Brad Smith

Your electric meter is smart — and so are the engineers behind our smart grid. In honor of National Engineers Week, we spoke with Brad Smith, an engineer who manages our smart grid systems, to learn more about how AEP Ohio is building a smarter grid — and using data and analytics to improve your service.

Smart meters track energy usage in 15-minute intervals. Aside from giving you a snapshot of your usage to help manage your bills, what else can smart meters do?

Brad: The data we collect from AEP Ohio smart meters can help identify issues. For example, smart meters tell us when the power is out so we can work quickly to restore service. The technology in smart meters notifies us of an outage instantly, whether a customer reports the outage or not, allowing us to send crews to the location to find and fix the problem — getting the power back on faster.

How can your smart meter help you make more informed decisions about how you use electricity? 

Brad: AEP Ohio can check your meter data remotely, so it’s easy to read the meter without inconveniencing you. Also, because you’ll have more accurate information on your energy usage, you’ll be able to make more informed decisions around how you use electricity. With more data at our fingertips, we’ll continue working to improve and enhance the reliability of your electric service.

Tell us about new smart grid technologies or projects you’re working on.

Brad: Smart meter technology is helping us better predict an issue instead of reacting to it after the fact. We launched a new project using the voltage information collected from smart meters. Now, through data modeling, we can tell when a transformer is in need of replacement before it reaches the end of its lifecycle. This means we can work quickly to replace equipment, which will in turn help reduce the length of an outage.

We’re also taking a hard look at the data on momentary power interruptions, often experienced as a quick flicker of lights. With the data we can gather through smart meter technology, we’re now able to monitor these brief interruptions more closely — helping us minimize them in the future. We’re excited about the opportunities this opens up for us to continue to improve your electric service.

What do you want your customers to know about your work?

Brad: Everything we do is for our customers — from providing tools to keep you informed to helping you save on your monthly bill and finding new ways to improve your service.

Finally, what would you share with someone interested in engineering?

Brad: Data analytics is the future for so many industries. I’d tell anyone interested in this career to become educated on data analytics and how it can help you make informed decisions. There will always be problems to solve, and an engineer with a good understanding of data is powerful.

Want to learn more?

Click here to find more info on how we’re using smart technology to improve how power gets to your home. Building a smarter grid ultimately means fewer outages, better and faster service and more ways to save – for you and your home.

77 responses to “Using Data to Improve Your Service

    1. Hi Gerald. You can use your online account – the tools on the site will give you access to the data. You can log in and view your usage using either a desktop computer or our mobile app on your phone.

  1. My lights often flicker for a split second, every time I use my hair dryer, for example. Is that a problem with my house wiring or is it caused outside of my house?

    1. Hi Robert. Flickering lights can be caused by several issues. We recommend contacting a certified electrician to check your internal wiring. If the electrician doesn’t find any issues with the internal wiring, please send us a message on Facebook or Twitter or call us at (800) 672-2231.

  2. How about a graph to show me (on line) 24 hrs of my electric use. High percent of my use is due to hot water tank. Doing dishes three times a day is I am sure the largest use of hot water and electric..This would be a big help in curbing the excess use of electricity .

  3. If I have a smart meter and it is able to collect data for you in 15 minute intervals, why don’t I have access to that same kind of data so I can adjust my usage BEFORE I get my bill? I can get myriad other information on my life via the Internet, why not this? Don’t try to tell me how great this is when it is mostly a convenience to you reading the neighborhood meter and not having to have a meter reader walk the streets.

  4. In your article, you mention momentary power interruptions. Since moving into a new home that was finished in July of 2020, I cannot believe how many times this happens in a 24 hour period. At night, reading with a light on, this happens quite often. Is this indicative of a particular area ? It really is very bothersome.

    1. Thanks for letting us know, Ron. There could be a wide variety of factors that are leading to your momentary power interruptions. If smart meters have been installed in your area, then we’ll investigate the electric service in your area using the data. You can help us with this by please reporting the issue and calling us at (800) 672-2231.

    1. Hey Jean! All smart meters from previously approved phases of our installation program should have be in place. We’re awaiting approval from the PUCO for our proposed final phase of installations, and will inform customers once we know more.

    1. Hi Maggie. If you are referring to the thermostat provided through the It’s Your Power program, unfortunately there is not an app currently available to control it remotely. If you have purchased a smart thermostat through the AEP Ohio MarketPlace or elsewhere, those devices could be controlled using the manufacturer’s mobile application.

    2. I use the Samsung SmartThings Version 3 hub along with their SmartThings Android App that has replaced the old AEP Energy Bridge and It’s Your Power app. You can search online about it. Just buy the hub from somewhere you can return it in case you don’t get it to work.

      1. I don’t think there is a way to reprogram the thermostat settings like the type of furnace/ac system, so it is ok to ONLY reset the thermostat’s Zwave (force exclude), but DON’T do a full reset!

  5. Why did the Energy Bridge get discontinued? That was a really useful way to monitor energy usage by different devices.

    1. Hi Doug. Unfortunately, the IT’S YOUR POWER mobile app went away Nov. 30 because we were unable to receive the regulatory approval needed to continue the program.

      1. Who specifically blocked the approval and why? You spent a LOT of money providing Power Bridge and Thermostat, developing the app, and getting us to use it. It was genuinely helpful. Is there someone in our government or at PUCO that does not want us to save energy? Or is it that people selling more expensive devices need to get their share of our money?

        1. Thanks for writing, Dave. AEP continues to evaluate options to help customers manage smart devices and to obtain regulatory approval for those proposals.

  6. So glad to hear about the smart meters. What an age we live in! Wish I could see what next 100 years will bring…but I’m too old for that….grin.
    Anyway, about a year or little longer ago my power went off 3 x in one minute. This messed up my furnace so I ended up w/a big bill getting a repairman out and all he did was reset a switch (that was not visible to me). My son later reminded me to google it next time. Duh…. Anyway, I checked w/you all and you said it wasn’t your fault so maybe this still couldn’t have been avoided. So glad we have steady service during cold/hot weather. Likely helps linemen too so they are not out in weather so much. Someday, everything will be programmable so people aren’t needed much.

  7. We liked the It’s Your Power hub that gave good information about usage. We were disappointed when the program was discontinued.

    1. Hi Chuck. The good news is that you can still see your energy usage data online. Simply login to your account at AEPOhio.com/Account and click the Energy Usage link.

    1. Good question, Sandi. This may be an indicator of some sort of underground facilities (gas, electric, water, etc.) left by a locator. I’d recommend that you contact 811 or visit call811.com for more information.

  8. I want access to real-time energy usage data too. What regulatory hurdles does AEP need to cross to provide customers with replacement for It’s Your Power smartphone app?

    1. Hi James. It’s Your Power was funded under AEP Ohio’s Energy Efficiency Portfolio which ended September 30, 2020. Although real-time data is not available through the Energy Dashboard, customers with a smart meter are able to see their usage in 15 minute intervals. To see your Energy Dashboard, log in to your account at AEPOhio.com/Account and click “Energy Usage” on the left side of the page. We also continue to evaluate additional options to make it more convenient for customers and third-party providers to integrate usage data with the operation of smart devices.

  9. I was so sorry to see the smart meter/energy bridge application abandoned. Now users have lost their real time energy usage monitor. What a shame!

  10. When are the Smart meters going to be installed per Crawfis Rd. SE, Lancaster, OH?
    I sure hope you can help with the momentary power interruptions, we almost never had this problem until we moved to this area over 4 Years ago.

    1. Hi Michael. Thanks for asking. We’re awaiting approval from the PUCO for the next phase of smart meter installations. Our plan is to install a smart meter in every remaining premise in the AEP Ohio service territory. We’ll let you know as soon as more info is available!

  11. I am ready to begin charging my Electric Vehicle at night with the rates go down. Are time-sensitive rates in the planning?

    1. Hi Mohamed. I’m don’t have any details about this discount that was offered you — please call us at 800-672-2231 and we can sort this out.

  12. Yes the smart meters are a great tool for AEPOhio. The app AEP It’s Your Power was a great tool for the customers. As usual it seems anything useful to the consumer can be taken away I think AEPOhio should re-institute the app. Make the smartmeter useful to the consumer with the app. Thx

    1. Hello Rudolf. Many of the same resources are available to you online. Simply login to your account at AEPOhio.com/Account and click Energy Usage. This will allow you to see your usage details and personalized tips to help you save money on your electric bill.

  13. How can you push smart meters when they are not compatible with meters for solar power systems. The last time I checked for a smart meter I was told I could not have one because of my solar system.

  14. Thanks for the effort. The very finest effort was the smart meter thermostat program that it was my pleasure to have installed in my home 2-3 years ago. It was also my most disappointing moment when this last fall AEP abandoned the project. What a waste of time and talent !! So Sad.

    1. Hey George. If it’s usage data you’re looking for then good news: you’ve still got it! Just log into your account online or through the mobile app and that data should be available to you.

  15. Is smart meter technology available for the Van Buren area or When will it be available?
    I’m interested in seeing what my appliances are drawing now and as I replace them how much lower the draw on the power is.

    1. Hi Steve. We’re awaiting approval from the PUCO for the final phase of the smart meter installation program. Our plan is to install a smart meter in every remaining premise in our service territory. We’ll be sure to let you know once more info is available. Thanks for asking!

  16. Thank you for all the help from AEP. I have always felt your Company has been so good to us and I don’t want to deal with any other Company.

  17. How do we , the consumer, see this? We once had the awesome app that let us track consumption in real time. Unfortunately it has been cancelled. Big mistake!!

    So how do we “see” this work in 15 minute intervals??

    1. Hey Zip. You can see this info Log into your AEP Ohio account. It’s all there for you to see, just with a one-day delay.

  18. You talked about flickering lights. I keep my home at 60 degrees but still having large bills. I live alone and only home few hours a day and never change the temperature. What can I do.

    1. Hi Susan. So sorry you’re having issues. Please call us or send us message via Facebook or Twitter can we’ll report this issue and look into what’s going on.

  19. Soon after getting a smart meter installed without my knowledge, I began hearing satellite signals continually. Any connection?

  20. You say you are using smart meters, we’ll the meters on my pole isn’t New and isn’t smart. What you are saying is the smart part is in your building and it is to make your job easier not help my bill, oh I have lived here for 20 years and the same meters are still here and my electric isn’t stable so thank you for nothing!!!!!!!!

    1. Hi Priscilla. We plan to install a smart meter for every customer in our service territory. We’re awaiting approval from the PUCO for the final phase of the smart meter installation program. We’ll be sure to let you know once more info is available.

  21. We had a heater in in a new greenhouse and you notified us of exceptional usage. We made other arrangements for the winter storage of some plants. Thanks for the notification you saved us a ton of money.

  22. Once the its your power program went away, the smart meter has very little use for the consumer. Other than feed back to AEP for power outage. Why take the tool away from the consumer that allows them to identify high usage things in the home and replace with lower usage items? Its always about money. Why not let the home owner decide and pay an extra fee to keep the service if they choose. Problem solved!
    Cant imagine any regulation would prohibit the consumer for benefiting. Our Governments not like that is it?

    1. Hi Michael. We understand this was frustrating for the customers who had adopted the It’s Your Power program. Many of the same resources are still available to you online. Simply login to your account at AEPOhio.com/Account and click Energy Usage. This will allow you to see your usage details and personalized tips to help you save money on your electric bill.

      1. Thank you for your reply. But the app and my online account don’t show daily or real time energy use in the current billing cycles. They only show previous months. I already know this information when I pay my bill each month. Its hard to save energy you already used in the past. its like the guy who ordered spaghetti’s with extra meatballs. He didn’t know he couldn’t eat it all until after the fact. Find a way to bring back the bridge even if its a pay to play thing.

        1. Unfortunately, Michael, the interval data isn’t on the app. We’re looking into adding it, but for now it’s just on our website. To view the data, select “Energy Usage & Dashboard” from the left nav menu. The first chart that appears is one you can use to drill down to your usage. I know it can be a little hard to find so we’re working on making it more easily accessible for smart meter customers. Thanks for checking in!

  23. As I’m total electric and tried to get solar/generator help, I was told I had to make $40,000 a year to be qualified. As I have my thermostats on 60′ my lite bill has went up 34%! I have to wear 3 layers of clothing just to stay warm and shut off the bedrooms but it doesn’t seem to cure the problem. Right now I’m on the budget plan but I’m afraid that will change in July when I go to the NW Community Action Center to be re-evaluated. I will say THANK YOU big time for keeping my electric on thru these cold spells. At 79 it’s a little hard to get out in the middle of the night and start a generator, day time, not so bad. Prayers for your workers that work in this weather outside. Thank you

    1. Hi Peggy. We have several programs available to customers who may having trouble paying their electric bill. I would encourage you to see if you qualify for our Neighbor-to-Neighbor program. You can find more information or apply online at AEPOhio.com/N2N. You can also call us at 800-672-2231, and we can help set up a payment arrangement that works best for you.

  24. What is AEP doing to protect the grid from hacking events or other disasters such as EMP (either solar or man made)? This question came up during a contingency planning meeting at work, and there aren’t many ways around a total failure of the electric grid.

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