For Hub City Times
MARSHFIELD — Marshfield Utilities (MU) is making significant progress on its Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) program, which involves installing wireless meters for electric and water customers.
“Our installation effort has just passed the halfway point, and we’re already seeing benefits,” said Bob Trussoni, MU general manager. “In fact we’ve been able to identify a few water leaks because of the new meters and have also found and corrected some potential electrical problems for customers, including an overloaded meter socket that could have caused a fire if not detected.”
The AMI meter program allows the water and electric meters to be read remotely using two-way wireless communication. After the meter is installed at a customer’s home or company, a meter reader no longer needs to enter the customer’s property on a monthly basis to take meter readings. Staff will inspect the electric meter installation annually to ensure it is accessible and meets code requirements. The overall cost of the program is about $4.5 million, and it is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.
The programs benefits include:
—Improving MU’s efficiency in customer service and billing activities, emergency response, and load management.
—Faster detection of outages or other service issues and quick response to problems.
—More detailed, up-to-date information about energy usage.
—Reductions in estimated bills and meter reading errors.
—Increased privacy with meters read remotely and meter readers no longer requiring monthly access to customers’ property.
—Maintaining the reliability of MU’s infrastructure while improving efficiency and capacity of the grid.
—Meter readers driving fewer miles, reducing fuel consumption, and lowering carbon dioxide emissions.
“We’re very pleased with the progress of the installation at this point and the benefits we are already seeing,” Trussoni added. “This technology and the future opportunities it presents will help customers by providing the information and tools they need to better manage their own energy usage and create opportunities for long-term cost savings.”