Advanced Metering
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Frequently Asked Questions

Click here for a pdf of our FAQ document.

Q:   What does AMI stand for?

A:    It’s the abbreviation for Advanced Metering Infrastructure. AMI is the two-way, digital communication via power line carrier between Union Power Cooperative and its meters.

Q:   What are the benefits of AMI?

A:    The operational benefits are to reduce costs and enhance operational performance. Below are benefits of AMI metering:

·   Ability to read meters on demand from office

·   Quicker outage verification and response times

·   Resolve member problems with blinks, voltage and usage issues

·   Lead the way to future enhanced services we can offer our members

·   Ability to offer more flexible billing options

·   Ability to help members better manage their energy

·   Reductions in power theft and reduced engineering and operational expenses

Q:   Does Union Power Cooperative use radio frequency (RF) to transmit information with the AMI meters?

A:    No. The meters do not use radio frequency (RF) to send information to Union Power Cooperative. The data from the meters will be sent back to the co-op office over the existing power lines via “wired” communication.

Q:   Do members have a choice in getting a new meter?

A:    The new advanced meters will be installed on all accounts. The cooperative has embarked on a system-wide program that will change 100 percent of the existing residential and commercial meters in order to acquire meter readings without the need to enter a member’s property and to gain the benefits mentioned above.

Q:   What information does the meter record?

A:    The new meter records information relevant to the consumption of electric energy, such as kilowatt-hour (kWh), date/time of peak consumption, and if the meter has been tampered with. The meters can also record information about service quality such as service interruptions and voltage levels. AMI technology allows us to get this data without having to visit each meter. This helps us respond faster to service concerns, to operate more efficiently and help our members better manage energy consumption.

Q:   Will this project cause my rates to go up?

A:    No. Your rates will not go up as a result of this project. There is no difference in the accuracy of the meters that would cause your bill to increase.  

Q:   When will you be in my area?

A:    You will be notified by postcard in advance of the scheduled meter change out, then by automated phone message the week of your meter change out. You do not have to be present during the meter change. If you are not home and/or if there is a problem changing your meter, a door hanger will be left to notify you. We will work with businesses to minimize any inconvenience. Information is also posted here and in our monthly newsletter, Cooperative Review.  

Q:   Will my power be interrupted because of this project?

A:    Your power will be interrupted briefly during the meter change out, however the interruption should last less than 1 minute. You will be notified in advance when crews will be working in your area.

Q:   Will meter readers ever need to come read the meter manually again once the new meter is in place?

A:    All meter reads will be transmitted back to the cooperative over the power line communications. Inspection of all facilities including meters will be conducted periodically.

Q:   What is Union Power going to do with the information collected from the AMI meter?

A:    Union Power will use the data collected from our AMI meters to better manage its electrical system. The information we get will allow us to better use existing electrical infrastructure and to better control costs. We collect information on blinks and outages, which will help make our electrical system more reliable. In the future, demand response programs and time-of-use rates will be based, in part, on the detailed information we collect. We can also use this detailed information to help individual members manage their electrical usage.

Q:   How secure will the new meter be?

A:    The meter display is visible for members to be able to check their consumption. No personal information will be stored in the meters, and usage data stored in the meter is encrypted and secure, and the meter is sealed. When this usage data is sent over the power line, it is also encrypted during transit.

Q:   Will my account information remain private?

A:    Union Power is committed to protecting the privacy and security of our members’ personal information. The cooperative does not sell its members’ data to any third party and protects the privacy and security of members’ electric usage data. Individual consumption information will not be shared outside of Union Power Cooperative unless we are required by law to do so.

 

Q:   Will the AMI meter give Union Power control over the amount of energy I use in my home?

A:    No. Participation in residential energy services or programs will be voluntary

Q:   Can the cooperative disconnect electric service using the new meters?

A:    No, the meter itself cannot disconnect service. However, in some circumstances, Union Power may install a remote disconnect collar. 

Q:   Will the new meter notify the cooperative when the power goes out?

A:    The meters will be able to record outages, but they will not actually notify the cooperative when the power goes out. Computer software at the cooperative will be able to survey our distribution system and tell us which meters do not have power, but it will still be the responsibility of the member to report an outage for timely response and restoration.

 

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