’t hear them, you arrive home when they’re already at work or you just want to double-check their bona fides, all workers’ uniforms will have a company ID badge. You can even check out front for a North Houston Pole Line company vehicle.
The wireless Smart Meters that CenterPoint is installing will allow the utility to “talk” directly with your meter to get remote updates on your electricity usage. That means no more meter readers. The Smart Meters also let CenterPoint turn on and off power remotely in cases where electricity service is being set up or discontinued, which can be a big convenience if you’re moving.
Once the installer gets to work, it should only take about 10 minutes to complete the installation.
The Smart Meter installation program is scheduled to be completed by the end of March.
“CenterPoint Energy Replacing its Meters,” The Galveston County Daily News, Jan. 27, 2012.