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A smart meter, like your old meter, registers how much electricity you use. The main difference is that it will send your consumption information wirelessly back to Alameda Municipal Power's (AMP) service center, eliminating the need for someone to visit your home or business to collect the meter reading. The smart meters are able to collect more usage information than the old meters, allowing you to see how you use electricity daily or hourly.
Because they are digital, smart meters are often more accurate than mechanical meters, which tend to degrade and slow down as they age. Smart meters are subjected to strict design standards when they are manufactured, and Alameda Municipal Power (AMP) tests meters on a random basis both before and after installation to confirm accurate operation.
A smart meter fits into the existing size and shape of the meter base currently at your location. Meter location cannot be changed.
There is no direct charge for this or other utility system upgrades. Meters, like other equipment upgrades made to the utility system, are already included in AMP’s capital expenses.
AMP is recycling all the meters that are being exchanged.
If your home or business has a solar/net energy metering system, your electric meter will be replaced with a smart meter. It will not affect your compensation.
Instead of simply greening up your personal electricity usage, your participation in Alameda Green offers you the opportunity to support renewable energy beyond Alameda’s borders. By avoiding greenhouse gas emissions, this renewable energy contributes to cleaner, greener communities in our region.
Alameda Green costs an additional 2 cents per kilowatt-hour on top of the standard Alameda Municipal Power electricity mix rates. The cost will vary monthly based on your usage, but is about $6.65 extra per month for the average Alameda home. It appears as a separate line item on your bill so you have full transparency on the monthly cost.
You are always in control of your enrollment. There is no contract and no cancellation fee, and you can opt out at any time by calling (510) 748-3900 or emailing email@example.com.
One renewable energy certificate (REC) represents 1,000 kilowatt-hours of renewable energy delivered to the power grid. To put that in perspective, the average Alameda home uses 331 kilowatt-hours a month. The purchase of RECs helps support production of new renewable energy technologies. All of our RECs are certified by the Environmental Protection Agency's preferred third party, Green-e®. To watch a video about RECs, click here.
A third party (in line with the Green-e® Energy program requirements) audits the program each year to confirm that the renewable energy certificates purchased for Alameda Green customers are accounted for.
Choosing renewable energy offers a number of benefits to your business. Alameda Green will help your business:
Yes. We encourage businesses to consider joining the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Green Power Partnership. Purchases of Alameda Green qualify as an eligible supply for that program, as well as for the U.S. Green Building Council’s LEED certification program.
Alameda Municipal Power funds a number of programs to help customers who are having difficulty paying their bills, or have a medical condition. Learn more about our financial assistance programs.
We use available information from our own records to determine credit worthiness. We may require a deposit if our records indicate that you've had an unsatisfactory credit history with us.
Residential customers whose service was shut off for non-payment may be required to pay a deposit. Residential customers with a bad payment history from a previous account will be required to pay a deposit to reestablish service. Commercial customers are required to pay a deposit to start service. If an active customer declares bankruptcy we will require a deposit to continue service.
After 12 consecutive months of on time payments your deposit will be applied to your account. If your account is closed before then, your deposit will be applied to the final bill, and any remaining credit will be refunded by mail in 4 to 5 weeks.
Delinquent accounts subject to service disconnection for non-payment of bill must pay the entire outstanding balance (current and past due amount) along with a $45 field action charge and a deposit to avoid service disconnection. In the event service has already been discontinued, the same amount is required to restore service.
Your regular monthly bill gives you 23 days to pay. Five days after the due date, a 7-Day Notice is mailed. This serves as your final notice to pay. Whenever possible, you may also receive a courtesy call prior to service disconnection. Calls are made to the phone number on file. If you do not have one on file with us or need to update the existing one, please call our Customer Service Department at 510-748-3900.
Depending on how you made your payment, it may not have posted in our system on time. If your account is in danger of being disconnected, payment by phone with a representative or in person are the best options to avoid the inconvenience and additional fees that come with disconnection of service.
You may see a meter load card when this happens. This is a notice we leave on your door when any of the following occurs:
We're not able to return your original documents, so please submit copies of any income/sources of money/benefit documentation with your application.
Most agencies/programs have websites that you can use to verify and print your letter.
The documents must include pay period dates covering a minimum of two consecutive months within the last two months. Benefit/award letters should indicate year of coverage. Outdated documents will not be accepted.
A completed application package is usually processes within 2 to 4 weeks of being received. After you've been enrolled, the Energy Assistance Program discount will be printed as a line item on your Alameda Municipal Power bill each month.
Customers must re-apply every two years. When it's time to re-apply, we'll mail you a recertification application, which will require current copies of income sources of money/benefit documentation. Seniors or those on permanent disability must re-apply every four years
If your income/sources of money or circumstances change and you no longer qualify, please notify us by mail or give us a call at 510-748-3900.
Are you paying an average of $120 or more for your electricity each month? Knowing how much you pay for electricity is the first step in deciding whether you are a good candidate for Solar PV. The more you currently spend on electricity, the faster the payback will be on a Solar PV system. You can decide to get a PV system that matches some or all of your load.
You might be thinking of increasing your electric load, which will make you a better candidate for Solar. Are you thinking of adding one or more Electric Vehicle? Are you considering changing gas appliances, such as dryers, stoves or ovens, with electric ones?
This increase in your electric load can put you in a higher bill bracket, making Solar a more attractive alternative.
Most people use more electricity in the winter when the days are shorter, the sky is more cloud-covered, and the heat is on (even gas furnaces use electricity if they have a fan). Electricity usage also tends to go up at night. On the other hand, Solar panels generate electricity during the day when the sun is shining.
The more you can match your electricity use to the time you are generating electricity, the better deal you get:
Buying a solar photovoltaic (PV) system is a big investment, one that may not pay back for 10 to 15 years. Ideally, you would want to live in the home long enough to get a payback on your investment. If you pay for your Solar PV system using a PACE loan, the loan stays with the house:
There are several things to consider, including:
For example, you might want to do your part to reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere. From 2020, Alameda Municipal Power will be providing you with 100% Clean Energy so you might want to take advantage of other ways to do your part for the planet.
Your lights are flickering? There are low wires hanging from a utility pole. Please call System Operations at 510-748-3902. See our Outages page for more information.
Customers facing financial hardships may request to delay payment by making a payment arrangement with one of our representatives. Please call Alameda Municipal Power Customer Service at 510-748-3900.
Notices automatically go out after the due date on your bill if previous balance is left unpaid. If you’ve made a payment arrangement with our representative please disregard these notices.
Applications are accepted at Alameda Municipal Power's (AMP) Service Center from 8:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursday and Fridays. On Wednesdays, applications are accepted from 9:30 a.m. until 3 p.m. We recommend that you call our customer service agent at 510-748-3900 to prequalify over the phone before bringing your application to our office.
We're not able to return your original documents, so please provide copies of any income/sources of money/benefit documentation with your application.
Applications are processed on the spot.
The rates you pay for electricity and the customer charge cover the costs to run the electric utility, including purchasing electricity or building generation projects, transmitting power from generation locations to Alameda, setting aside prudent financial reserves, reading meters, responding to service calls, maintaining and improving electrical circuits, billing, installing new poles and wires, and repairing damage caused by vandalism, storms and auto accidents.
AMP has a monthly customer charge to help recover the true costs of basic customer service including meter reading, computers and databases, bill print and mailing services and customer account maintenance. There are a few other costs covered by the customer charge, but it does not cover the distribution system. These costs are recovered through the rates.
While public utility commissions set rates for investor-owned utilities, Alameda Municipal Power (AMP) is the City of Alameda's not-for-profit electric utility. The City's Public Utilities Board, which is appointed by the City Council, approves AMP's rates for electric service.
The Public Utilities Board reviews rates annually.
Alameda Municipal Power's (AMP) entire budget to operate Alameda's electric system comes from our rates. Here's where your dollar goes, as of July 1, 2019:
Capital projects are spread across services, labor and materials.
Based on your total usage the residential rate will vary depending first on your primary heat source and then on the associated tier levels. The kilowatt hour (kWh) allowance per tier has a corresponding rate for the summer and winter seasons and is prorated based on a 30-day billing cycle. Additional charges for residential customers are: customer charge, State Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Program Charge and Utility Users Tax.
Not necessarily. Utility rates are tied to the cost of providing utility service-for example, the cost of building and maintaining distribution lines and poles. The cost to build and maintain these assets are there regardless of how much electricity is used during a given year. Customers can, however, reduce their electric bills by using less. Using less means customers don't pay the costs that vary with usage. A customer's electric bill can and will decrease by using less, even though the utility rates increase. The customer charge covers the cost of billing and meter readings costs-costs which are incurred regardless of how much energy a customer uses.
The City of Alameda's Public Utilities Board, which oversees Alameda Municipal Power (AMP), has approved the short-term sale of renewable energy through 2019 of renewable energy that is not required to comply with AMP's Renewable Portfolio Standard. However, the Board has explicitly directed that the resulting revenue from those sales be used for additional greenhouse gas emission reductions in support of the City's Local Action Plan for Climate Protection.
At this time, AMP does not have time-of-use meters, so it doesn't matter what time of day you use your appliance. Your bill amount is based on your total electric consumption during the billing cycle. However, even though AMP does not have time-of-use meters at this time, our rates are still lower than many utilities that do have them.
Electric vehicle owners that receive the monthly electric vehicle (EV) discount have agreed to charge their electric vehicles between 8 p.m. and 8 a.m.
Alameda Municipal Power's (AMP) smart meters, manufactured by Landis and Gyr, undergo extensive safety testing.
Smart meters use low-energy radio frequency waves to transmit information across distances. Radio frequency (RF) waves are a form of electromagnetic energy. They move through space at the speed of light and can be man-made or occur naturally. They move through space at the speed of light and can be man-made or occur naturally.
RF itself has become synonymous with wireless and high-frequency signals, describing anything from AM radio between 535 kilohertz (kHz) and 1605 kHz to computer local area networks (LANs) at 2.4 gigahertz (GHz). However, RF has traditionally defined frequencies from a few kHz to roughly 1 GHz. If one considers microwave frequencies as RF, this range extends to 300 GHz.
RF and wireless have been around for over a century with Alexander Popov and Sir Oliver Lodge laying the groundwork for Guglielmo Marconi's wireless radio developments in the early 20th century.
People can be exposed to radio frequency (RF) radiation from both natural and man-made sources. People can be exposed to RF radiation from both natural and man-made sources. Natural sources include:
Man-made RF radiation is used for many different things, such as:
Most people are exposed to much lower levels of man-made RF radiation every day due to the presence of RF signals all around us. They come from radio and television broadcasts, WiFi and Bluetooth, cell phones (and cell phone towers), and other sources. RF from smart meters is just one of the many sources people are exposed to every day.
AMP’s meters use a low-powered radio, which operates in the 902 to 928 megahertz (MHz) frequency.
AMP's electric smart meters, which are manufactured by Landis & Gyr, emit about 83 seconds of total transmissions per day during normal operations.
Regardless of the number of transmissions, the duration and power output of AMP's smart meters are well within FCC safe exposure levels. When we tested our meters, our readings were between 1 and 6 microwatts per square centimeter when 2 feet away from the meter, compared to the FCC limit of 601 microwatts per square centimeter.
PG&E's electric smart meters and Alameda Municipal Power's (AMP) electric smart meters have the same level of radio frequency waves at 902 to 928 megahertz (MHz).
AMP's meters use a low-powered radio which operates in the 902 to 928 MHz frequency. The power output is less than 0.6 watts and the meter transmits for milliseconds at a time, amounting to about 83 seconds of transmissions each day. Some of PG&E's gas smart meters in our area operate on a lower frequency (450 to 470 MHz) but have a higher power output, which increases the radio frequency exposure. AMP's meters are well within the guidelines for permissible exposure levels set by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) for health and safety standards.
Radio frequency emissions weaken significantly as the distance between you and the device increases. The casing of a smart meter, as well as wall construction materials, also decreases the level of radio frequency waves in the vicinity. Continuously standing in front of a smart meter would result in the highest exposure a person could experience, and even then the exposure would be approximately 70 times less than the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) limits.
Yes. The FCC sets radio frequency limits and requires that all radio communicating devices be tested to ensure that they meet federal standards before they are allowed to transmit within the radio spectrum.
The American Cancer Society, which has published information on its website related to smart meters, says the possibility of smart meters being connected to an elevated risk of cancer is very unlikely. The organization explains that smart meters have lower levels of radio frequency waves than cell phones.
It would be nearly impossible to conduct a study to prove or disprove a link between living in a house with smart meters and cancer because people have so many sources of exposure to RF and the level of exposure from this source is so small, according to a statement from the American Cancer Society, which is posted on the organization's website. Because, the amount of RF radiation you could be exposed to from a smart meter is much less than what you could be exposed to from a cell phone, it is very unlikely that living in a house with a smart meter increases risk of cancer.
It would be nearly impossible to conduct a study to prove or disprove a link between living in a house with smart meters and cancer because people have so many sources of exposure to RF and the level of exposure from this source is so small,
Because, the amount of RF radiation you could be exposed to from a smart meter is much less than what you could be exposed to from a cell phone, it is very unlikely that living in a house with a smart meter increases risk of cancer.
In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) has published the following statement on its website: Despite extensive research, to date there is no evidence to conclude that exposure to low level electromagnetic fields is harmful to human health.
Despite extensive research, to date there is no evidence to conclude that exposure to low level electromagnetic fields is harmful to human health.
Reports from several other independent agencies, including the California Council on Science and Technology (CCST) and the California Public Utilities Commission, have also found that smart meters have lower levels of radio frequency waves than those of everyday appliances, such as cell phones (PDF).
Alameda Municipal Power's (AMP) smart meters, manufactured by Landis & Gyr, have no history of fires. They detect abnormal temperatures and/or conditions and send an alert to AMP so staff can investigate. An older generation of smart meters - that were not manufactured by Landis & Gyr - were associated with fires in the past.
There was an accident in Stockton, California, in 2015, in which a high-voltage line dropped on a distribution circuit. In some cases, the meters, and/or meter covers, were dislodged from the socket as a result of the surge. Since the surge caused the damage, the meter issues would have occurred regardless of the meter type.
AMP's Landis & Gyr smart meters undergo safety testing as part of the Underwriters Laboratory (UL) certification process. UL is an independent, not-for-profit product safety testing and certification organization, serving the public for more than a century. AMP's smart meters are in compliance with federal health and safety standards.
AMP treats the privacy and security of our customers' personal information as a top priority. AMP uses encryption to keep meter data confidential, transmitting it to the utility over a wireless network with multiple layers of security incorporated throughout the system.
The performance of security measures are tested and reviewed regularly to guard against unauthorized access to systems. Moreover, AMP works with federal agencies, such as the Department of Homeland Security, the Department of Energy, and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) to strengthen privacy and security standards to provide even more safeguards for consumer protection.
No customer-identifying information - such as names and addresses - is stored in the meters or transmitted across the network. Just like Alameda Municipal Power's (AMP) old analog meters, smart meters collect how much electricity a customer uses. The main difference is that smart meters collect more of that information.
Access to information is restricted to authorized Alameda Municipal Power (AMP) personnel, who need that data to satisfy a business function, such as improvements in billing and customer service.
AMP will never sell customer information to third parties for their use in marketing their products or services to our customers.
The wireless communications for the smart meters use the 900 megahertz (MHz) frequency range, which is common to many household devices. Home Wi-Fi networks and wireless phones are typically in the 2.4 gigahertz (GHz) to 5 GHz range, so they should not be affected.
Alameda Municipal Power (AMP) is developing new account-management tools that will allow customers to pay their electric bill from any device, anywhere, and anytime. Plus, they will have the option to track their energy use for every hour of the day.
We're capturing energy usage in 15-minute intervals. Once we launch our new web portal in the coming months, residential customers will be able to log in to see their usage in 1-hour increments and commercial customers will be able to view it in 15-minute intervals.
If you need more information on smart meters and the Energy inView Program, please call our customer service representatives at 510-748-3900.
The fees for opt out are $125 to enroll and $10 monthly.
Customers are encouraged to notify Alameda Municipal Power (AMP) ahead of their scheduled installation to prevent incurring additional expenses for duplicate meter exchanges. Learn how you can opt out of the Energy inView Program.
Alameda Municipal Power's solar and renewables program supports all small-scale renewable electricity generation systems. While solar photovoltaic (PV) systems are the most common in Alameda, wind turbines and other renewable generation are eligible for the same programs as solar. Please call Alameda Municipal Power at 510-748-3900 if you are interested in installing another type of renewable electricity generation system and need more information.
You can generate some of your own electricity with energy that is from clean, renewable sources. This is good for the environment, and can save you money on your electric bill!
Yes. A battery storage system must be paired with a renewable energy system, like a solar power system, in order to qualify for interconnection to the electric grid. The battery storage system must not send energy back to Alameda Municipal Power’s distribution grid.
In order to have an effective solar generation system, your roof must receive enough sunlight. Your property should have clear, unobstructed access to the sun for most of the day and throughout the year. Because shading will reduce the amount of electricity your system will produce, photovoltaic panels should be installed in a location that is not shaded by trees, chimneys or nearby structures.
In California the sun is in the southern half of the sky. The best orientation for a photovoltaic system therefore is on a south- or southwest-facing roof. Flat roofs can also work because the photovoltaic array can be mounted on frames tilting south or southwest. Photovoltaic array can also be mounted on the ground.
Renewable generation is variable because of the resources it relies on. In California, a photovoltaic system will produce the most electricity in spring through fall when sunlight hours are the longest and the sun is positioned higher in the sky. It will produce less in the winter months or when the sun is obstructed by poor weather.
It will stop generating all together at night. Because of this, you need backup generation to provide power when your system is under-generating, or to absorb power when your system is over-generating. If sized correctly, your system can generate all the energy your property needs over the course of a year.
In order to get the maximum benefit for your installation, your system should be sized to generate approximately the same amount of energy that your property uses in a year. Compensation for excess energy you generate that you do not use in a year will not justify the cost of installing a larger system that generates more energy than you need.
The amount of space needed is based on the size, or generating capacity, of the solar energy system. Residential solar energy systems can vary in size from 50 square feet to 1,000 square feet. A rule of thumb is that a square foot of photovoltaic module area produces 10 watts of power in bright sunlight. For example, a 2,000 watt system would require about 200 square feet of roof area.
The cost varies depending on many factors, including the solar energy system’s size, equipment options and labor costs. Typically, the installed costs are determined based on the size of the system’s output. The cost per watt is often used for comparing systems of different sizes.
We issue verification letters for school admission or other proof of service. We can also provide a credit letter to waive deposit requirements from another utility company. Please call Alameda Municipal Power Customer Service at 510-748-3900.
This information is requested in order to establish your account with Alameda Municipal Power in accordance with federal regulations. We use this information to verify your identity. While we do not use it to check your credit upon account establishment, we will report collection accounts to the credit bureaus. We also use this information as an identifier to protect you from unauthorized activity on your account. This information is kept in a highly secure and encrypted database.
The plans and specifications for the conversion of overhead to underground electric lines will incorporate guidelines set forth by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) when installing electric service to buildings (FEMA 348). In addition, at a minimum our plans and specs will include the following FEMA mitigation measures:
In addition, the next phase of the update to the city's climate action plan will consider adaptation, including sea-level rise.
AT&T, Comcast and any other utility companies that use the power poles will partner with Alameda Municipal Power in locating or relocating existing underground utility pipes.
No. The impacted utilities will use and shore a single trench.
No. Streets will be re-surfaced or slurry sealed.
The property owner won’t be charged if the service lateral does not exceed 100 feet. In addition, the property owner must provide utility companies access to their property by signing an agreement. If these conditions aren’t met, the property owner must pay for the costs to move the lines underground from the street to their house or business starting at the property line.
About half of the city’s power lines are currently underground, with 93 miles of overhead power lines remaining. Undergrounding can cost as much as $5.3 million per mile. When you consider the costs, you can see why Alameda is moving lines underground on a gradual basis instead of all at once.
Yes, but the cost of moving overhead utilities underground can be very high. Customers who are not within an underground utility district may request undergrounding of their overhead utilities but must bear the expense of the conversion. For example, a rough cost estimate to convert the electrical overhead facilities to underground facilities for one block (approximately 600 feet) could be $600,000.
This cost does not include converting other utility providers’ (AT&T and Comcast) overhead lines to underground. The customer would be responsible for coordinating any conversion work with other utility service providers. Additionally, Alameda Municipal Power might require easements for location of equipment and facilities.
Transformers are devices that take the electricity of one voltage and change it to another voltage. Transformers convert the distribution line voltage (12 kilovolt) to the voltage used by homes and businesses (120 volts to 480 volts).
In Alameda’s electric system, there are two categories of transformers. Transformers that look like cylinders are mounted on utility poles. Other transformers are contained in green boxes, which are mounted on the ground. Undergrounding district transformers fall into the second category.
The exact locations of necessary above-ground equipment, such as transformers and switches, will be determined during the design stage. It is Alameda Municipal Power’s practice to place equipment within public right-of-way areas whenever possible. Should it be necessary to locate equipment on private property, Alameda Municipal Power will work with the property owner to obtain an easement. Details regarding equipment placement will be available prior to the start of construction.
After City Council approval, the design phase will take up to 18 months, followed by 24 to 36 months for construction.
In 2012, the Public Utilities Board recommended stopping work on underground utility district 31 and tasked Alameda Municipal Power with revising the undergrounding process due to concerns voiced by residents and Board members. The City Council accepted that recommendation at a Council meeting on July 7, 2012. Specific concerns included:
The Alameda Municipal Code (Chapter 19) sets the regulations and procedures for the conversion of overhead utility facilities to underground utility facilities through the development of underground utility districts (UUD). In 2017, a district nominating board (DNB), made up of four members of the public and one member of the Public Works Department, reviewed dozens of proposed areas and made recommendations.
A technical advisory committee (TAC) met to examine the technical feasibility of moving lines underground. In the coming months, the TAC will present the recommended underground utility districts to the City Council for approval.
The city of Alameda’s underground utility program was established in 1984 to place overhead main lines and service lines - including telephone, electric, cable television and other telecommunications - underground in a trench. The purpose is not only to beautify the streets but also to improve and enhance the city’s electric system.
The benefits include:
The drawbacks could include: