When you think of DTE, you often visualize the crews you see in the field or the power lines that sweep across Southeast Michigan. What many don’t think of is how electric meters play an important role in providing customers reliable power and a smart energy grid.

DTE was at the forefront of the industry when it began on its journey to install well over 2 million smart meters across its entire electric service territory. Now, 14 years later, the company has hit a major milestone – virtually every residential and commercial customer has a smart meter.

This advanced digital technology helps improve reliability and allows customers to save time and money.  

Improving reliability

The smart meters send real-time data to DTE’s Outage Management System, giving system operators important information about the status of the energy grid. What does this mean for customers? When a home or business loses power, or an entire neighborhood, DTE’s system is alerted immediately and a team investigates. Through a seamless process, DTE can identify the location and how many customers are affected, and dispatch crews to address the outage.

Saving money

A key benefit from switching from analog to smart meters is the customer’s ability to see their monthly energy usage through the Insight app. Monthly costs can be reduced through the app’s personalized customer data that provides tips to help take control of their home energy usage and become more energy efficient.  

Beyond energy efficiency, the Insight app informs customers on ways they can be safer through reminders such as cleaning filters or tuning up the HVAC.

Reducing time

Turning on and off electric service to a residence or business used to be a slow process. A request would come through by calling or submitting a request online. Once DTE received the request, it was placed on a schedule to send a DTE employee out and manually flip the switch. Today, when a customer puts in a request, it takes between 30-60 minutes to fulfill through a secured, wireless network.  

“When the smart meter program began, we knew the process was going to be a long one,” said Jackie Robinson, director, Operational Technology, Distribution Operations. “We are proud of our employees’ dedication to converting millions of customers to smart, digital meters. Building a smarter, more reliable energy grid, while passing the benefits off to our customers, is always the foundation of how we operate.”