Western Cooperative Electric has invested in new, digital meters to improve the efficiency and reliability of our electric system. Many members have asked questions about these new meters and how they work. Here are the most common questions we've received; click on a question below to view the answer.
With AMI meters, Western Cooperative Electric can read the meter remotely from our central office. Information from the meter is transmitted back to the co-op in [daily/hourly/15-minute] increments. Transmitting this information electronically means that a meter reader no longer comes to your house in person.
The meter upgrade provides Western Cooperative Electric members with numerous benefits. The new meters will help us:
- Save money by eliminating the labor and transportation costs of in-person meter reading– a savings we pass on to our members
- Improve billing accuracy, eliminating misreads or inaccurate readings
- Pinpoint the exact location of outages more quickly, meaning a faster response time.
- Help our consumer-member troubleshoot high-bill problems by providing information about power consumption patterns, outage and blink count history and voltage information, reducing usage questions
- Improve electric service reliability and power quality – fewer outages, blinks and surges
- Help secure the overall safety of the cooperative employee team
The new meters are digital electronic devices while the old meters were an electro-mechanical device. The new meters will continue to display the meter reading, but it will be in a digital LED format. The biggest difference is that the new meters will have an electronic circuit board module installed. The module receives and stores the kilo-watt-hour (kWh) and demand consumption recorded by the electronics in the meter, and is able to transmit securely this and other system data back to Western's computers.
- Contact Western right away to discuss your billing concerns. Electronic meters are more accurate than analog or mechanical meters. The new meters installed have been tested and meet American National Standards Institute (ANSI) regulations.
- The new meters allow for accurate readings and a consistent billing period.
Probably not. Meter readers will no longer regularly need to spend valuable time traveling to every meter for a monthly read. All meter reads will be digitally transmitted back to the co-op headquarters.
AMI meters record an electronic kWh reading, the date and time of energy usage, the overall peak demand of the electric account, if the meter has rotated backwards, and the number of times the meter has experienced a loss of power for any reason. In fact, the meter will record the date and time of light blinks and the length of the power outage.
All of Western’s new meters can be read at a variety of times to obtain a history of account information. However, for billing purposes member bills will be read on monthly schedules.
No. Reasonable access to equipment still must be maintained. This allows for cooperative personnel to either read or maintain the meter if necessary at reasonable times.
Western'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.
Meter manufacturers are incorporating security features and encryption technology into their meters, as recommended by national security experts. Our goal is to upgrade our electric distribution system to make it safer, more secure, and more reliable. Your new digital meter is part of this effort. Once your new digital meter is installed, your cooperative will be able to tell if someone “tampers” with your meter because the meter will report any tampering attempts to the cooperative.
Routine inspections of all meters and services will continue in order to look for safety hazards, theft or other problems.
The meter display is visible for members to be able to check their consumption. All other information and data stored in the meter is secure and the meter is sealed.
Yes, meters have remote disconnect capabilities.
The meters are able to record outages allowing the cooperative to verify whether the outage is either on the member’s side of the meter or the co-op's.