All Entergy Arkansas customers will have digital meters by the end of 2021, the company announced. 

The meters are part of Entergy’s  “advanced metering grid system.” 

Customers will be able to monitor their power usage through their online Entergy account, and will have a new dashboard providing views of energy usage, bills and saving tips.

The utility serves Hot Springs Village in Garland County. First Arkansas Electric Cooperative serves the Village in Saline County.

Entergy customers can find a 2-month window for installation at their address at http://energyfuturearkansas.com/#meter-status. The schedule is subject to change.

For example, entering the Hot Springs Village Voice’s address shows it can expect a new meter in October or November.

‘Meters are installed based on the meter routes, so it would be difficult to tell exactly which areas will be covered at what time. Also, weather and the accessibility of meter locations can impact the installment schedule, Entergy Arkansas communications manager Kacee Kirschvink said.

“We communicate with the customer based on what they tell us is their preferred method of communication. If there isn’t an email address on file, they will be mailed a letter. Besides the 90-day advance notifications, they will get a notification 2-weeks prior to their scheduled installation,” Kirschvink said.

Crews will knock on the door to tell residents the power will be off briefly, but will go ahead and install the meter if no one answers. Replacement takes about 15 minutes.

If Entergy is unable to replace the meter that day, the crew will leave a doorhanger telling the customer how to reschedule a visit.

For customers entered on Entergy’s Life Support Identity Program, tthe installer will not exchange a meter without first speaking to the customer. Customers may enroll by calling . 1-800-ENTERGY.

Customers have been paying a monthly tariff since January 2018 to help the utility implement smart meters. Entergy believes potential benefits over time will “far outweigh” implementation costs. 

Entergy says most utilities in the U.S. have installed advanced meters. Oklahoma Gas and Electric, which serves much of Oklahoma and also Sebastian County, Arkansas, completed installation of digital meters in 2013. Public Service Company, which serves part of Oklahoma, completed a 2-year installation program in 2016.

Advanced meters operate by using radio frequency similar to many common devices such as mobile phones and appliances around the home, but at a significantly lower level. Many electronic devices, including your television, microwave, and baby monitor, use radio-frequency technology. This technology has been deemed safe by the Food and Drug Administration, Federal Communications Commission and World Health Organization,” Entergy says on its website.

Once a digital meter is initially installed, Entergy will continue to manually read energy usage for a period. 

“We’ll be monitoring these energy usage readings as an additional step, but this is temporary. In the long-term, there will be little need for a meter reader to come to your home. Instead, this will be an automated process where we will bill according to your reported energy usage. You may receive a visit on occasion from a field employee to test or maintain equipment,” Entergy says.

Customers may opt out by paying a one-time $63.50 fee and monthly $21.80 fee – a total of $325.10 for the 1st year and $261.60 in subsequent years, and will continue to pay the monthly regulatory tariff imposed in 2018.