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Our products and services differ based on state. Please select your state (or the state you're interested in) from the list to the left.
Why do our products and services differ based on state? Because our business is regulated by state. We have regulated operations in eight Western and Midwestern states. The different regulatory body for each state we serve determines what products and services we deliver in that state.
Whether it’s natural gas, electricity or steam, energy makes your life more comfortable. Our goal is to provide you with reliable, safe and affordable energy. We can also help you manage your energy use so you not only feel comfortable, but your monthly bill fits comfortably into your budget too. Look at the programs and rebates we offer for your home or business.
Your energy usage is measured by a meter located on your building. It’s read either manually, by an Xcel Energy meter reader, or automatically using technology and remote communications. We’ve received many inquiries from customers about “smart meters” and the “smart grid.” We appreciate your interest in these new metering technologies and in our efforts to apply them to our systems to deliver your power more reliably and efficiently.
Here are answers to some common questions regarding smart meters and smart grid. For questions not answered here, please contact us at CustomerService@xcelenergy.com or call 1-800-895-4999.
The term “smart meter” has many different definitions. The most common definitions involve meters that have two-way communication capabilities. At Xcel Energy, we have very few meters that fit this definition. At the most basic level though, the term refers to a meter that measures your energy use and can communicate that use directly to the utility without the need for in-person meter readings. By communicating on their own, these meters allow utilities to manage electric distribution systems more efficiently, reduce costs, improve service reliability, and offer customers more options for managing their electricity use. Smart meters and other types of meters that can communicate with the utility are part of the larger effort to modernize the electrical grid to improve the reliability and efficiency of power delivery. This effort is known as grid modernization and is commonly referred to as the smart grid.
Generally, Xcel Energy’s meters fall into one of three categories. The vast majority of Xcel Energy meters are Automated Meter Reading (AMR) meters. AMR meters transmit meter readings back to us using radio frequency technology (RF). Some Xcel Energy customers have Manual Read meters, which require a meter reader to come to your home and physically record your usage on a monthly basis. Finally, about 23,000 Xcel Energy customers participating in our SmartGridCity® pilot project in Boulder, Colorado have Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) meters installed at their homes. AMI meters generally fit into the most common definition of “smart meters” and communicate energy use electronically through either radio transmission or broadband over power line (BPL) and are equipped with two-way communications technology. Our AMI meters installed in Boulder, Colorado communicate using BPL.
We began to install AMR meters in the mid-1980’s to reduce meter reading costs and avoid errors that can occur with manual reads. AMR meters transmit meter readings back to us using radio frequency technology (RF). Today, approximately 4,500,000 Xcel Energy customers have AMR meters installed.
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If your home or business has a manual read meter, we must send a meter reader out to visually read the meter to know how much electricity or natural gas you have used. Until the mid-1980s, all our meters were analog meters that were read each month by a meter reader. Just as you replace equipment in your home or business, in some areas we are replacing analog meters with new technology. Today, approximately 835,000 analog meters remain in service in Xcel Energy’s service territory.
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Our primary responsibility is to provide you with safe, reliable, and cost-effective service. We select the type of equipment that will work most effectively to do that. To maintain these efficiencies, we do not offer customers the opportunity to choose the type of meter installed at their home or business.
New technology benefits customers by improving reliability, speeding up repairs, reducing the cost of maintaining and operating the electric system, and providing you with more information about your energy use.
Utilities are always looking for ways to improve their operations. The use of new technology helps utilities achieve this goal by providing us with better information about the electric system in a more time efficient manner. The increased flow of information can help utilities predict customers’ demand for power, efficiently deliver energy to customers’ homes and businesses, reduce meter reading costs, improve metering accuracy, and more quickly identify and respond to power outages.
More information on Grid Modernization is available at:
All electric and natural gas meters measure the amount of energy you use. AMI and AMR meters generally allow the utility to collect information about your total energy usage remotely and at more frequent intervals than an analog meter. The frequency of these measurements corresponds to the specific time we need to provide different types of energy services. For example, we may read meters once a month or once a day—it varies depending upon the type of meter and the customer’s service category, type or billing arrangement. However, we may read certain types of meters in 15-minute intervals for part of our research to help predict system demand and ensure reliable service for our customers. Additionally, your meter only measures total energy usage for your home or business, not the energy usage attributable to a single outlet or appliance.
If you participate in time-of-use (TOU) rates, we must measure your electricity or natural gas use at different times during the day that coincide with on-peak and off-peak periods. We do not, however, adjust the frequency of meter reading to collect behavioral information unrelated to your use of energy services.
New metering technology gives us additional options that may facilitate voluntary programs like TOU rates or programs specifically for appliances or equipment that use significant amounts of electricity, such as water heating units and pool pumps.
We respect your privacy. The information collected from all our meters (and any personal information you provide us) is used only for purposes directly related to providing you with electric natural gas service. As we explain in more detail in our Privacy Notice, we do not sell or otherwise disclose information about you except to our vendors that perform services on our behalf, to comply with legal requirements, or with your consent.
Xcel Energy is vigilant about security in all our operations and maintains a cyber security and risk mitigation program based on national standards for our industry. The data stored and collected on our smart meters includes diagnostics for monitoring meter performance and electric usage information. No personal customer information is stored or transmitted by our smart meters. All information transmitted between the meters and the network is encrypted and our encryption process is frequently reviewed for possible enhancements or mitigations to external threats.
We recognize some customers are concerned about the health effects of meters, specifically relating to radio frequency (RF) technology. As the California Counsel on Science and Technology (CCST) explains, many tools we use in our everyday life emit RF, including cellular and cordless telephones, microwave ovens, and wireless routers. Most of our meters also use RF in order to send energy use readings to us. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) adopted guidelines designed to protect the public from exposure to unsafe levels of RF. All Xcel Energy’s meters that emit RF are within these guidelines, which is consistent with a February 2010 study by the Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI) that found electric meters able to communicate through RF to be well within the FCC’s guidelines, even at very close ranges. CCST found similar results in its January 2011 study of RF.
While some utilities have installed AMI meters that use RF, the meters used in Xcel Energy’s SmartGridCity pilot project in Boulder, Colorado do not use RF to send information to us. Rather, our AMI meters use Broadband Over Power Line (BPL) technology.
More information on RF is available at: