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 if I don’t want an upgraded meter?
NorthWestern Energy is bypassing customers who do not want an upgraded meter. NorthWestern Energy Montana customers will have the right to opt-out of the use of advanced metering devices and may be required to pay a tariff charge, once the tariff is approved by the Montana Public Service Commission. The Montana PSC's schedule to determine NorthWestern Energy's application for the opt-out tariff is available HERE.
For more information, call NorthWestern Energy at 1-800-486-4280 or the Montana Public Service Commission at 1-800-646-6150.
Montana law allows customers to opt-out of the use of advanced metering devices according to terms and conditions set by the Montana Public Service Commission. No utility company can require the use of an advance metering device. If you have questions about your opt-out rights, please contact the Montana Public Service Commission at 1-800-646-6150.
What is the project timeline?
Here is a list of approximate dates for the Montana meter upgrade project by area.
- Butte Division – completed in June 2022
- Missoula Division – in progress, expected completion in August 2022
- Bozeman Division – July 2022 – January 2023
- July 2022 – Bozeman, Belgrade, Ennis and Cameron
- Aug 2022 – Jeffers and McAllister
- Sep 2022 – Big Sky, Pony, Churchill, Harrison, Gallatin Gateway, Manhattan, Norris, Three Forks and Willow Creek
- Nov 2022 – Amsterdam
- Dec 2022 – Logan
- Jan 2023 – Livingston
- Billings Division - October 2022 – October 2023
- Havre District – March 2023 – September 2023
- Helena Division – June 2023 – May 2024
- Great Falls Division – Sept 2023 – June 2024
- Lewistown District – January 2024 – June 2024
How is COVID-19 impacting this project?
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.
What happens to the meter on my home or business now?
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.
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.
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 within the following eight weeks.
Will I have to pay for the meter?
Billings, Mont. – Dec. 2, 2022 – NorthWestern Energy is upgrading the power lines along 17th Street West in Billings from Rimrock Road to Parkhill Drive.
Traffic will be delayed and detoured in the area until Friday, Dec. 9, when the project will be complete.
“We appreciate the patience of our customers in the area and drivers as we continue this important service reliability upgrade project,” said NorthWestern Energy Supervisor Electric Operations Jordan McNaught.
For more information, contact NorthWestern Energy at 888-467-2669.
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About NorthWestern Energy (Nasdaq: NWE)
NorthWestern Corporation, doing business as 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 are working to deliver safe, reliable, and innovative energy solutions that create value for customers, communities, employees, and investors. This includes bridging our history as a regulated utility safely providing low-cost and reliable service with our future as a globally-aware company offering a broader array of services performed by highly-adaptable and skilled employees. We provide electricity and / or natural gas to approximately 753,600 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. More information is available on the company's Web site at www.northwesternenergy.com.
Jo Dee Black