AMI Meter Project

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Project Overview

Pascoag Utility District is pleased to announce that we will be upgrading our current electrical meters with new Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) or smart meters. Currently, the electric meters that are on your home are being read once a month using a vehicle equipped with a data collector. This collector communicates with surrounding electric meters using radio frequencies. The new AMI meter will communicate meter reading data wirelessly to one of eleven pole top collectors located around Pascoag’s Utility District’s territory. The data will then be transmitted to Pascoag’s office every hour.

Pascoag is happy to report that with the help of our consultant, LIG Engineering, we have chosen Tantalus Systems as the preferred vendor for our AMI project. Pascoag’s timeline to complete this project will be approximately four years. This project is being financed through internally generated funding which will be spread over the four-year period. Pascoag Utility District employees will install all the required “back-end” equipment such as repeaters, gateways, and the electrical meters. By installing the equipment with our own linemen, Pascoag avoids paying higher costs for contractor labor.

Frequently Asked Questions

AMI is an acronym for Advanced Metering Infrastructure. AMI meters are often referred to as “smart meters” as they have greater capabilities than traditional meters such as providing real-time data on electricity consumption and can offer a comprehensive view of usage patterns. They also allow utilities to respond to outages faster by alerting the utility when the meter goes offline.

AMI is similar to our older radio-read meters, whereas they both utilize radio frequencies. Our new system will operate utilizing a 900Mhz local area network and cellular routers. This system, once in operation, will send all information back to the office in close-to-real time. The features of these meters include:

  • Outage Management
  • Monitoring the strength and quality of the electricity flowing throughout the system
  • Quickly updating meter settings and software from PUD’s central office
  • Identifying time periods when electricity usage is at its highest, allowing Pascoag to plan accordingly
  • The ability to provide Time of Use rates which will allow Pascoag to offer different electricity rates based on the time of day.
  • On-request reads which will allow our customer service department to respond to inquiries and closely monitor the entire system remotely
  • They have the ability to get an on-request read which will allow our customer service department to respond to inquiries quickly and closely monitor the entire system remotely. In addition, by having access to data from the AMI system we’ll be able to make sure electric equipment is sized properly, which helps to prolong the lifespan of our electrical infrastructure.
  • AMI meters and infrastructure are able to locate issues before they become a bigger and more costly problem. Currently Pascoag’s office has to rely on customers to call the office when they have an outage. The new technology will report to our staff, in some cases even before the customer does, that there is an outage in your area. Pascoag’s crews will be able to respond quickly and have the information on hand to efficiently evaluate the situation, getting your power back on faster. Additionally, the outage map on our website can be updated faster with real time information, allowing you to better plan your day.
  • AMI systems will allow us to create “Time of Use” rates in the future. By potentially running certain appliances or charging your electric vehicle during off peak hours you could save money on your electric bill each month.

The infrastructure of the system (software and meter-data collectors) will be delivered during the summer and installed by PUD employees. PUD will start installing the first 1,000 meters in September 2024. The project will take approximately four years to complete.

Meters will be installed by reading route. Customers will be notified by an automated phone call the week before the meter installation begins in their area, as well as a door hanger. Please make sure Pascoag Utility District has your current phone number on file. You do not need to be home for the meter replacement but if you wish to schedule an appointment because you have sensitive electric equipment or medical devices onsite, please call the office at 401-568-6222. The meter exchange should only take 15 minutes.

Yes, to make sure the meter exchange can be done quickly and efficiently, you should make sure the area around your electric meter has adequate room for a technician to have access to the meter. We would appreciate your assistance in removing overgrown shrubs and anything else that might be in the way.

Yes, but only for about five minutes. The meter exchange will cause a brief loss of service, so please follow manufactures recommendations to protect equipment and data. Clocks and other devices may need to be reset after the exchange. Computer data should be saved and all computers turned off.

No, the electric meter only records your electrical usage.

The radio frequency (RF) emissions from smart meters are much lower compared to common household devices like cell phones, cordless phones, microwaves, wireless routers, laptops, and blow dryers. In fact, the intensity of RF exposure from cell phones on a daily basis can be up to 10,000 times higher than that from smart meters. Additionally, smart meters only transmit signals actively for a very short period each day, typically between 0.01% and 5%, and at much lower energy levels compared to cell phones.

If you have additional questions about the meter exchange project, you can contact the office at 401-568-6222 or at [email protected].

Project Timeline and Updates

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