Columbus, Neb. - Upgrading of electric meters in four Holt County communities by Nebraska Public Power District (NPPD) will begin on Monday, Aug. 20 and continue into mid-September. The meter replacements are part of a program in 2018 to replace 43,000 existing electric meters in 33 communities served at retail by NPPD.
Work on replacing the existing meters with the new AMI equipment for residences and businesses in O’Neill will begin on Aug. 20, with Atkinson beginning on Tuesday, Sept. 4. The communities of Emmett and Inman will be replaced beginning Sept. 17. NPPD’s customer service organization will be contacting customers in those communities in advance to alert them to the installation of the meters.
A District employee will make the change of the meters and will remove the old meter from the premises. A resident or business owner does not need to be there when the switch out occurs and there will be a short interruption of electric service.
The new meters are equipped with two-way communication known as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), a digital metering technology used around the world for more than a decade. The current meters in communities slated for replacement are electro-mechanical devices. The new meters display the reading, but in digital LED format. The meters will have an electronic circuit board module installed that will receive and securely transmit the data back to NPPD on the total amount of kilowatt hours used by a residence, business or industry.
“The installation of the AMI systems will help maintain competitive electric rates by reducing operating expenses,” said NPPD Retail General Manager Tim Arlt. “With these units we can also pinpoint the exact location of outages quicker, meaning a faster response time to restore power.” Since the new meters have been installed, NPPD has seen a reduction in truck rolls for move-in requests for new customers reduced by of 60 percent from a year ago.
In addition, the new meters will allow NPPD personnel to automatically read electric meters from service centers, provide a higher level of customer service, help customer service representatives troubleshoot billing concerns, and improve electric service reliability and power quality for customers. Another reason is from a safety perspective for NPPD’s employee teams when troubleshooting or handling routine maintenance.
The AMI equipment cannot control any appliances, electronics or heating and cooling systems within a residence or business. In addition to the new meters, NPPD will also have numerous routers placed strategically in the community to relay the information to NPPD’s operations.
The remaining schedule for retail communities runs through the majority of 2018, although weather conditions could create some delays. Information on the new AMI system can be found at www.nppd.com/ami.