Frequently Asked Questions about AMI (Digital) Meters

Pedernales Electric Cooperative is investing in new meters to improve the efficiency and reliability of our electric system. Members may have questions about these new advanced meters and how they work. Here are the most common questions and answers about this new system.

The new advanced meter infrastructure (AMI) has many new benefits, including:

  • The ability to read all meters, residential and commercial, at a much more accurate and increased rate.
  • Two-way communication with the meters will enhance PEC’s outage management system by more accurately determining outage locations.
  • The new meters will report variances in voltage and other line conditions that will help PEC maintain a more reliable power distribution system.
  • The new meters will allow PEC to offer members more timely information through our SmartHub app regarding their energy consumption, which will help members make wise decisions about how they use energy in their homes.
  • Save money by eliminating the labor and transportation costs of in-person meter connects and disconnects – a savings we pass on to our members
  • Pinpoint the exact location of outages more quickly, meaning a faster response time.
  • Help secure the overall safety of the cooperative employee team.

The new meters will allow PEC to maintain a more reliable power distribution system by automatically detecting outages allowing for improved service restoration, reducing maintenance costs, and providing member energy consumption data in real time.

PEC employees and Allegiant Utility Services, the contractor hired by PEC, will perform the meter installations. All members should receive a letter, phone call, and/or email prior to installers being in your area. If you are requesting new service, or your old meter fails, you may get one of the new advanced digital meters. The meter replacement project will take place throughout most of the PEC service territory over the course of the next two years.

Yes, from a few seconds to a few minutes. You will need to reset electronic clocks and other devices.

PEC can read the meter remotely from our offices. Information from the meter is transmitted back to the co-op via a secure radio frequency system. These new meters also allow PEC to connect or disconnect meters remotely, meaning a service technician does not need to physically go to the location to remove or connect a meter.

The new advanced meter records an electronic kWh reading, the date and time of energy usage, the overall peak demand of the electric account, whether the meter has rotated backwards, and the number of times the meter has experienced a loss of power for any reason. In fact, the meter will record the date and time of light blinks and the length of the power outage. Its voltage monitoring ability will also aid our dispatchers in analyzing line conditions.

Yes, the new meter can report outages and voltage variances, as well as other line conditions, without being prompted by our offices. This feature may improve service restoration time. You may also report an outage by calling us at 888-883-3379 or via SmartHub.

You may notice blinking time displays on items like your microwave or alarm clock. We try to minimize any inconvenience. You do not have to be present during the meter change. In the event of a circumstance such as a locked gate, pets in the yard, or an obstruction prevents the employee or contractor from exchanging your meter, a door hanger will be left notifying you of the attempt to change your meter. If you receive a notice, please follow the instructions on the card and contact our contractor, Allegiant Utility Services, as soon as possible so that arrangements can be made to switch your meter.

PEC is upgrading to a 450-470 MHz AMI system that will improve the quality of our meter readings. Our current technology has been in place since 1997 (24 years) and upgrading allows for better and faster readings as well as outage notifications and remote disconnect capabilities. The AMI meters transmit at a similar frequency as FM radio stations, airborne TV signals, and older cell phones, and are deemed safe by the FCC. The antenna that sends the signal is located at least 35 feet in the air on our distribution poles, keeping them well away from the public.