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‘Smart meters’ to replace readers

POSTED: January 24, 2009 12:41 a.m.

As many homeowners are giving more thought to being more energy efficient, so is the Jackson Electric Membership Corp.

Beginning next month, the cooperative will begin replacing its 200,000 meters with newer, “smart” meters.

The new models report a home’s energy usage directly to Jackson EMC without a representative having to drive out and take a reading from each meter.

“The smart meter allows us to offer more benefits to our members while also helping the environment,” said K.D Bryant-Graham, a senior communications representative for Jackson EMC.

“We’ll be reducing the number of vehicles on the road which helps protect the environment.”

The overall process is expected to take about three years, with around 5,000 meters being replaced each month.
“We’re installing smart meters for a small group of members before the full launch. During this time, we’ll be able to determine if there are any parts of the system that need to be shored up before entering the full launch,” Graham-Bryant said. “Part of the smaller launch is in Jackson County.”

When it is time for a home to be upgraded, customers will receive a notification letter in the mail about two weeks in advance. Customers don’t have to be home while the change is made, but if they are, EMC staff say customers may notice a power interruption that should last just a few minutes.

With the new smart meters, Jackson EMC will be able to remotely troubleshoot problems with your electric service, possibly before you notice them, staff say.

“Remote access allows us to determine if a power outage is related to our power lines, detect service issues in advance such as trees on power lines, and troubleshoot energy usage questions from the office,” Bryant-Graham said.



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