1. What is an AMI meter and how is it different from a standard meter?
Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) meters use the latest advanced metering and communications technologies. They transmit readings remotely over a private, secure wireless network, similar to a cell phone network. An AMI meter is approximately the same size as your previous mechanical meter and has an LCD digital display showing how much electric energy you have used. There are differences in how and when the meters are read. Standard meters are read once a month, manually by a meter reader. Readings from AMI meters will be transmitted daily to the cooperative, using a two-way communications network.
2. What are the key capabilities?
The Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system will be able to:
- Collect daily meter reads
- Collect meter reads on demand (when a member discontinues service or to do a re-read when a member calls about a high bill)
3. What are the benefits of AMI meters?
All Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) meters on the system transmit meter automatic readings and can be read remotely at any time through two-way communications, Other benefits include:
- More efficient member service and support
- Improved handling of AMI meter member accounts (i.e. connects, re-connects, transfers of service)
- Daily and hourly energy use available online
- Faster detection of power outages
- Lower operating costs
- Greater meter read and billing accuracy
- Fewer trucks on the road and visits to the meter location
- Better data to plan, construct and optimize URE’s distribution system
4. How do I read an AMI meter?
It has a digital LCD screen and is read the same as a standard meter.
5. How will the AMI meter impact my electric bill?
Your energy use and charges are not affected by the type of meter you have. Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) meters have been tested in many environments, and all tests show very high success in meter read accuracy and response time.
6. Do I own the meter?
No. The AMI meter is owned by URE. However, the meter base (or socket) that the meter fits into is owned by the member. Members are responsible for maintaining this equipment in good working order and for repairing or replacing it if it is damaged or unsafe. Because meters are an integral part of URE’s distribution system, they periodically need to be tested or upgraded to ensure safe, reliable service. At such times, including the installation of the new AMI system, URE has the right to access the meter to perform necessary work.
7. How accurate is the testing equipment?
The accuracy of the test equipment used by the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) meter manufacturers, meter installer and URE's meter shop conforms to standards set by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). All testing equipment is certified and tested annually.
8. Does the AMI meter communication network interfere with TV reception or electronic equipment?
No. A low-level licensed radio frequency is reserved for sending meter data to URE and will not interfere with electrical, radio equipment or personal electronic devices.
9. URE will receive detailed information on my electric use. Will my electric energy use information be shared with a third party for marketing purposes?
No. Member information will not be shared with any entity for marketing purposes.
10. Are other utilities installing AMI meters?
Yes. Other utilities including the City of Marysville, have deplyed advanced meters.
11. Why did URE choose to implement AMI meters?
Advance Metering Infrastructure (AMI) metering is a proven technology that is increasingly being adopted by utilities for the many benefits automated readings bring to members including:
- Enables us to increase electric service reliability and keep your electric bill as competitive as possible through cost savings
- Enables us to quickly spot meter tampering and energy theft, reducing costs that must be passed on to members
- Eliminates the monthly need for utility personnel to physically visit your property to read your meter
- Reduces the potential for human error in meter reading eliminates the need for estimating your bill during months that your meter may have been inaccessible for manual reads
- Can inform URE of a power outage, helping us get electric service back on more quickly
- Integrates with our current outage management system to share data and allocate crews more efficiently. Once service is restored after an outage, URE receives automatic verification. Please note: Still call us to report an outage or safety hazard like downed lines.
- Provides URE indications of voltage fluctuations so we can ensure acceptable levels of service
- Enables us to monitor the maximum demand at your home to ensure that the transformer feeding your home is adequately sized to accommodate your energy use. (Important when it’s 90 degrees outside and your air conditioner is running constantly to keep up with the demand).
- May enable URE to offer additional service and billing options in the future
12. How do AMI meters communicate with URE?
URE has selected an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system developed by Cooper Metering Systems, a global provider of metering solutions for electric, gas, and water and heat utilities. Cooper's system uses a wireless fixed network operating on a licensed radio frequency spectrum to deliver meter reads and interval data daily from home and business meters.
URE owns and operates the system. Communications equipment, which operates much like a cell phone network, have been installed throughout the service district to enable two-way communication with the meters.
13. How does the AMI system benefit URE operations?
AMI meters allow us to closely manage our power distribution system because we have more accurate and timely data. For instance, URE is able to more accurately pinpoint excessive line losses, under- or over-utilized transformers and energy theft. During outages, URE operators are also able to access information from individual meters to determine the length, range and severity of outages and more accurately deploy outage restoration crews.