Columbus, Neb. - Upgrading electric meters at residences and businesses in Scottsbluff and nine communities to begin on Monday, Oct. 14. Besides Scottsbluff, NPPD customers in Mitchell, Morrill, Gering, Terrytown, Melbeta, Minatare, McGrew, Bayard, Bridgeport and Northport will be exchanged and replaced with upgraded meters.
In 2019 approximately 24,500 meters in 33 communities will be replaced, as part of a three-year project by NPPD.
Prior to installation, the District’s customer service organization will contact retail customers (those who receive a bill from NPPD) in those communities via phone to alert them to the installation of the meters. A District employee will switch out the meter at the residence or business and will remove the old one from the premises. A resident or business owner does not need to be there when the switch out occurs and there will be a brief 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 and will include the latest technology in this type of equipment. The new meters display the reading in a digital LCD 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.
“In addition to what we will do this year, in 2018 we successfully replaced 43,000 meters and more will be replaced in 2020. The installation of the AMI systems helps maintain competitive electric rates for our customers by reducing operating expenses,” said NPPD Retail General Manager Tim Arlt, who noted that NPPD’s retail customers have not had a rate increase over the past six years. “With AMI equipment we can also pinpoint the exact location of outages quicker, meaning a faster response time in restoring power.”
The new AMI meters will continue to be key in providing reliable electric service for its customers and provide an additional level of safety for NPPD employees when troubleshooting or handling routine maintenance. The new AMI equipment cannot control any appliances or electronics 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.