What is AMI?
Access Energy Cooperative employs a meter reading system called the Automated Meter Information System (AMI), which not only allows meters to be read remotely from the Mt. Pleasant office and reduces meter reading costs, but also detects power outages. This system automates our reading and billing procedure, reducing costs associated with these fixed facilities costs.
The TWACS (two way automatic communication system) automatically reads our members meters every month from our Mt. Pleasant office. This not only makes our meter reading costs efficient, but also allows quick access to meter reading as needed. Each meter contains a small electronic unit that utilizes power line carrier technology to transmit the meter reading from the meter to the substation supplying your power. There, data is collected and relayed to our Mt. Pleasant office via telephone line to a computer that interfaces with our billing system.
Advantages to You
Since this system utilizes two-way communication, the meter not only talks to our Mt. Pleasant office, we are able to talk back to the meter. Having the ability to “talk” to the meter provides many opportunities for you and your cooperative.
One area of particular interest is in outage notification. During the unfortunate event of a large outage, when members call in to report their power out, the phone lines are normally very busy. The TWACS system allows us to be able to “ask” your meter if you have power. The meters that do not report back to our office identify the customers that are out of power. This quick system-wide identification system greatly improves our ability to dispatch crews to fix the problems. Once power is restored, we can “ask” meters to verify services that are back on. This greatly reduces the amount of time crews have to spend driving to verify who is back on.
We can also monitor the number of blinks members may see. This data can then be used to direct maintenance crews to fix system issues before a total outage occurs.
We are using the AMI system to detect and prevent meter tampering and theft detection. The data obtained from the meters is extremely beneficial in assisting members with questions on their usage and helping them to manage their electric bills far more efficiently. It also assists the cooperative with being able to evaluate the efficiency of our own system.
We are continuing to explore this technology and evolve to meet the needs of our members. Future plans include verifying member peak demands to ensure proper transformer sizing, installation of remote connect/disconnect on selected member accounts, and even more consumer education on saving energy. Our e-Business section onwww.accessenergycoop.com provides a solution that allows members to review your account information and pay bills via the web. With improvements to our system by the Automated Meter Information (AMI) System, we have new access to daily usage of active and inactive meters, which can enable customers to make informed energy management decisions. We may be able to use the data to inform and help educate you on how your usage is measured and what things in your home use the most electricity.
Other areas currently being explored by our billing software designers include things like:
- Customers prepay for Electric Charges
- Daily Bill Calculation from AMI data
- Customer Notification via phone, email, text, etc., when you may fall below the notification threshold and/or when payment is received
- Integration with In-Home-Displays to show usage and balance information