NorthWestern Energy will install 590,000 new electric meters and gas modules in Montana.
- This technology upgrade will allow two-way communication between NorthWestern Energy and its meters on customer homes and businesses.
- In most cases, the system will notify NorthWestern Energy of an outage.
- Crews can restore service faster.
- Current energy use information is available for customer questions about bills, energy use and opportunities for energy savings
- System voltage information identifies problems before those problems cause outages.
Montana Digital Meter Upgrade
Moving Toward a Sustainable Energy Future
Moving Toward a Sustainable Energy Future
Advanced Meter FAQs
What is the advanced meter project timeline in Montana?
NorthWestern Energy began installation in Montana in 2021. Here is a list of approximate dates for the Montana Meter Upgrade project by area:
• Missoula Division: completed August 2022
• Butte Division: completed June 2022
• Bozeman Division: July 2022 – January 2024
• Lewistown District: February 2024 – July 2024
• Havre District: April 2024 – October 2024
• Helena Division: June 2024 – May 2025
• Great Falls Division: August 2024 – May 2025
Who will change my meter?
NorthWestern Energy contracted with Tru-Check to install the new digital meters, the same company that installed the first generation, one-way communication digital meters in 1998 that are in use today.
Tru-Check technicians will wear apparel with the Tru-Check logo and will carry a NorthWestern Energy contractor identification badge.
Will I have to pay for the meter?
When will the meters be installed and do I need to be home?
Most of the installations will occur Monday through Friday during business hours, though there will be cases when evening or weekend installations may be necessary. Customers don't need to be home.
A door hanger will let residents know their upgrade was successful. If the technician cannot perform the upgrade, a door hanger will be left with instructions to call to make an appointment.
If you are both an electric and natural gas NorthWestern Energy customer, the new electric meter will be installed first and the new gas module will be installed during a follow-up visit to your home or business in about eight weeks.
What happens to the meter on my home or business now?
Are radio frequency (RF) emissions coming from the meters and modules?
Yes. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulates the safety limits for all RF emissions, and smart meter and module emissions make up a small portion of the limit. The RF emissions of the one-way communication meters in use now and the two-way communication meters that are being installed for this technology upgrade are both approved by the FCC. Radio frequency emissions are also produced by common household devices such as microwaves, baby monitors and TVs.
Is customer information protected?
Yes. Customer privacy and security are NorthWestern Energy priorities. The company’s strict security standards have contributed to protecting the energy grid and customer privacy for years. The meters do not collect, store or transmit any personally identifiable information.The meters measure total energy and cannot differentiate energy usage by appliance or anything else within a home or business. The transmitted energy use information is encrypted.
What if I don’t want an upgraded meter?
Upgraded advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) meters provide useful customer benefits, such as timely detection of outages and real-time energy usage. However, Montana law allows residential customers to opt-out of the use of advanced metering devices.
You can also contact the Montana Public Service Commission with questions about your rights to opt-out of the use of advanced metering devices at 1-800-646-6150.
How do I read my meter?
Butte, Mont. – May 4, 2023 – NorthWestern Energy has filed for an interim decreased supply rate for our approximately 600 Townsend customers with the Montana Public Service Commission.
If approved by the Montana PSC, the decrease for a typical residential customer using 55 therms per month will be on average $15.68 per month in the summer months, $9.04 per month in the winter months and $4.10 per month in the spring months.
NorthWestern Energy is proposing: a 28.4% decrease from $1.76603 per therm from June 1 to Sept. 30 to $1.26444 per therm, (or $1.15787 a gallon); a 20.1% decrease from $1.88883 per therm from Oct. 1 to March 31, 2024 to $1.50804 per therm (or $1.38095 per gallon), and an 18.6% decrease from $1.55550 per therm from April 1 2024 to May 31, 2024 to $1.26444 per therm (or $1.15787 a gallon).
The rate for delivery and service remains unchanged.
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NorthWestern Energy - Delivering a Bright Future
NorthWestern Energy provides essential energy infrastructure and valuable services that enrich lives and empower communities while serving as long-term partners to our customers and communities. We work to deliver safe, reliable, and innovative energy solutions that create value for customers, communities, employees, and investors. We do this by providing low-cost and reliable service performed by highly-adaptable and skilled employees. We provide electricity and / or natural gas to approximately 764,200 customers in Montana, South Dakota, Nebraska, and Yellowstone National Park. We have provided service in South Dakota and Nebraska since 1923 and in Montana since 2002.
Jo Dee Black