Wake Forest, NC— In March 2013, Wake Electric concluded the initial portion of its meter exchange project, which included converting 35,000 residential and non-demand metered accounts to Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) meters.
During the next few months, the cooperative will develop a plan to replace commercial and demand-metered accounts with similar AMI technology.
Unlike conventional meters, AMI meters store electric use, outage and voltage information, as well as communicate it back to the co-op office through a secure, wireless communication network. The advanced technology utilized by these meters provides numerous benefits to our members, including:
Improved Reliability and Outage Management
AMI meters are equipped for two-way communication with the utility and record electronic readings at least every hour, improving accuracy and greatly reducing the need for manual meter reads. This information allows the co-op to better understand energy consumption patterns and more closely manage its system to help prevent power outages or other power quality issues. If an outage does occur, the co-op is aware of it more quickly and can take steps to accelerate the restoration of power, providing improved reliability to our members.
Better Evaluation and Management of Energy Consumption
AMI meters provide data for Wake Electric’s Monitor & Manage program, an online energy monitoring system that utilizes the co-op’s “smart grid” communications network to collect monthly, daily and hourly energy data reports from each home. These reports, which can be viewed online through a member’s SmartHub account, provide up-to-date feedback on energy consumption that allows members to better evaluate their energy use and potentially implement energy efficiency measures to reduce consumption and lower their electric bills. A premier version of the Monitor & Manage program is also available to members with AMI meters for a monthly charge of $9.95. In addition to all the services of the Monitor & Manage program, the premier option includes a home monitoring system that offers energy automation and control. The technology will allow participating members to eliminate energy consumption created by electric appliances while away from home or when they are not needed.
The AMI meters installed by Wake Electric are equipped with software that alerts the cooperative if there are conditions in the meter base that cause dangerously high temperatures. Through the meter’s two-way communication technology, Wake Electric is immediately notified of an issue and can investigate its cause. Should a problem be identified, Wake Electric will contact the consumer and ensure that proper repairs are made. The co-op also has the authority to remove a meter from operation until a potential safety hazard is addressed.
More Versatile Payment Options
Using the real-time data collected by AMI meters, Wake Electric’s billing system can automatically perform a bill calculation each day on its residential members’ accounts and offer the flexibility of a prepaid billing option. Known as PowerUp with Prepay, this option allows members to pre-purchase electricity so they can monitor electricity usage more closely and plan their budget accordingly.
Wake Electric is committed to providing safe, affordable and reliable energy and will continue to implement new technologies, such as AMI meters, that offer improved service to our members.