AMI stands for both efficiency and privacy
Jul 1, 2017
In April, Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative began changing out meters on our system and replacing them with Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) units. Within the next two years or so, we expect essentially all 66,000 cooperative-served locations to be home to these advanced meters.
AMI is a technology that has been, or soon will be, embraced by just about every sector of America’s electric-power industry. This major step forward in engineering design offers a host of member-friendly features. Those features include greater efficiency in our own operation at Blue Ridge, as well as a larger measure of privacy for those receiving cooperative service.
My report this month is devoted to explaining just a few advantages this improvement will make possible. I also encourage you to read the article on the facing page that provides elaboration on some of the AMI program’s other positive aspects.
From an efficiency and convenience standpoint, AMI will automatically alert the Blue Ridge office when an outage occurs at a member’s premises. That notification will enable our round-the-clock dispatchers to know the minute you have a power interruption. Not only that, but our restoration efforts will be greatly enhanced by our ability to determine both the location and the extent of the outage. What’s more, should service be interrupted to one member or 50 or more, each of those meters will signal the dispatchers the moment electricity has been restored. That one benefit will produce significant savings. For example, crews in the field will be spared the time and expense of traveling to individual homes to confirm the power is flowing once again.
Another favorable AMI characteristic would be the receiving of information concerning any noticeable growth in kWh use within a particular portion of our service territory. That tool would aid the cooperative’s system-planning function. With that kind of data in hand, Blue Ridge would be better equipped to pursue needed actions toward maintaining and improving service reliability.
One last plus-factor I’d mention—AMI means fewer future unannounced Blue Ridge employee visits to a member’s property. For instance, the need for someone to come and read your electric meter would become the rare exception, rather than the rule. The cooperative would still conduct periodic physical inspections of all the facilities that serve our members. However, the need for those field checks will be less frequent.
Blue Ridge is sending out mailers to provide advance notice as to when crews will be arriving to change out meters in member communities. Ahead of those notices going out, if you should have any questions about our AMI program, please don’t hesitate to contact the cooperative’s office. You can be confident this undertaking will produce multiple benefits for both you and your cooperative for many years to come.
On a closing note, I want to inform you that I plan to retire from my position with Blue Ridge in January 2018. I’ve already shared my intentions with the cooperative’s directors at a recent board meeting. Working here has been a truly wonderful experience for me, and I’ll reflect more on that in one of my future reports in this magazine.
Charles E. Dalton