Information on Meters
(updated August 1, 2022)
At the beginning of March, TNMP notified customers that NextGen meters would need to be installed after AT&T decommissioned its 3G network, in which more than half of TNMP's meters communicate. Currently, TNMP has less than 10,000 single phase meters to replace.
Employees and / or contractors have been installing meters that communicate on new technology and manually reading those meters that can't communicate.
During the meter change out process, TNMP may have had to estimate some meter reads for two to three months, during a time in which Texas was seeing unseasonably high temperatures. Until your meter has been replaced, please make sure we have access to read your meter or change your meter to avoid additional estimates.
The new meters are tested before installation, and meter reads are accurate.
We have been in communication with the Retail Energy Providers (REP) since the beginning of the meter changeout process, notifying REPs of the estimation process, and providing market updates along the way.
A customer’s bill may show an estimated amount, which is intended to reflect a normalized consumption based on estimation routines in place. Every effort is made to try to ensure the customer is not charged for any consumption they did not use. If a billing error did occur, TNMP will be cancelling and rebilling. Customers should work through the REPs with billing concerns.
However, the issue of higher bills is not directly correlated to the replacement of the meters.
It's important to note that this issue is happening statewide. Customers throughout the state of Texas have been impacted by higher energy bills, not just those within the TNMP service territory. Here are just a few examples:
This is due to several factors including above-normal temperatures since April and the increase of the price of natural gas.
Due to higher natural gas prices, on new plans REPs may be charging more than they were previously. An example of this would be browsing PowertoChoose.org, where a customer can see many REPs are now charging a lot more per kWh from what they were charging last year.
We highly encourage customers to do their due diligence, work with their current REP, or research rates on PowertoChoose.org to know the facts before signing up for a rate.
It should be noted that customers have been encouraged since the start of the meter rollout process to check with their REP billing company with any questions about how their billing may be affected.
If a customer has a billing issue or question, we ask they contact their REP from whom they receive their bill. The REP can submit an inquiry to TNMP to review the reads and/or consumption in question.
If a customer is having issues paying their bill, please contact your REP to learn what payment options are available. Customers can also call 2-1-1 or 211texas.org to learn what assistance in available.
We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused.
Access to your property
Work may be conducted on weekdays and weekends.
TNMP employees and contractors never need to enter your home; turn away anyone who claims to represent TNMP and asks to enter your home.
Please allow them onto your outdoor property to access our meters. Power may be out briefly (usually less than five minutes) while the meter is changed.
Efforts under way
The origin of these efforts is AT&T decommissioning its 3G network, on which a bit more than half of TNMP's meters communicate.
Employees and / or contractors will be:
- installing meters that communicate on new technology.
- manually reading those meters that can't communicate.
Customers where TNMP has installed 4G meters aren't expected to be affected at this time.
Billing impacts related to manual meter reading
Manual meter reading will be conducted for non-communicating meters on a monthly basis. The monthly readings will be reported to customers' chosen retail electric provider (REP) billing companies. Interval data won't be available and won't be posted to Smart Meter Texas.
Please check with your REP billing company with any questions about how your billing may be affected. REPs are not responsible for, nor can they change, how billing data is delivered to them.
TNMP's current meters communicate on 3G and 4G technology, almost entirely on AT&T networks. They can't "roam" onto other providers' networks.
AT&T informed TNMP in 2019 that it would discontinue operating its 3G network in February 2022. TNMP researched options and identified a solution with meters using new communication technology. The solution was approved by the Public Utility Commission of Texas.
The rollout that began in February 2022 originally had been scheduled to begin in autumn 2021 and conclude in 2022. However, our meter vendor advised us in July 2021 that it was experiencing significant supply chain constraints related to the COVID-19 pandemic, so delivery of the meters was delayed.
The new meters will communicate through a device installed nearby that will collect meter reading data in its immediate area and report it to TNMP.
Data, as measured in kilowatt-hours and kilowatts, will continue to be reported in 15-minute increments. No information about customers is communicated.
The eventual difference will be newer technology in general. If and when communication technology needs to be upgraded in the future, fewer actual devices will need to be upgraded.