Columbus, Neb. – Nebraska Public Power District will be installing new electric meters in Scottsbluff beginning October 12, and then in the communities of Melbeta, Minatare, and Terrytown as part of its Automated Meter Information (AMI) system.
Nearly 10,250 customers in the Scottsbluff area will have new meters installed as part of this program. NPPD expects to complete the work by the spring of 2012.
This technological upgrade, also known as a two-way automated communications system, allows NPPD personnel to automatically read electric meters from service centers, providing a higher level of customer service. Installation of the new meters will be non-intrusive with NPPD contacting customers before changing out the meters. A short power outage to the residences will occur when the new meter is installed by NPPD technicians, who are identified with District badges.
“AMI is an enabling technology that revolutionizes the way NPPD and our customers interact. It will aid both the customer and the utility in resolving billing issues and determining remotely if there is an electrical outage at the business or residence,” explained Ken Curry, NPPD’s vice president of customer services. “AMI also enhances our customer service and provides cost savings.”
Following installation of the meters, customers’ electric usage information will be electronically transported over power lines via a two-way communications system. Metering information is picked up by a decoder at a substation, routed to a computerized processing center at NPPD headquarters in Columbus, and accessed by customer service personnel at service centers and NPPD’s 24-hour Centralized Customer Care Center (1-877-ASK-NPPD).
With the new meters, billing inquiries can be answered over the phone or at a service center with readings that are timely. Also, customer service representatives can address outage reports, quickly determine the source of the problem (whether it is on the utility side or on the customer’s equipment), and dispatch solutions promptly.
“When a customer contacts NPPD with billing concerns, we can read the meter in a matter of minutes remotely and resolve the problem,” Terry Rajewich, NPPD’s account manager in Scottsbluff explained. The new meters also monitor voltage levels and alerts NPPD to possible issues that could potentially cause an interruption of service.
She explained that the system reads the meter each day and readings can be used when customers move in and out of premises, rather than sending a technician to read the meter. Additional benefits to NPPD customers can request hourly usage reports that will show how and when they are using electricity.
Since the summer of 2007, NPPD has installed the new AMI meters in 53 communities in its service territory. A total of 49,500 meters will have been installed by mid-2012 with completion of the work in the Scottsbluff area.
Information on the AMI system can be found at www.nppd.com/ami.