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Edmond switches to 'smart' meters for utilities

  • Aug 5, 2022
Daily Oklahoman

EDMOND — The citywide installation of new "smart" meters for water and electricity is beginning for Edmond commercial and residential customers, which the city says will make measuring usage of utilities more efficient.

The meters, approved by the Edmond City Council in 2019, will be installed in phases over the next 18 months to two years.

Edmond city spokesman Bill Begley said customers typically would receive a letter about two weeks ahead of installation from Utility Partners of America, the company installing the meters. Begley said even if customers don't notice or receive a letter, they should be able to spot those working on the upgrades easily.

"UPA representatives will be out in trucks that are marked. They'll have ID. They'll knock on the door before installing so people know what's going on," he said. "If no one answers and the meters are still accessible, the installations will take place."

Begley said if an installer cannot get to a customer's meter, they will leave a hanger on the door to make contact that will include additional information on how to reschedule the service. Begley said locked gates and loose dogs could be potential reasons that installations fail to happen on an initial visit.

A brief power interruption will occur during the electricity meter install, and customers are advised to protect any sensitive equipment. However, water meter installation should not cause any interruptions.

"There really shouldn't be any long-term interruptions in service," Begley said. "When they pull the old meter out, electric service will stop, but it takes them really just a couple of minutes to put the new one back in, so you may have to reset your clocks and things like that."

Edmond won't offer program similar to OG&E's SmartHours

Oklahoma Gas and Electric Co. also uses "smart" meters for their customers. Through the use of their smart meters, residents of Oklahoma City can participate in SmartHours, a program that allows users who limit consumption during peak hours to receive adjusted rates at other times to save money. Begley said that while the upgrades make that technology available for Edmond Electric customers, it is not part of the current plan.

"There's no change in rate; there's no plan for SmartHours right now," he said.

"That's not something we're planning on doing. This is merely about getting that technology out there to give us more accurate and efficient measurement of usage and allow that information not only for the utility but also for the customer so they can use that information to manage how they use their utilities."

City officials say consumers can expect near real-time data, automatic meter readings, more accurate billing and automatic service outage notifications.

The city plans to launch a portal this fall that will allow customers to track and monitor their own usage. Begley said the portal would eventually allow residents and businesses to see usage data as recent as the previous day. He said it could also help make customers aware of spikes in usage, alerting them to check for possible leaks or irregularities in automated systems like sprinklers.

"Customers can use that information to take a look at how they're using their water, how they're using their electricity. Is there a way for them to be more efficient?" Begley said.

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