Installation of the new advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) — or Smart meters — for city utility customers will begin soon.
The City of Claremore, in partnership with GE, will install the network components that carry the AMI information around the first of June, with completion expected on July 28, according to Larry Hughes, director of electric utility.
“This initial process allows GE to verify the system communicates correctly,” Hughes said.
The mass meter installation will begin approximately Aug. 18 and will be done in order of customers’ utility account number sequences.
Hughes said customers will be notified in advance that their electric and water meters will be changed out. An additional notification will be sent following the installation.
“During the change out, there will be a short interruption of service that shouldn’t last more than a few minutes,” Hughes said. “The mass meter change out should continue through mid-October. Extreme weather and/or any repairs that need to be handled could possibly slow things down.”
Billing integration starts at the end of September. On Oct. 13, the outage detection part of the network will come to life.
“Nov. 25 marks the date that all meter installation, billing integration, and the complete network is fully operational,” Hughes said. “In the first part of December we will introduce the pay-as-you-go process which gives customers the option of paying their bill multiple times per month, no longer having to budget for the entire month’s utility bill.”
The GE AMI system is expected to be 100 percent operational by Dec. 23.
“This completion date is an aggressive goal we plan to achieve, knowing there are variables in place which could possibly change the date,” Hughes said.
There is no rate increase with the new system, according to Hughes. However, he said some customers could see increases in their usage due to the old meters not registering 100 percent usage.
“Every meter installed will be tested for accuracy at the factory prior to installation,” Hughes said.
According to the Oklahoma Corporation Commission, benefits of Smart meters include the following:
•Remote meter reading — Utilities will be able to read Smart meters remotely, virtually eliminating the need to go house to house to read electric meters, which means fewer trucks on the road, less cost for the ratepayer, and less CO2 emissions.
•Faster transactions and order processing — The Smart meter’s remote capability can mean requests for connection and disconnection of electric service can be filled more quickly.
•In the future, electrical power could be restored around the clock with less manpower and in many cases much more quickly than before.
•Automatic outage notification — Smart meters will automatically notify the utilities about power outages to help restore power more quickly.
•Energy efficiency and savings – Consumers can more closely monitor their electricity use to better manage energy costs by making even small changes, such as adjusting their thermostat.
Customers with questions may contact Hughes by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (918) 341-2895 ext. 250 during normal business hours.