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Frequently Asked Questions about AMI Meters

Central Valley Electric Cooperative is investing in new digital meters to improve the efficiency and reliablity of our electric system. Many members have questions about these Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) meters and how they work. Here are some common questions and answers about AMI meters:

 

WHAT IS AN AMI METER?

An Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) meter is an electrical meter that records the consumption of electricity and sends that information back to CVE. 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 CVE keep costs down for members.

 

HOW DOES THE AMI METER WORK?

With these meters, CVE will be able to read meters, reconnect meters and in some cases disconnect meters remotely from our office. Remote meter reading and reconnects mean co-op employees will spend less time on the road, saving the co-op time, labor and money.

 

In addition to reducing costs, the AMI meters will help improve the reliability of the electric system. The technology allows CVE to detect problems, such as hot sockets in meter bases more quickly and locate outages more precisely. AMI meters measure the temperature of the meter. This can help the co-op determine if the meter has a hot socket condition which could cause a fire. These meters also alert the co-op immediately if the meter has been tampered with, and preventing theft of electricity helps CVE keep costs down.

 

WHY IS CVE CHANGING TO AMI METERS?

The meter upgrade provides CVE members with numerous benefits. The AMI meters will help the co-op with the following:

  • Save money by eliminating the labor and transportation costs of in-person meter reading.
  • Improve billing accuracy, eliminating misreads or inaccurate readings.
  • Pinpoint the exact location of outages more quickly, meaning a faster response time.
  • Help members troubleshoot high-bill problems. Members will be able to use CVE's SmartHub, online bill pay service, to get information about power consumption patterns, which might help diagnose problems leading to high energy bills.
  • Improve electric service reliability and power quality by monitoring loads on transformers and service drops.
  • Help secure the overall safety of the cooperative employees.

 

WILL I HAVE TO PAY A FEE TO HAVE AN AMI METER INSTALLED AND WILL MY BILL BE AFFECTED?

No. Your kilowatt hour (kWh) rate will not change, and there is no expected additional cost to install the AMI meter.

 

WILL I LOSE ELECTRICAL SERVICE DURING THE INSTALLATION?

Yes, but only for a few minutes.You will need to reset electronic clocks and other devices. On your next bill following the installation there will be two readings: one from the old meter and one from the new meter.

 

WILL METER READERS EVER NEED TO COME TO MY PROPERTY TO READ THE METER MANUALLY AGAIN ONCE THE AMI METER IS IN PLACE?

Yes. Meter readers will no longer regularly need to travel to every meter for a monthly meter read. All meter reads will be digitally transmitted back to the co-op. However, in accordance with the New Mexico Public Regualtion Commission, CVE is required to manually read each meter periodically to ensure accuracy.

 

ONCE CO-OP EMPLOYEES NO LONGER NEED TO READ THE MEETER, CAN OBSTACLES BE CONSTRUCTED THAT MAY MAKE THE METER INACCESSIBLE?

No. Reasonable access to equipment still must be maintained. This allows for cooperative personnel to either read or maintain the meter if necessary. In accordance with the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission, CVE is required to manually read each meter periodically to ensure accuracy.

 

HOW WILL THE CO-OP READ THE AMI METERS?

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.

 

 

If you have any further questions about AMI meters please contact a Member Services Representative at (575) 746-3571, Monday - Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM, or e-mail at mbrsvc@cvecoop.org.

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