FreeState Electric Cooperative utilizes advanced technology that works in conjunction with equipment on the lines and in substations to make sure that members receive reliable and consistent power.
When there are issues, FreeState will be able to more readily identify, troubleshoot, and remediate the causes, restoring power more quickly.
AMI can help you lower your energy costs simply by providing you with up-to-date usage information which, in turn, can show you when best to operate energy-intensive appliances and tools, typically during low demand periods of the day.
When you shift your usage to lower demand times of the day, it costs FreeState’s power providers less to produce the power you consume, resulting in savings to you. You will know, to the hour, what you are using or have used, and mitigating surprises on a future electric bill.
The AMI system also alerts FreeState of power outages and their locations immediately, often times before the member even realizes there is an issue, and then corrects it quickly, safely, and efficiently.
Energy technology helps us maintain wise use of domestic resources today. As with any new technology, misunderstanding of its purpose and abilities can lead to the birth of urban legends about its capabilities, good or bad. The implementation of AMI meters throughout the country is no exception.
Myth: AMI meters are less accurate than analog (electro-mechanical) meters.
Fact: All meters are tested before leaving the plant, and manufacturers are required by public service commissions to supply test results. Kaw Valley receives these test results, as well as doing our own testing in the field.
Myth: AMI meters are a health threat due to the Radio Frequencies they use to communicate.
Fact: The metering system FreeState has elected to install utilizes power line carrier communications as opposed to the wireless radio technology.
FreeState’s AMI System uses a power-line carrier (PLC) for communications. This system uses the existing power lines to transmit readings from meters to the substation. From the substation, the information is transported back to FreeState’s office for processing. The AMI system generates its signals on the fundamental frequency of the powerline, with modulation occurring at the zero crossings of the normal power waveform. The meters do not signal on their own. They only signal when data is requested by the utility.
The transponders are typically four times a day, and for less than eight seconds per transmission. Even when transmitting, the amount of EMF produces is a fraction of the exposure of many common electrical devices. For example, the emissions produced by our system are less than you would get sitting one foot in front of a flat screen television in your home.
Transmission power levels are also too low to affect medical devices like pacemakers. The devices we utilize are common and produce far lower emissions than many common household items.
Myth: AMI meters will not keep your personal information secure.
Fact: The same technologies used by banks, credit card companies, and cable providers is used to protect your information, all the way from the meter to our office. Online data access is encrypted, in the same manner as a bank’s, enabling you to securely access your account to view your usage and pay your bill online.
Myth: AMI meters increase the risk of fires.
Fact: Meters must meet the safety requirements and standards spelled out in the National Electric Safety Code (NESC), and public service commissions require independent certification that proves the meters are safe and resistant to heat, fire, voltage, surges, and self-heating. In addition, meters are only installed, serviced, and uninstalled by qualified personnel.
Myth: AMI meters invade my privacy.
Fact: AMI meters are digital measuring tools used to measure your usage throughout the day, not how you use it. Unless you install a home energy management system, a meter cannot tell the difference between a clothes dryer or popcorn maker while it is using power; all a meter sees is how many kilowatts you are using over time. Information gathered is used to create your bill. Any personal information needed, such as an address, phone number, etc., is regulated by strict state and federal policies.
Myth: AMI meters provide no benefit to consumers.
Fact: AMI meters are capable of providing the consumer with near real-time energy usage information about how much, when, and even at what rate, it is used. This information can be used by the consumer to better utilize power in their homes to save money. Additionally, power outages are detected quickly, and more efficiently restored, with the information provided by the meters and their supporting infrastructure. Those consumers that currently read their own meters will no longer need to do so as well.
Once armed with the facts, AMI meter myths are just that…myths. AMI technology has proven to provide benefits and pay for itself rather quickly, though it is no doubt a fairly large undertaking.