New Meter Upgrade Project
MEA is updating its metering system with Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI). This new equipment will improve system reliability, advance outage management and continue our commitment to minimize costs for our members.
2016 Installation Plan:
MEA plans to focus our upgrade efforts on members served by the Hospital Substation in the Gateway area of Palmer/Wasilla and the Lucas Substation serving members in Palmer. (See the map to the right)
The new AMI system was developed by ACLARA and is called TWACS (Two Way Automated Communication System). Communication between the electric meter and MEA is accomplished via the existing power lines. It is not a broadband power line solution and does not communicate via RF (radio frequency). Modules are installed in solid-state electric meters and send a signal of your usage back to MEA on a schedule determined by MEA. Each communication with the cooperative takes less than eight seconds. The system automates the meter-reading process and ensures only electric meter data is securely collected with no user or account information transmitted. Data collected is the same data currently collected via the existing Turtle Automated Meter Reading System. These solutions have been in use since 1985 by more than 500 utilities in nine countries.
- Fully automates daily meter readings on all system meters
- Reduces meter reading and transportation costs
- Reduces the need to access property to read meters
- Reduces estimated billing due to unavailable meter readings
- Provides on-request reads, saves re-read costs
- Delivers more efficient outage restoration by reporting a loss of power
- Increases ability to detect tampering and reduces energy theft
- Improves member information – the AMI system will give MEA the ability to provide members with more detailed information such as power consumption patterns, outage and blink count history and voltage information, reducing high bill inquiries
- Reduces employee exposure to hazards, especially in areas with fenced yards, dogs and other hazards
Deployment of AMI meters began in June 2013, following Substation Communication Equipment (SCE) installation at the Dow, O’Neill, Stevens, Douglas and Anderson Substations. MEA has completed installation of SCE equipment in all 21 substations and plans to complete installation of all 58,000 meters by 2019.