Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) FAQ's
Q: Why did La Plata Electric Association, Inc. (LPEA) change out all its meters?
A: The AMI meters that were installed by LPEA offer features that allow you to better understand your electrical consumption and make more informed decisions regarding your usage. The meters provide LPEA with important diagnostics that help increase power quality, increase ways to optimize the electrical system, and pinpoint outages. This system also produces significant savings to LPEA members over the cost of the old meter system by reducing meter reading expenses and administration of some metering programs.
Q: Why doesn’t LPEA continue to use the analog metering system?
A: LPEA’s old metering system reached the end of its life and replacement parts were no longer available.
Q: What kind of meters were installed?
A: LPEA intalled solid state (digital) meters with a Tantalus communications module. Tantalus is a wireless communications system that primarily uses ½-watt radios at 900 MHz frequencies to transmit data.
Q: How does this benefit me?
A: Among the many efficiencies on LPEA’s side that benefit the entire membership, the newer meters assist our members and staff to troubleshoot high-bill problems by providing information about power consumption patterns, outage and blink count history and voltage information. They have also improved billing accuracy, eliminating misreads or inaccurate readings.
Q: Who's meters were replaced?
A: All LPEA members received a meter upgrade by the end of 2018.
Q: What data does LPEA retrieve from the meter?
A: LPEA meters are programmed to retrieve voltage and kilowatt-hour readings. The meters also notify LPEA in the event of meter tampering, as well as pinpoint the location of outages more quickly, meaning a faster response time.
Q: Can LPEA control appliances within the member’s home?
A: The only appliances that will be controlled by LPEA are those that the member voluntarily decides to allow LPEA to control, such as ETS heaters and water heaters. Control of these appliances may not be performed by the meter but by a separate device.
Q: Are these meters capable of net metering?
Q: Does LPEA offer pre-pay services with the AMI meters?
A: Yes. Using an optional rate, the Tantalus metering system can communicate your daily account balance back to the meter. Unlike LPEA’s existing pre-pay system, there will be no need to place money on your swipe card at our office. You will have the ability to transfer money to your account over the phone.
Q: Are Time-of-Use options available with the AMI meters?
A: Yes. Time-of-Use schedules will be applied to the interval data at the office. Using this method, if the Time-of-Use hours change, we will not need to visit the meter to reprogram it. The meters have given LPEA the ability to offer new Time-of-Use programs and easily move a member from one program to the other upon their request.
Q: I currently use my Time-of-Use meter to control loads in my home. What options will I have with the new meters?
A: A portion of the old analog Time-of-Use meters came equipped with a control wire that some members used to control their water heaters and ETS heaters. The new meters can have this control wire, but another method of controlling the load may need to be used in the future. There are a variety of solutions that can be used depending on your specific situation. If you are currently using the meter control wire, LPEA may be contacting you before exchanging your meter to discuss the solution that will best fit your needs.
Q: Is the metering network secure?
A: Yes. LPEA considers privacy and security a top priority. We treat each member’s personal information and data as confidential. LPEA can only share a customer’s data with someone else if the customer gives us written permission, or if we receive a court order to do so. The Information Technology (IT) security controls LPEA has in place reflect energy industry best practices. They are designed to provide a very high level of assurance that our systems cannot be compromised.
Q: How do I know that my meter is measuring accurately?
A: LPEA meters are tested at the manufacturer and then a sample is tested again by LPEA before they are installed. Accuracy results from testing have shown that digital meters are more accurate than analog, or spinning dial meters. Meter accuracy is mandated by state and federal regulations.
Q: How is billing affected by meter exchange?
A: The first month following the meter exchange, members will receive a bill with two readings: one for the old meter and one for the new meter. It is possible that due to the timing of the meter exchange, more than 30 days of usage will be represented on the first bill resulting in a higher than normal billing. If this occurs, the following month will contain a few less days to make up for the difference.
Q: How much radio frequency (RF) power is emitted from the AMI meters?
A: Extremely little. The Tantalus meters have been tested in accordance with Title 47, Part 15b of the U.S. Code of Federal Regulations, and have been certified by the FCC. When the meter is transmitting, the exposure to radio frequencies is more than 25,000 times less exposure limits set by the FCC.
Q: Will I see a meter reader on my property?
A: A meter reader will not be visiting your meter for a monthly reading. LPEA personnel may, however, occasionally come by to inspect the system. If anyone appears to be accessing your meter, and they haven’t identified themselves as an LPEA employee, call LPEA immediately.