AMI Meter System

Frequently Asked Questions about Electronic (Digital) Meters

We are investing in new meters to improve the efficiency and reliability of our electric system and enhance service to you.  You may have questions about these new meters and how they work. Here are the most common questions we have received – and answers:

Why is the new system needed?
Like your car, cell phone or refrigerator, things eventually wear out.  Our current Automated Meter Reading (AMR) system was state-of-the-art when it was first implemented many years ago, but it is now nearing the end of its useful or repairable life.  We’ve simply reached an economic and functional point that replacement of the system provides the greatest value and most prudent use of cooperative resources.

How much is this going to cost me?
There will be no additional direct costs to you to install the new meter. There is no rate increase anticipated in association with this project. The only thing noticeable is following the exchange of their meter, your next bill will have two meter readings:  the final reading from the old meter and first reading for the new meter.

Will I remain on the same electric rate?
What rate you are on is not deteremined by the meter installed at your location. Your primary rate will not change simply because the meter was exchanged.

What other additional installation parts will I need?
No additional parts are anticipated or required. However, if something is identified as faulty or hazardous with your equipment, (the meter socket is provided by and owned by the member) we won’t be able to replace the meter and we will contact you to get the situation resolved.

Do members have a choice in getting a new meter?
No. Currently, all ACEC meters are on the same meter reading system, and new meters will be installed on all accounts. We are embarking on a system-wide exchange program that will replace 100 percent of existing residential and commercial meters. This allows for a consistent and more streamlined meter reading and billing processes.

What if after my meter is exchanged, I think my meter is not working correctly?
Contact our office right away to discuss your billing concerns.  All meters currently are electronic and will be replaced by an electronic meter.  Both new and old meters must meet strict American National Standards Institute (ANSI) regulations for accuracy.

What information does the new meter record?
The same information that has been getting recorded, which includes the amount of electricity used, the overall peak demand of the electric account, and the number of times the meter has experienced a loss of power for any reason. You can log on to SmartHub to view your own electric usage information.

What day of the month will the meters be read?
We are not anticipating changes in billing or due dates, so for billing purposes monthly schedules will remain the same.  All the co-op’s meters can be read at a variety of times to get useful information including data for analyzing the performance of the distribution system.  For several years, we have been reading meters daily.

How will the co-op read the new meters?
Very much like the current one. We read the meter on command from our offices, through a computer-generated request. Information from the meter is then returned to the co-op via an encrypted, secure, dedicated network. The collected data includes electric usage and outage/blink information.

How does my new meter work?
The meters send their reading via an encrypted data packet to the office via a combination fiber optic and cellular network, which is dedicated to only ACEC’s information exchange.

How secure will the new meter readings be?
Like always, the meter display is visible for members to be able to check their own reading.  All other data reported by the meter is encrypted, and the meter is physically sealed.

Is my personal data secure?
Yes, only metering data will be transmitted via an encrypted, highly secure system. No personal information about members is stored within the meter or included in what is delivered from the meter back to the office.  And, the meter cannot identify individual appliance usage. Instead, the meter records whole-house energy usage just like your existing meter.

How will I know if my meter has been changed?
If you are not home, a co-op employee or contractor will leave a door hanger on your front door to let you know they have changed the meter.  We will work with businesses to minimize any inconvenience.  You do not have to be present during the meter exchange.  If workers are unable to access your meter because of a locked gate or other obstruction, we will be in contact with you.

What’s the difference between the current system and new one?
There are very little changes between the current system and the new one. Both are comprised entirely of electronic meters, and both systems measure the same types of electric use information.

There are really three main differences:

  • The first is the new AMI meters report back to ACEC collection points using a dedicated wireless network, while the current system uses the power lines the carry information back to an ACEC collection point. For comparison, the new system works much like your cell phone, while the current system works like your land line telephone.
  • The second and exciting difference is the new meters can automatically signal cooperative monitoring equipment of an outage, allowing for more efficient response to outages and problems on the distribution system.
  • And the third is most meters will have remote disconnect capabilities, where only a few do in the current system.

Can the cooperative disconnect electric service using the new meters?
Yes, in most cases the meters will have remote disconnection capabilities, allowing us to disconnect service at the meter from the office.

Will the new meter notify the co-op when my power goes out?
Yes, in most cases. The new meters can signal ACEC system monitoring equipment of outages without being prompted by our office. However, we still recommend that you report your own outages by phone to ensure that your outage is documented.

Will the communications system interfere with any equipment in my home?
No, our system meets criteria set by the Federal Communications Commission and should not interfere with any equipment inside a home or business.

When will my meter be installed?
Installation of the new meters will take approximately two years start to finish, beginning the summer of 2019.  Our crews will begin putting collectors on poles a few months ahead of meters being installed.  We will notify you in advance of when crews will be in your area to exchange your meter.

Who will be installing the meters?
Our employees will be installing a portion of the meters, while Allegiant Utility Services, our contractor, will be installing the balance of them.  Contract employees and vehicles will have co-op identification, so you will know they are acting on behalf of the co-op. Allegiant has installed hundreds of thousands of AMI meters throughout the country.

Will I lose electrical service during installation?
Yes, for a few minutes. You may need to reset electronic clocks and other devices. The technician will notify you before turning off the power. If you are not present, the technician will leave a door hanger to notify you of a successful meter exchange.

How can I get answers to my specific questions?
You can call us at (800) 831-8629, Monday-Friday from 7:30am-4:00pm, or send us an email.