Automated Meter Reading – Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Modern Electric Water Company began installing new AMR electric  meters throughout its service territory in January 2008 with the final meter being replaced in early September of that same year.

The nine month process involved removing existing meters on customers’ homes and replacing them with ones that can be read remotely. This means that instead of meter readers walking house-to-house to obtain readings, the new meters can be read more quickly and efficiently by special equipment through the existing power lines.

Many utilities are using AMR as a way to improve customer service and control their meter reading costs, especially in areas where fenced yards, dogs, landscaping and other issues make accessing meters difficult or unsafe.

How does AMR benefit customers?

o  Improved customer service, which includes:

o  Minimizing the need to access customer property to read meters

o  No need for customer to read the electric meters due to meter access issues

o  Eliminates estimated billing due to unavailable meter readings

o  On-request reads, save re-read costs

o  Controlled meter reading costs

o  Enhanced customer convenience

o  Identify power consumption patterns

o  More efficient outage restoration

o  Fewer employee injuries, especially in areas with fenced yards, dogs and landscaping

o  Reduction in operational costs, thereby allowing MEWCO to keep your electric rates low

What is AMR?

AMR stands for Automated Meter Reading. It is a method of using communication technology to read meters without having to access a customer’s property.

How does it work?

There are several ways to read an electric meter remotely. We’ve chosen a system that uses the existing power lines via narrow-band communication at pre-determined intervals or on demand to access the data in the meter and bring that data back to our headquarters.

Is this new system really needed?

We strive to provide the best possible customer service, high reliability and low rates. AMR will help us achieve these goals. AMR has proven to provide wide-ranging operational and customer-satisfaction benefits for other utilities. AMR will help us provide better service to you, such as alerting us when your power is out or when you’re experiencing other power problems. AMR will also help us minimize estimated bills. AMR will also give you more information about your energy use — information that you can use to more effectively manage your energy costs.

Is my account information secure?

Yes, only meter readings and meter or module numbers are transmitted. Personal customer information will not be transmitted.

How will I know that you have my reading and not someone else’s?

Each metering device has a unique identification number, which is transmitted along with the meter reading. The unique number is then paired with your account record to ensure a match.

Will the AMR System interfere with my television or phones?

No, the AMR signal is very different and will not interfere.

Will the size of the new meter be different?

No. The new meter will have the same approximate size and appearance. Although they are the same size as existing electric meters, the new electric meters will have a digital display instead of the traditional dials.

Will I see a change in my service after AMR is installed?

The only significant change to your utility service will be that meter readers will not need to visit your property to collect the meter readings. Service personnel may visit periodically to confirm proper operation or perform routine maintenance.

Will I need to read the electric meter anymore?

AMR will eliminate the need for those that currently call in their own monthly meter reading.

Will I still be able to view the meter reading?

Yes, the digital reading will remain visible, so you can view the meter reading(s) if you wish. However, MEWCO will not use customer reads for billing purposes when AMR reads are available.

Will my electric bill go up with the new meter?

Some customers may notice an increase. Of course, a higher utility bill can be caused by a variety of factors, including increased electricity usage or the addition of appliances or electronic equipment in the household.

Some customers may notice a slight increase because the new meter is measuring usage more accurately. Older meters can run slower over time and therefore may not measure all the electricity going through them. All new meters are tested at the factory to ensure that they register properly.

If you have further questions, please call our Office at 928-4540 or send an e-mail to modern@mewco.com.