What is AMI and how does it work?
AMI is the acronym for Advanced Metering Infrastructure, a technology originally called “AMR” or Automated Meter Reading. The AMI system uses existing power lines to communicate meter readings, voltage and outage information to the PUD’s substations. This is called power line carrier technology or PLC. That data is then sent on to the PUD’s offices over the PUD’s fiber optic network.
Why did Okanogan PUD install an AMI system?
There are many customer service, cost and efficiency benefits associated with the AMI system that include but are not limited to:
• We no longer send meter readers or other PUD employees to each customer for monthly or bi‐monthly meter reads, when there are questions with the reads or when an account changes status.
• The system enabled the PUD to convert all customers to monthly reads and billings which improves the PUD’s cash flow and presents the customer with a smaller bill each month rather than the larger bill that comes every two months.
• Improves meter reading accuracy with no more miss‐reads or estimated reads.
• Reduces our vehicle usage and fuel consumption that reduces cost and has environmental benefits.
• We can check the system daily for power outages and can also check the system to see if the power is back on. This function will allow for quicker outage response and power restoration. This is not an automatic function, so please call when your power goes off.
• We will know when an AMI meter has failed or there has been tampering rather than having the meter reader find the problem in the every two month meter reading.
• The AMI meter provides electrical usage and load information for an engineering analysis tool.
• Customer Service Representatives have current meter information when a customer calls with questions.
Have all meters been changed, and what do they look like?
Yes, all meters have been changed to an electronic digital meter with a special module that allows data communication. The new meters look very much like your existing meter with a digital display.
What was the cost of installing the AMI system?
The meters, equipment and software cost the PUD approximately $4 million dollars, using PUD staff. Cumulative industry experience shows a savings in cost and efficiencies of around $2.50 per meter per month, so a payback to the PUD will take approximately 6 years.The PUD also has gains not included in the $2.50 by having monthly reads and billings without additional staff. There was no extra charge to the customer for the AMI project or the meter exchange.