Volunteer Energy Cooperative’s multi-year project to automate meter reading is almost complete. All residential meters are currently being read with the automated system and crews are currently working to complete meter replacements with VEC's commercial customers.
Automated meter reading (AMR) allows VEC to collect customers’ usage information accurately, efficiently, and economically. In addition to drastically reducing incorrect meter readings, the AMR system also allows VEC to pinpoint customer-use patterns and enhance load management.
Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about AMR:
AMR is the acronym for Automated Meter Reading. It will give VEC the ability to obtain meter readings without having to physically visit and manually read a customer’s meter.
1) Reduces the need for estimated meter reads;
2) Improves meter reading accuracy;
3) Is more convenient in instances where customers must provide access to meters;
4) Mean one less reason VEC needs to enter a customer’s property. For VEC the AMR system is more efficient, more flexible, and more cost effective; and
5) Currently, VEC meter readers drive about 190,000 miles per year. Once the AMR system is fully implemented, these miles can be greatly reduced. That saves money for VEC and for VEC customers and it’s good for the environment.
VEC will be installing communications technology that allows data to be sent back and forth between the meter and VEC offices. Meter data travels to a substation on existing electrical distribution lines. At the substation the data then travels via communications lines, where the meter data is then integrated with VEC’s customer information and billing systems and other applications.
The AMR system consists of three main components.
1) Meters – Each existing meter will be replaced with a new AMR enhanced meter that contains an integrated AMR transponder.
2) Substation Equipment – AMR substation communications equipment is being installed in our substations.
3) Computer System – An AMR data server has been installed in the Corporate Office in Decatur.
The meter’s exterior appearance is like a typical electronic meter. The only difference is that an AMR transponder is installed inside the meter.
VEC began switching to AMR meters in 2006. As of April, 2011 we have completed the switch for about 95% of our residential customers> We are scheduled to complete the residential change-over this year and we also are working to complete the switch for the majority of commercial customers by the end of 2011 as well.
No. The AMR technology operates at a special low-power frequency and should not interfere with any electronic equipment.
The AMR device is powered by electricity from the utility side of the meter. The meter does not record the electricity used to operate the AMR unit. You will not be charged for the electricity used to power the AMR unit.
Yes. However the meters will have a digital display of numbers rather than the familiar dials.
A meter reader still may continue to read your meter initially for operational efficiencies. In addition, future periodic visits may be required by other VEC personnel to perform service connections/disconnections and various maintenance tasks. In addition, spot checks of meter readings will be conducted from time to time to verify that the equipment is working correctly.
Yes, only meter readings and meter or module numbers are transmitted. Personal customer information will not be transmitted.
Yes. You will experience a 10 to 30-second power outage.
Yes. VEC is making automated calls to customers to advise them of when work is being done in their area. These calls will be made to the phone number listed on the account of affected customers. It is important that you verify that VEC has your correct phone number on file so that we can notify you of these meter changes and other important VEC information. If you are unsure of whether we have your correct phone number, please call. We can verify it for you.
VEC crews will carry VEC identification. In addition, their vehicles may be identified by the VEC logo. If you ever have any question about the identity of someone who claims to be working for VEC, please call your local VEC Customer Service Center.
The only significant change to your electric service will be that meter readers will not need to visit your property to collect meter readings. Service personnel may visit periodically to confirm proper operation or perform maintenance.