Automated Metering System
Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative uses automated meter infrastructure (AMI) and radio frequency (RF) technology to gather usage, voltage and other valuable information from our meters.
Radio Frequency (RF) Automated Meter System
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of a radio frequency, automated meter system?
The RF and AMI techologies provide Burke-Divide Electric Cooperative and its members with numerous benefits:
- Pinpoint the exact location of outages more quickly, meaning a faster response time.
- Collect hourly and daily meter readings to help members better understand their power consumption patterns.
- Collect voltage and other data across the system to better monitor power quality and system inefficiencies.
- Advanced system features that will allow for more trouble-shooting options for co-op employees from the office, increasing efficiency.
What information does my meter record?
Your 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.
How will the co-op read the meters?
The cooperative’s computer system will communicate with the meters through routers and collectors installed throughout the system. The meter reading is sent back to the co-op via secure radio frequency.
What day of the month will the meters be read?
All meters are read the 1st of each month.
What if my bill reports more kWh usage than normal or I think my meter is not working correctly?
Contact the co-op office right away to discuss your billing concerns.
Members are able to view hourly, daily, and monthly usage by using SmartHub, the cooperative’s online account management system.
Will my meter notify the co-op when the power goes out?
Yes. The meters will be able to record outages allowing the cooperative to verify whether the outage is either on the member’s side of the meter or the co-op's.
Are the meters secure?
Yes. The meter display is visible for members to be able to check their consumption. All other information and data stored in the meter is secure, and the meter is sealed.
Will someone other than the co-op be able to read the my meter?
It’s very unlikely but not impossible that some very sophisticated “bad actor” could access information from the cooperative’s automated metering system. Meter manufacturers are incorporating security features and encryption technology into their meters, as recommended by national security experts. Our goal is to upgrade our electric distribution system to make it safer, more secure, and more reliable. Your new digital meter is part of this effort. Once your new digital meter is installed, your cooperative will be able to tell if someone “tampers” with your meter because the meter will report any tampering attempts to the cooperative.
Are there any potential health impacts from a meter that can receive and send data?
No. Research conducted by the Electric Power Research Institute, the Utilities Telecom Council, and others has revealed no health impacts from digital meters. The radio frequencies emitted by digital meters falls well below the maximum recommended in federal guidelines. Contrary to some misconceptions, the new meters emit radio frequencies (RF) only when responding to a request for data from the co-op office – either once every fifteen minutes or once every hour for less than a second. Compare this activity to a laptop with a wireless connection, which is constantly sending and retrieving data. A digital meter equipped to send and receive data has an RF density hundreds of times less than the RF density of a cell phones – and the meters are installed on the outside of your house not next to your ear!
The FCC limit for RF exposure is 1 milliwatt per square centimeter (mW/cm2). At 20 inches in front of a meter, the average exposure to radio frequency signals is less than the background radio frequency signals naturally generated by the earth, and less than one-seven-thousandth of the safe exposure standard set by the Federal Communications Commission. Exposure to RF is significantly reduced by buildings. At one yard in front of the meter on a typical day, inside your home, your exposure is miniscule — more than 1.3 million times below the FCC standard.