Smart meters are here

Published 8:45 pm Monday, May 17, 2010

SELMA — The guys running around with electrical meters in their hands are OK. The meters are called Smart Meters.

The Smart Meters are part of Alabama Power’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure Technology, which will allow the company to read meters remotely.

“AMI is a way to manage and minimize cost increases,” said Jan Ellis, an Alabama Power Southern Division representative. “And, at the same time, ensure more timely and accurate readings for consumers.”

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During the last three years Alabama Power has installed 19,154 of the new meters, according to Ellis.

Ninety-nine percent of customers served out of the Alabama Power office in Selma have the new meters, she said.

Before the remaining 1 percent receive the meters, they will receive a notice. As the switch is made, power will be out for five-to-10 minutes, but residents do not have to be home when the meters are changed, Ellis said.

The meters will have the capability of reporting when power is out at a location and notify the company when power is restored. It also allows customers to look at their usage information online, so they may monitor how much power they use.

“Company representatives will not long have to visit a customer’s property to read the meter,” Ellis said. “It will also allow meters to be reread in a more timely manner should customers have questions about their bills.”