Automated Meter Reading System Nearing Completion

Over 7,400 new automated meters have been installed with about 1,800 left to be changed. The change over should be completed by the end of April.Access Energy Cooperative is nearing completion of installation of its automated meter reading (AMR) system. Equipment has been installed at all of the substations and 80 percent of the meters have been changed.

 The AMR system not only allows meters to be read remotely from the Mt. Pleasant office, which reduces meter reading costs, but also detects power outages. “In November were able to detect nine outages prior to members calling in,” said David Peer, Director of Engineering.

 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 power. The data that is collected is relayed to theMt. Pleasant office via a telephone line to a computer that interfaces with the cooperative’s billing system.

 Since the system utilizes two-way communication, the meter not only talks to the Mt. Pleasant office, but technicians in the office are able to talk to the meter. One area where this capability is beneficial is in outage notification.

 During an outage when members attempt to call in and report their power being out, phone lines are very busy.

 With the new AMR system, technicians are able to “ask” the meter if a member has power. The meters that do not report back identify customers that are out of power.

 This quick system-wide identification of power outages greatly improves the cooperative’s ability to dispatch crews to fix the problems.

 Once power is restored, technicians are again able to “ask” the meter and verify that power to a member is back in service.