Automated Meter Information

NPPD is in the process of installing Automated Meter Information (AMI) systems throughout the state. This technology upgrade began in 2006 and will continue through 2012.

The transition to AMI allows NPPD personnel to automatically read electric meters, along with a myriad of other system capacities, in real-time. The information is transported over power lines via a two-way communications system to service centers across the state.

With AMI installed, billing inquiries can be answered over the phone or from service centers with reads that are accurate and timely. The AMI system provides NPPD’s customer service representatives with daily, customer meter register reads and informational reports that log each customer’s hourly energy consumption, along with other activity. This system will give NPPD the ability to confirm individual meter outages and system voltage to support dispatching solutions promptly in the future.

At the conclusion of this project, more than 68,500 meters will have been replaced. Below are some questions and answers that will better explain the system to you.

Below are some questions and answers that will better explain the system to you.

Why are we converting to AMI?
NPPD’s mission is to safely generate and deliver low cost, reliable energy and provide outstanding customer service. AMI will help us achieve those goals through the reduced need for on-site manual meter readings and other operating efficiencies.

What are the benefits?
AMI provides NPPD and its partners with a tremendous amount of opportunities. It improves billing accuracy with daily register reads, collects interval consumption from all meters, and gives NPPD the ability to instantly check individual current meter data on request. It allows the utility to send commands and receive verification for operating meters and distribution equipment remotely in the field, it prevents the diversion of electrical service and enables us to manage electrical load to reduce peaks where possible. AMI also helps us identify outage situations and return power as quickly as possible and allows us to conduct system planning studies to ensure your energy needs will be met.

How does it work?
AMI is based on TWACS technology (two-way automated communication system) and allows meter information to be transported by Power Line Carrier (PLC). This system utilizes our existing infrastructure by injecting a signal on the power line to all meters connected to the substation source. From there the information is routed to a computerized processing center at NPPD headquarters in Columbus and accessed by our personnel.

 

What information will be transmitted?
We will receive meter readings and meter identification numbers from the system. Diagnostic information can also be transmitted to verify that the meter is operating correctly or notify us of a power outage.

Will my account remain secure?
Yes, personal customer information will not be transmitted. This technology was originally developed by the Department of Defense for secure communications so your personal information will remain private.

Will this new system interfere with my television, radio or garage door opener?
No, the signal injection device operate is in compliance with FCC regulations to avoid interference with other electronic devices.

Are there any health concerns with this signal?
No, studies have shown no negative health impacts on low-power RF transmissions.

Will every meter need to be changed?
Yes, every meter that is fed from a substation that is injected with the TWACS system will need to be changed to operate correctly.

When are you coming to my area?
In 2007, this program was successfully implemented in Milford and Seward. In 2008, NPPD replaced meters in Chadron /Gordon/Rushville area, Humboldt /Pawnee City area, Plattsmouth and Winnebago. Norfolk and Tilden areas will make the switch to AMI in 2009 while Alma, Kearney, Butte, and Ogallala areas will be converted in 2010, Scottsbluff and York in 2011, and McCook and Aurora in 2012.

Will I be notified when you’re making the change?
Yes, our Customer Call Center will be notifying customers before NPPD installs the system in your area. We will also notify the city or village council ahead of time and provide your local newspaper with information.

How many visits will it take to install the new meter?
NPPD anticipates one visit to your property will be enough to replace the old meter with the AMI system.

Who will install the new meter on my property?
NPPD plans to hire local electrical contractors to install the AMI meters at residential customer’s premises. All representatives of NPPD during this project will be identified with a photo ID badge. If you ever have questions about the identity of someone that claims to be working for NPPD, please call our Customer Call Center at 1-800-ASK-NPPD.

Will my service be interrupted during the installation?
Yes, there will be a short disruption of service during the conversion. However, NPPD will provide advance notice to each customer before we interrupt service.

Will I see a change in service after installation?
No, the only change will be that meter readers will not need to visit your property monthly to collect readings.

Will my bill increase?
No, the cost to install and implement the entire system is included in the base rates.

Will I need to maintain the meter?
No, NPPD is responsible for all maintenance. Do not tamper with the system or attempt to make adjustments. If you think something is wrong with the equipment or if you have questions or concerns, please contact us at 1-800-ASK-NPPD.

Note: Your local utilities representative or a member of NPPD will continue to read meters manually until the AMI network is functional in your area.