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Posted on: June 15, 2020

City Begins Upgrades to Electric Meters

The City of Russell has begun the process of upgrading its water and electric meter infrastructure and meter reading technology to a new, automated Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI). 

Before 2010, a meter reader manually read each electric and water meter each month.  A process that took an average of 20 days per month to complete.    In 2015, the city upgraded to an automatic meter reading (AMR) system.  AMR transmits through a vehicular radio-based network and reduced the time it takes for the meter reader to drive the route and collect usage data to three days. 

The new AMI system reduces costs by eliminating the need for manual meter reads through two-way communication over a fixed network between the utility system and the meters.  The system allows for real-time management and operation of our distribution networks.

Both AMR and AMI consist of three basic components:  (1) a meter with a small radio transmitter, (2) data collectors that automatically read the meters, and (3) a computer system that interfaces with the billing system.  The difference between AMI and AMR is how the meter data is collected and transmitted to the billing system. 

How will I know when my meters will be replaced?  Since electric meters are on the outside of homes and businesses, your presence is not needed when the new meter is installed.  However, your power will be disconnected for approximately 3 – 5 minutes while the changeout occurs.  No action is necessary for most water meters during this project.

The AMI system does not transmit personally identifiable information with the data signal.  Although water and electric usage data are not considered to be a high-value target, the data signal is encrypted and protected. 

If you have any questions about the deployment of the AMI system, please contact the City Clerk’s Office at 785.483.6311.

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