Harney Electric Cooperative is investing in new digital meters to improve the efficiency and reliability of the electric system. Many members have questions about Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) meters and how they work.
WHAT IS AN AMI METER?
An Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) meter is an electrical meter that records the consumption of energy and sends that information back to HEC.
WHEN WILL AMI METERS BE INSTALLED?
The rollout of the AMI infrastructure upgrade started in 2017 and will take three to five years to complete. Once your local substation has been updated with the necessary infrastructure and meters in that area have been installed, HEC will send additional correspondence to notify affected members of the upgrade and that the co-op is ready to start using the automatic reads to calculate bills.
WHY IS HEC CHANGING TO AMI METERS?
The meter upgrade provides HEC and its members with numerous benefits, such as the following:
- Improved billing accuracy – AMI helps eliminate missed and inaccurate readings.
- Improved power quality – AMI reports variances in voltage and other line conditions, which helps maintain a more reliable power distribution system.
- Improved efficiency – AMI allows the co-op to read meters remotely and warns the office of potential meter issues. This reduces the need for HEC employees to drive to remote locations to manually read and/or inspect a meter.
- Improved response time – AMI helps pinpoint the location of outages more quickly.
- Improved member service – AMI helps HEC troubleshoot high-bill inquiries. HEC employees can utilize power consumption patterns and weather data collected by the AMI system to help diagnose and communicate information to members about high-energy bills.
- Improved detection – AMI meters alert the co-op if a meter has been tampered with, which helps prevent theft of electricity and keeps HEC costs down.
- Increased capability and cost savings – AMI allows the co-op to initiate disconnects and reconnects remotely from the office for most residential meters, which will mean less drive time for outside employees and additional savings to 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 HEC keep costs down for members.
WILL THE AMI METER AUTOMATICALLY NOTIFY HEC WHEN MY POWER GOES OUT?
While the AMI meters help verify the root of the problem, it will not immediately notify the co-op when an outage occurs. When you have an outage or emergency, you should always contact Harney Electric as soon as possible. Refer to the outage information tab.
CAN MEMBERS CHOOSE TO NOT RECEIVE A NEW AMI METER?
No. This is a system-wide installation to meet the industry standard, and all meters will be upgraded.
HOW WILL THE CO-OP READ THE AMI METERS?
An HEC server 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.
WILL I HAVE TO PAY A FEE TO HAVE AN AMI METER INSTALLED AND WILL MY BILL BE AFFECTED?
Your kilowatt hour (kWh) rate will not change, and there is no expected additional cost to install the AMI meter. On your next bill following the installation there will be two readings: one from the old meter and one from the new meter.
WHEN WILL THE METER REPORT THE READING FOR MY BILL?
For billing purposes meters will be read at midnight on the last day of the month for irrigation services and at midnight on the 15th of the month for all other services. The monthly billing cycle will remain the same. Irrigation bills will continue to be mailed around the 5th of each month and are due on the 25th of the month, while bills for all other service types will continue to be mailed around the 25th of the month and due by the 15th of the following month.
WHAT IF MY BILL REPORTS MORE KWH USAGE THAN NORMAL, OR I THINK MY METER IS NOT WORKING CORRECTLY?
Contact HEC's office at 541-573-2061 or (web email link) right away to discuss your billing concerns. Electronic meters are more accurate than analog or mechanical meters. Each new meter installed has been tested and meet American National Standards Institute (ANSI) regulations. The new meters allow for timely, accurate readings and a consistent billing period.
WHO WILL CHANGE OUT THE METERS?
Harney Electric employees will perform all meter changes.
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.
WILL HEC EMPLOYEES NEED TO COME TO MY PROPERTY ONCE THE AMI METER IS IN PLACE?
All meter reads will be digitally transmitted back to the co-op, however HEC is required to manually read each meter periodically to ensure accuracy. Reasonable access to equipment still must be maintained to allow cooperative personnel to either read or maintain the meter if necessary.
CAN HEC DISCONNECT POWER USING AMI TECHNOLOGY?
Most single-phase residential meters will have a disconnect switch that is capable of remotely disconnecting the service. This switch may be used for member-requested disconnects and safety measures. For example, a meter may be disconnected if there is danger from a fire in the area or a downed line.
WILL THE AMI EQUIPMENT INTERFERE WITH MY RADIO, TELEPHONE, CELL PHONE, COMPUTER, TELEVISION, WIRELESS INTERNET ACCESS, INVISIBLE FENCE, OR OTHER ELECTRONIC EQUIPMENT?
No. HEC AMI meters transmit information via the power lines back to the substation where it is then sent to HEC’s office.
If you have any further questions about AMI meters please contact HEC at (541) 573-2061, Monday - Friday, 8 AM to 5 PM, or e-mail at (email address web link).