Advanced Meters FAQ

Advanced Meters FAQ

Roanoke Electric Cooperative is investing in new, digital meters to improve the efficiency and reliability of our electric system.  Here are the answers to the most commonly asked questions around these new meters and how they work.


When will my meter be installed?

Installations will begin March 1 in Gates County and will involve the replacement of approximately 250 meters served by the Easons substation.

 

Will I lose electrical service during the installation?

Yes, for a few minutes while the old meter is removed and the new meter is installed.  You will need to reset electronic clocks and other devices.

 

How does my new automated meter work?
With these new meters, Roanoke Electric Co-op can read the meter remotely from our headquarters office in Aulander.  Information from the meter is transmitted back to the co-op in 15-minute increments.  Transmitting this information electronically means that a meter reader no longer comes to your house in person.

 

Why are we changing to the automated meters?
The meter upgrade provides co-op member-owners with numerous benefits.  The new meters will help the co-op to:

  • Pinpoint the exact location of outages more quickly, meaning a faster response time.
  • Help member-owners troubleshoot high-bill problems by providing information about power consumption patterns.
  • Reduce rising maintenance cost by replacing an aging system.
  • Help secure the overall safety of the cooperative employee team.


How much is this going to cost?
There will be no additional costs to the member-owner to install the new system.  The new rates established in November 2018 will remain intact. Following the installation, member-owners may receive a bill with two readings: one from the old meter and one from the new meter, totaling only what would have been billed by one meter.

 

Who will be changing out the meters?
Roanoke Electric Co-op employees and Bellwether Management Solutions—the cooperative’s employed contractor for this service.

 

The new system will give the co-op 15-minute interval meter readings. Other features of the system will provide new data that will enable the co-op to monitor the system better and correct inefficiencies.

 

What’s the difference between the new meters and the old meters?
A majority of the old meters are electro-mechanical devices, while the new meters are digital electronic devices.  The new meters will continue to display the meter reading, but it will be in a digital LED format.

 

The biggest difference is that the new meters will have an electronic circuit board module installed. The module receives and stores the kilo-watt-hour (kWh) and demand consumption data recorded by the electronics in the meter, and is able to securely transmit this and other system data back to the co-op’s computers.

 

Will I keep the same rate after the conversion?
Yes, member-owners will continue to stay on the same rate class as they have in the past.  There will be no increased cost to the member-owner.

 

What if my bill reports more kWh usage than normal or I think my meter is not working correctly?
Contact your nearest co-op office right away to discuss your billing concerns. Electronic meters are more accurate than analog or mechanical meters. The new meters installed have been tested and meet American National Standards Institute (ANSI) regulations. 

The new meters allow for accurate readings and a consistent billing period.

 

Will meter readers ever need to come to read the meter manually again once the new meter is in place?
Probably not.  Meter readers will no longer regularly need to spend valuable time traveling to every meter for a monthly read.  All meter reads will be digitally transmitted back to the co-op headquarters.

 

What information does the new meter record?
The new meter records an electronic kWh reading, the date and time of energy usage, the overall peak demand of the electric account, if 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.

 

What day of the month will the meters be read?
All of the co-op’s new meters can be read at a variety of times to obtain a history of account information. However, for billing purposes member-owner bills will be read on monthly schedules.

 

Once co-op employees no longer need to read the meter, can obstacles be constructed that may make the meter inaccessible?
No. Reasonable access to equipment still must be maintained. This allows for cooperative personnel to either read or maintain the meter if necessary at reasonable times.

 

How will the co-op read the meters?
The co-op’s computer will communicate with the meters by sending an electronic request for the meters’ readings. The meter readings are sent back to the co-op via a secure network.

 

Will the co-op continue to do service inspections?
Routine inspections of all meters and services will continue in order to look for safety hazards, theft or other problems.

 

How secure will the new meters be?
The meter display is visible for member-owners to be able to check their consumption.  All other information and data stored in the meter is secure and the meter is sealed.

 

Can the cooperative disconnect electric service using the new meters?
Yes, meters can have remote disconnect capabilities.

 

Will the new meter notify the co-op when the power goes out?
Yes.  The new meters will send an outage message to the co-op as soon as power going to the meter goes off. 

 

Will the co-op notify me prior to installation?
Yes.  The co-op will be distributing and posting installation schedules.

 

How will I know if my meter has been changed?
The co-op employee or contractor will leave a door hanger on your front door to let you know they have changed the meter.  We will work with businesses to minimize any inconvenience.  You do not have to be present during the meter change.