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Automated Meter Reading

Volunteer Energy Cooperative’s multi-year project to automate meter reading is nearly complete. All residential meters are currently being read with the automated system and crews are currently working to complete meter replacements with the few remaining VEC’s commercial customers.

Automated meter reading (AMR) allows VEC to collect customers’ usage information accurately, efficiently, and economically. In addition to drastically reducing incorrect meter readings, the AMR system also allows VEC to pinpoint customer-use patterns and enhance load management.

Below are answers to some frequently asked questions about AMR:

What is AMR?

AMR is the acronym for Automated Meter Reading. It gives VEC the ability to obtain meter readings without having to physically visit and manually read a customer’s meter.

Why did VEC switch to automated meter reading?

1 – Reduces the need for estimated meter reads;
2 – Improves meter reading accuracy;
3 – Is more convenient in instances where customers must provide access to meters;
4 – Means one less reason VEC needs to enter a customer’s property; and
5 – Saves money for VEC and for VEC customers and is good for the environment.

How does AMR technology work?

VEC has installed communications technology that allows data to be sent back and forth between the meter and VEC offices. Meter data travels to a substation on existing electrical lines. At the substation the data then travels via communications lines, where the meter data is then integrated with VEC’s customer information and billing systems and other applications.

What are the physical components installed for AMR to work?

The AMR system consists of three main components.
1 – Meters – Each existing meter has been replaced with an AMR enhanced meter that contains an integrated AMR transponder.
2 – Substation Equipment – AMR substation communications equipment is installed in our substations.
3 – Computer System – An AMR data server is located at the Corporate Office in Decatur.

What does the AMR meter look like?

The meter that we use for the AMR system is the same device that we have been using for years. The only difference is that an AMR transponder is installed inside the meter.

How is the AMR device in my meter powered?

The AMR device is powered by electricity from the utility side of the meter. The meter does not record the electricity used to operate the AMR unit. You will not be charged for the electricity used to power the AMR unit.

Is my account information secure?

Yes, only meter readings and meter or module numbers are transmitted. Personal customer information will not be transmitted.

Is this a “smart” meter?

Meters commonly referred to as “smart” meters operate via radio frequency.  VEC AMR meters transmit information via the electric lines.

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