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The Town began changing out our old water meters last summer. Existing meters throughout our Town were reaching the end of their operational life and many still required a manual read.
During the transition to the AMI meters, many of our utility customers have seen an increase in their monthly bills. However, when the water meter part of the program was completed several months ago, the Town was able to use the consumption information gathered by the new meters to help a number of customers find leaks or inefficiencies with their water use. After completion and review, we expect similar positive results with the electric meter part of the program.
AMI - Advanced Metering Infrastructure - is an integrated system of smart meters, communications networks, and data management systems that enables two-way communication between utilities and customers. One of the system's primary benefits to customers is that it allows daily, "real-time" monitoring of consumption instead of traditional systems that use monthly billing to report consumption that is usually several weeks old.
There are several advantages to these Smart meters. Customers can:
Data from the meters is encrypted and sent through a safe and secure network to the utility databases. The meter system transmits only the water or electric meter readings, the meter identification number, and diagnostic information to verify that the automated meter equipment is operating correctly. Only key authorized utility personnel, such as customer service representatives, can access your account if needed. There is no personal identifying information captured by the smart point or transmitted by the meter.
The new meters use wireless radio frequencies or RF, similar to wireless Internet and cable TV, which many people already have in their homes. Radio frequencies are also used in cell phones, microwaves and even baby monitors. Digital water and electric meters operate at much lower levels of radio frequencies than any of those. The meters and communication system are regulated to meet all federal communications, safety standards and codes. This is very helpful website from the Federal Communications Commission or FCC explaining radio frequencies.
You can also check the findings of the Centers for Disease Control and the American Cancer Society.