ERMU Advanced Metering Infrastructure Project

Elk River Municipal Utilities (ERMU) is about to begin a new era of service. The Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project will involve installing new electric and water meters throughout our entire service territory. The new equipment will allow the utility to provide improved service, operational efficiencies, and more detailed billing information thanks to remote meter reading and two-way communication that generates near real time data.

ERMU will begin installing the new meters in March of 2024. Due to the unique features of each type of installation, the meters will be installed by neighborhood with the assistance of Allegiant Utility Services, LLC. Installation details and updates will be available throughout the project primarily through our website, social media posts, bill inserts, and newsletters. ERMU customer service representatives are available to assist customers with any questions during regular business hours (8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.) at 763.441.2020.

According to the American Public Power Association, data from 2022 shows that more than 111 million households and businesses nationwide are served by advanced metering infrastructure, or smart meters, which is approximately 68% of all electric utility customers.

PROJECT UPDATES

May 2024

  • Water meter installation letters will be mailed to residential water customers in stages beginning Friday, May 3. There is no cost to customers for this water meter upgrade.

March 2024

  • ERMU will begin installing new meters in May with the assistance of Allegiant Utility Services, LLC. 
  • An AMI installation update is included in the spring edition of ERMU's quarterly newsletter, The Current. All customers will receive this newsletter with their March billing statement.

December 2023

  • Introductory information about the AMI project was included in the winter edition of ERMU's quarterly newsletter, The Current. All customers received this newseltter with their December billing statement.

November 2023 

  • All customers received an introduction to AMI insert with their November billing statement.
  • Introductory information about the AMI project was included in ERMU's monthly e-newsletter, The Connector.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

What is the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Project? This project will involve installing new electric and water meters throughout our entire service territory. The new equipment will allow us to provide improved service, operational efficiencies, and better billing information.

What is AMI? Advanced Metering Infrastructure, or AMI, is a technology solution that allows ERMU to read your utility meters remotely without having to travel to the meter located at your home. For years, ERMU has read meters using radio signals providing a single direction of information flow – from the meter to the utility. With AMI, meters allow for two-way communication and, as a result, boost efficiency and reliability.

Reason for the upgrade of equipment? ERMU routinely upgrades their equipment according to industry standards which will include AMI meters. Equipment upgrades allow ERMU to operate more efficiently and cost-effectively, which lowers pressure on rates.

How does Advanced Metering benefit me? At a high level, AMI will provide you with better information to utilize your electric and water utilities resources more efficiently. You will have access to more detailed information about your usage using ERMU’s SmartHub web and app based customer portal. This data will also help us to better address your questions and issues about usage.

What will Advanced Metering cost me? There will be no additional customer bill charges for this new technology. The project is being funded through our normal budgeting process.

What is an Advanced Meter? An Advanced meter allows for two-way communication on an Advanced Metering network. Meters communicate with nearby two-way field collector radios and send data back to the database. The meter collects usage data in increments. Water meters will collect hourly usage data and electric meters collect 15-minute usage data. Data is loaded to the customer’s account daily.

Is Advanced Metering a new Technology? No, Advanced Metering has been around in Minnesota since 2003 and is a utility standard around the country. These devices allow for more accurate and faster collection of usage readings than our current method, improve safety, and provide overall efficiency.

Is my information safe? Yes, data transmitted from the meter through the AMI system is encrypted throughout the entire process.

Will I have access to my meter data? Yes. As the system is developed, you will have access to more detailed information about your electricity and water usage patterns through ERMU’S SmartHub customer web and app based portal. Additional functionality will be added as we continually improve the system. This functionality will enable you to have a better understanding of your usage patterns so you can make better choices about how you use your electric and water utilities.

Will ERMU be able to control anything in my home or business? No. ERMU access stops at the meter.

Will the electronic box on the meter device interfere with other electronic equipment in my home or office? No. The radio transmission operates in compliance with Federal Communications Commission (FCC Regulations) to avoid interference with other electronic devices.

How will I know that you have my reading and not someone else’s? Each AMI radio frequency device has a unique identifier number which is transmitted along with the meter reading. The unique number is compared to your account record electronically to ensure a match.

Are the electromagnetic fields produced by the new equipment harmful to my health? No. AMI emits significantly lower exposure levels than most typical devices that emit radio frequency (RF), such as cellular phones, wireless routers, and microwave ovens and represent no known health hazards. If you have additional questions, don’t hesitate to contact ERMU at 763.441.2020.

 

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