Frequently Asked Questions
What is Advanced Metering (AMI)?
What is Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)?
AMI is a technology solution that allows two-way communication between electric, gas and water meters and City Utilities. In the future, this two-way network will also be used to communicate with other devices on CU’s electric, gas and water distribution systems, thus providing a greater level of information about the status of those systems.
What is an Advanced Meter?
Advanced Meters allow for two-way communication on an Advanced Metering network. The meters collect usage data in increments. City Utilities will configure electric meters to collect usage in 30-minute increments, and gas and water meters to collect in hourly increments. The electric meters will also collect incremental data on voltage, current and temperature. The meters then transmit the data to City Utilities via the two-way network. Additionally, City Utilities personnel can remotely communicate with the meters to get current reads, check status, and disconnect and reconnect electric power.
Is Advanced Metering new technology?
No, Advanced Metering has been around for many years and is implemented at millions of homes and businesses across the United States. Advanced Metering is already implemented at many of the utilities that surround the City Utilities service territory.
How does all of this work?
Water and gas meters communicate with nearby electric meters. The electric meters can communicate with other nearby electric meters and ultimately with a collection point, which creates what is called a mesh network. The mesh network is very redundant, resilient, and self-healing. Water and gas meters will transmit data to the electric meters once per day. Electric meters transmit their data every four hours back to the database.
How Does AMI Affect Me?
How does Advanced Metering benefit me?
At a high level, Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) will provide you with better information to utilize your utility resources more efficiently. As the system is developed, you will have access to more detailed information about your energy and water usage via “Manage My Account,” the City Utilities customer web portal. Additionally, when the power at your home is interrupted, City Utilities will be automatically notified.
With Advanced Metering, City Utilities will be able to provide a higher level of customer service; offer better electric, gas and water reliability; and keep our operating costs low. The additional and timelier information available through AMI will enable us to better address customer questions and issues. That same information will give City Utilities a view of what is happening throughout the various distribution systems, thus enabling us to be more proactive and avoid outages or other system issues. Many functions that require sending crews out to the field today will be performed remotely with AMI, thus saving labor, fuel and vehicle costs, in addition to being more environmentally friendly.
Below is a short list of benefits related to Advanced Metering:
- Outage notification
- Customer portal – usage data
- Reduction of vehicle emissions (meter reader vehicles)
- Future ability for renewal resources (current solar energy program)
- Identification of theft (keeps costs low)
- Identification of water leaks or trouble shooting excessive usage
- Customer privacy – no meter reader on premise
- Reduced risk to utility employees – dog bites, vehicle incidents, other job hazards
- Fewer estimated bills due to inability to conduct manual reads due to locked gates, bad dogs, etc.
What will Advanced Metering cost me?
There will be no additional customer bill charges for this new technology. The project is being funded out of normal operating budgets. As City Utilities realizes financial benefits, those savings will also be used to fund this project.
Does this mean a meter reader will no longer come by my house?
Once all the meters at a residence or business are replaced with Advanced Metering functionality and communications have been tested and proven, then CU will cease to send a person to manually read your meters. Until ALL meter types (electric, gas, water) at your house are changed, we will still need to send a meter reader to your home.
Can I opt-out of having an AMI meter(s)?
Yes, please refer to City Utilities’ opt-out policy for more information.
What are the requirements for opting-out?
The account holder must enroll in City Utilities’ AMI Opt-Out Program. Please refer to City Utilities’ opt-out policy for specific requirements.
Why are there fees associated with the Opt-Out Program?
AMI meters have become the standard metering option for City Utilities. Providing a non-standard option requires costs that go beyond the scope of City Utilities’ standard metering practices. A cost-based approach is the fairest way to implement this program.
What do the AMI Opt-Out fees cover?
These fees cover the costs to:
- Set up and administer the Opt-Out Program.
- Purchase a non-standard meter.
- Remove the existing AMI meter(s) if necessary.
- Install a non-standard meter(s) if necessary.
- Maintain the ability to provide manually read non-standard meter(s).
I have changed my mind about enrolling in the Opt-Out Program. Can I receive an AMI meter at no cost?
Yes, you may request removal from the Opt-Out Program at any time and at no cost to you. If this is done within 30 days of enrollment, all fees will be credited during the next billing period.
What about my personal meter data?
Will I have access to my meter data?
Yes. As the system is developed, you will have access to more detailed information about your energy and water usage via “My Account,” the City Utilities customer portal. Additional functionality will be added as we continually improve the system. This functionality will enable you to make better choices about how you use your utility resources.
Will City Utilities be able to control anything in my home or business?
No. City Utilities has designed our Advanced Metering system such that our access stops at the meter. We have no intention of offering programs to control consumer devices in the home. If, in the future, it makes sense to offer such programs, they would be on a voluntary basis by each individual customer. Such programs can be financially beneficial to customers, but have to be signed up for by the customer. At no time would CU be able to control or monitor anything in the customer’s home or business without the customer’s permission, knowledge and installation of additional specialized equipment.
Reporting Power Outages
Will I still need to call when my power is out?
Initially, we are asking customers to still call in (1-888-863-9001) to report outages, even with an Advanced Electric Meter installed at their home or business. As we deploy the Advanced Metering system, we will be testing many aspects to ensure the communication is flowing efficiently and effectively, as it relates to outage notification. Once we are assured all is working as it should, we will notify customers that calling to report an outage is optional.
If I have questions about AMI, how do I get those answered?
Our website has a variety of information that may answer your questions.
You may also send a message to an AMI specialist via the website.
For AMI-specific questions, you may also call 417-831-8800.