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Advanced Metering Infrastructure—What is AMI?
What is advanced metering and why is it important?
Advanced meters are digital meters that can do more than just measure energy use. They are capable of providing electrical information to improve the efficiency and reliability of Salem Electric’s system.
Why is Salem Electric installing an AMI system?
It starts and ends with customer service. Advanced meters will help Salem Electric continue to provide reliable service, while providing additional advantages.
- Improved response to outages
- Increased efficiency and system reliability
- Additional opportunities for members to conserve by providing daily energy usage
- Ability to view real-time energy usage
- Potential pay-as-you-go options
Member Benefits of Advanced Metering
Advanced metering offers options which were not available with our old metering system. If there is an outage, we will be notified immediately by the AMI system, allowing a quicker response. Members will also have up-to-date access to energy usage through our website. This helps members conserve energy and better manage their energy usage and electric bill.
An Electric System for our Future Needs
Our nation’s electric system has remained largely unchanged for decades. It served us well in the past, but as technology has changed the old equipment is no longer capable of keeping up with current needs. Modernizing equipment and communication capabilities is essential for maintaining the service our members expect. More than half the homes in the United States are now part of an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system. From July 2017 through June 2019 Salem Electric will be installing AMI throughout our service area.
Frequently Asked Meter Questions
What is the difference between an AMI meter and what I have now?
For several years Salem Electric has been transitioning to digital meters because electromechanical meters with the rotating discs are no longer being manufactured. An AMI meter is a digital meter with the ability to transfer data wirelessly using radio frequency (RF) transmission. It measures the number of kilowatt hours used, the power quality information, and it records interruptions in service. The meter then transmits this information to Salem Electric over a secure communications network.
Are there any privacy concerns with an AMI meter?
No—the AMI meter records kilowatt hours for billing purposes, provides power quality information, and alerts Salem Electric if there is a power interruption. There is no way for anyone to know what a member is doing or what devices are connected. Electrical usage is only available to the member and to Salem Electric employees who require that information to perform their job.
What about electromagnetic exposure?
The meters use radio frequencies similar to those used by AM/FM radios, baby monitors and cell phones. Salem Electric selected the AMI system with the least amount of electromagnetic and radio frequency exposure.
Our AMI system has a power output of 450 milliwatts and is active an average of 88 seconds in a 24 hour period. The amount of radio frequency exposure at one yard away from the meter is miniscule–more than a million times below the FCC standard. By comparison, the radio frequency emission next to a cell phone during transmission is more than 12,000 times greater than an AMI meter on your home.
Salem Electric's Path to AMI
Salem Electric began an AMI mini-pilot project in November of 2013 which included 28 meters and the framework necessary for it to operate. It provided the necessary information for us to proceed with the expanded 400 meter pilot project in 2015. In addition to providing basic disconnect/reconnect functions, meter readings, and outage identification, the expanded pilot helped Salem Electric determine how the AMI meters integrate into our existing software systems and gave staff the opportunity to fine tune any needed procedural changes. It also provided the Engineering Department a way to gain additional data relating to transformer loading and assist them in evaluating and maintaining the system.
Salem Electric is now proceeding with a full AMI deployment over a 24-month period beginning July 2017.
For more information, or if you have questions please contact Salem Electric's Engineering Department at 503-362-3601.
503 362-3601 | Monday — Friday | 8 am — 5 pm
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