Frequently Asked Questions
1. What is an AMI meter?
An Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) meter is an electrical meter that records the consumption of electricity and sends that information back to CVEC. These meters differ from traditional meters because there is a wireless module installed in the meter which allows for two-way wireless communication (much like a cell phone) between the meter and the co-op. AMI will increase the efficiency and reliability of the co-op's electric system. Improving the efficiency of both operations and the delivery of electricity can help CVEC keep costs down for members.
2. Why is CVEC changing to AMI meters?
The meter upgrade provides CVEC members with numerous benefits. The AMI meters will help the co-op with the following:
- Pinpoint the exact location of outages more quickly, meaning a faster response time
- Help members troubleshoot high-bill problems. By providing information about power consumption patterns, outage and blink count history and voltage information
- Improve electric service reliability and power quality – fewer outages, blinks and surges
- Help secure the overall safety of the cooperative employee team
- Save money by eliminating the labor and transportation costs of in-person meter reading
- Improve billing accuracy, eliminating misreads or inaccurate readings
3. What information does the new meter record?
The new meter records an electronic kWh reading, the date and time of energy usage, the overall peak demand of the electric account, if the meter has rotated backwards, and the number of times the meter has experienced a loss of power for any reason. In fact, the meter will record the date and time of light blinks and the length of the power outage.
4. What’s the difference between the new meters and the old meters?
The new meters are digital electronic devices while the old meters were an electro-mechanical device. The new meters will continue to display the meter reading, but it will be in a digital LED format. The biggest difference is that the new meters will have an electronic circuit board module installed. The module receives and stores the kilo-watt-hour (kWh) and demand consumption recorded by the electronics in the meter, and is able to transmit securely this and other system data back to the cooperative’s computers.
5. How will the co-op read the meters?
With these new meters, CVEC can read the meter remotely from our office. Information from the meter is transmitted back to the co-op in daily increments. The cooperative’s computer will communicate with the substation-installed equipment, which sends a request for one or more meter readings. The meter reading is sent back to the co-op via a secure network. Transmitting this information electronically means that a meter reader no longer comes to your house in person.
6. Will the new meter automatically notify CVEC about a power outage, or should I still call?
The new meters are designed to alert CVEC about outages, but members should continue to contact CVEC to report an outage and any immediate hazards.
7. How secure will the new meters be?
The meter display is visible for members to be able to check their consumption. All other information and data stored in the meter is secure and the meter is sealed.
8. Will the co-op notify me prior to installation?
Yes. We will be sending out installation schedules. Once installation begins the co-op employee or contractor will leave a door hanger on your front door to let you know they have changed your meter. We will work with businesses to minimize any inconvenience. You do not have to be present during the meter change.
9. Will I be paying a different rate for electricity once my smart meter is installed?
No. CVEC members will continue to be billed under their current rate structure once these AMI meters are installed. Members will continue to receive a monthly bill after receiving the upgraded meter.
10. Are there any potential health impacts from a meter that can receive and send data?
No. Research conducted by the Electric Power Research Institute, the Utilities Telecom Council and others has revealed no health impacts from digital meters. The radio frequencies emitted by digital meters falls well below the maximum recommended in federal guidelines. Contrary to some misconceptions, the new meters emit radio frequencies (RF) only when responding to a request for data from the co-op office. Compare this activity to a laptop with a wireless connection, which is constantly sending and retrieving data. A digital meter equipped to send and receive data has an RF density hundreds of times less than the RF density of a cell phones – and the meters are installed on the outside of your house not next to your ear!