An electric meter reading allows the cooperative to bill each member for the actual amount of electricity used, measured in kilowatt-hours (kWh). Victory Electric reads your meter daily using an automated meter infrastructure (AMI) system. Your automated meter sends your reading electronically via radio frequency to Victory Electric.
AMI allows the cooperative to bill members more accurately and saves Victory Electric money through fewer property visits. Because the system uses two-way communications, Victory Electric can serve members more efficiently, saving time and resources by reducing the number of trucks on the road. The system may also detect the location of power outages more rapidly. This translates to better service to all members.
More efficient member service and support
- Improved handling of member accounts (i.e. connects, re-connects, service transfers)
- Hourly use data for billing and use inquiries
- Online presentation of daily and hourly use to interested members
- Fewer visits to the meter location
- High-level billing and meter read accuracy
Lower operating costs
- Lower costs for meter reading
- Fewer trucks on the road
- More detailed data to plan, construct and optimize our electric distribution system
Frequently Asked Questions
Advanced Metering Infrastructure, or AMI, is the term used to describe the full set of technologies and systems that create two-way communication between members’ electrical meter and the utility’s billing, distribution and control systems. This is part of what’s typically called the “smart grid.” Historically, information and energy have flowed in one direction only – from the utility to the meter. With these meters, Victory Electric can read the meter remotely from our office. Information from the meter is transmitted back to us in daily increments. The meters also have remote connect and disconnect capabilities.
Deploying digital meters to all of our members enables Victory Electric CEC to operate more efficiently and cost-effectively, which lowers costs and reduces pressure on members’ rates. Meter readers no longer have to enter your property for monthly meter readings. This reduces labor, fuel and vehicle costs and carbon emissions.
Meters are now read more regularly; increased frequency helps resolve billing disputes more easily.
In some cases, our ability to communicate with your meter also can give us precise information about the timing and location of outages, making some power restoration efforts more efficient. In such situations, we reduce line crews’ labor, fuel and vehicle costs because we are able to pinpoint outages more comprehensively and achieve total restoration faster.
Members are also able to monitor their electricity use in daily measurements by going to our online web portal SmartHub. Members can see the details of their electricity use by the hour, day, month and year. This information helps our members be better informed and therefore able to make better decisions about their electricity use behaviors and patterns.
Your electric meter is a solid-state, non-mechanical instrument and is extremely accurate. It measures your use of kilowatt-hours of electricity. The cooperative tests meters to ensure accuracy.
Victory Electric selected Landis+Gyr as its vendor for the Advanced Metering project. The Gridstream™ RF Mesh technology is a world-class proven technology.
In some instances, yes. This is because the old, mechanical meter was running slower than it should and therefore was giving artificially low use readings. The new meters use electronics to measure electric use and this resulted in a small number of members having higher bills despite no change in their behavior, a direct result of more accurate metering. With no moving parts to wear down, the new meters will provide more accurate readings for a longer period of time. With the new AMI meters, all cooperative members are more fairly billed for the actual amount of electricity used than may have happened during the era when electro-mechanical meters were read manually.
Meter manufacturers are incorporating security features and military-grade 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. Victory Electric is able to tell if someone “tampers” with your meter because the meter will report any tampering attempts.
Misunderstanding advanced technology can lead to the emergence of urban legends. The case is no different with digital meters, which utilities are rolling out across the country in an effort to bring the benefits of a modernized electric grid to consumers like you.
The following are the most commonly circulated digital meter myths. Our responses, each supported by research, offer the facts—the real deal on electric meters.
- Truth: Digital meters are rigorously tested for accuracy even before they leave the manufacturing plant.
- Truth: Public service commission’s across the nation require meter manufacturers to supply independently certified testing results to prove that their meters generate on-the-mark measurements.
- Truth: Prior to installation, utilities repeatedly perform accuracy tests, often side-by-side with analog meters.
Repeated tests confirm digital meters are accurate, in some cases even more accurate than analog meters.
- Truth: In-depth review of the scientific literature by the World Health Organization (WHO) revealed the small amount of radio frequency (RF) energy produced by wireless enabled digital meters is not harmful to human health.
- Truth: RF emitted by wireless enabled digital meters is well below the limits set by Federal Communications Commission and it is below levels produced by other common household devices like cell phones, baby monitors, satellite TVs, and microwaves. In fact, you would have to be exposed to the RF from a digital meter for 375 years to get a dose equivalent to that of one year of 15-minutes-per-day cell phone use.
No credible evidence shows any threat to human health from RF emissions at or below RF exposure limits developed by the FCC. With over 25,000 articles published on the topic over the last 30 years, scientific knowledge in this area is now more extensive than for most chemicals.
- Truth: Just as the banking, credit card and cable industries have provided secure access to your information online, the utility industry is poised to do the same using advanced security and encryption technology to safeguard your data.
- Truth: Utilities are involved in national consortiums and work with national cyber security to regularly audit their systems to ensure privacy and security of digital meters.
The privacy of your data is protected and utilities work constantly to safeguard it. That will not change with the use of digital meters.
- Truth: Digital meters must meet safety requirements and standards spelled out in the National Electric Safety Code (NESC).
- Truth: Public service commissions require independent certification proving digital meters are safe and show resistance to heat, fire, voltages, surges and self-heating.
Companies manufacturing meters produce certifiably safe and reliable equipment. Nevertheless, meters should be installed and uninstalled by trained professionals exercising standard safety precautions.
- Truth: Meters measure how much energy you use, based on time of day, not how you use that energy. Unless you install a home energy management system, the meters cannot tell whether the energy used is from your oven, air conditioner or hairdryer.
- Truth: Utilities adhere to strict policies, following state laws regulating the use of personal information for business functions like billing and customer service.
Digital meters are a landmark change allowing two-way communication between your utility and you, much like cell phones and banking. Utilities keep your data private and secure, similar to those industries and similar to how it has always been.
- Truth: Meters measure and transmit your energy use directly to your utility, eliminating the practice of estimated bills, which means no more surprises on your electric bill.
- Truth: Meters provide you with periodic energy use data throughout the day on how much, when and in some cases, at what price, you use energy. Armed with this information, you can take more control over your energy consumption—and your monthly bills.
- Truth: Working as a part of the smart grid, digital meters improve power outage detection and notification. The meters electronically report the location of outages before you ever have to call your utility, making restoration faster and status notification to you much easier.
Greater reliability, faster power restoration, convenience and control are just a few of the many benefits of digital meters.
Separating myths from reality allows you to take advantage of all the benefits that a smarter, more modernized electric grid offers. It is important to stay informed and learn about the different ways your utility is deploying smart grid and digital meters to improve their electric service. For trusted information about smart grid and digital meters, visit the Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative (SGCC) at smartgridcc.org, or the US Department of Energy at SmartGrid.gov.
Victory Electric’s AMI electric meters include technology allowing them to be read without physical access to the meter. These meters improve meter reading efficiencies and accuracy, but even with remote reading capabilities, the member is responsible for keeping the meter clear of obstructions and provide Victory Electric with access to the meter.
When applying for electric service with Victory Electric, each member provided a signed easement granting the cooperative access to the electric meter. The meter is the property of Victory Electric and we require access to read the meter in order to bill for services rendered and ensure accurate readings. Providing access to the meters allows staff to conduct routine maintenance and to access the meters on an as needed basis to obtain a manual reading. Easy accessibility to the meter at your service location is required in order for our employees to do their job safely and efficiently. Additionally, if there is an emergency, such as a house fire, we need to have access in order to remove the meter or cut the line from the transformer. This is for the safety of all our consumers.
The National Electric Safety Code requires an unobstructed working space that extends from the floor or ground to a minimum height of 6 feet, 6 inches. For electrical equipment mounted higher than 6 feet, 6 inches, this space shall extend to the top of the equipment. There shall be a minimum distance of three feet of unobstructed working space, measured from the meter face, in front of all electric meters.
- Cooperative personnel are strangers and their presence in your “territory” can provoke a pet. If you have a dog, or access to your service is through a locked gate, please make sure that your dog is locked up and the gate is unlocked. Confine pets indoors or chained away from the meter;
- Clear tall grass, shrubs, fencing, leaves, snow, icicles, etc. that may hide or damage the meter;
- Ensuring cars and dumpsters are not blocking the meter,
- Providing special instructions for Victory Electric personnel, or whatever else is necessary to provide meter access, to include unlocking your gate, providing the cooperative with a key, or calling to arrange a time with meter technician if your gate must remain locked;
- Arrange for an adult to be present when a meter inside your home is to be read or maintenance performed.
Please make every effort to keep your meter accessible, or to fix any current situation that is preventing Victory Electric from accessing the meter. After a visit to your location when we are unable to access the meter, Victory Electric will leave a door hanger to let you know of the specific reason the meter was inaccessible or obstructed. This may be followed by additional communication about your meter. Please contact Victory Electric to discuss your specific meter accessibility issue and recommended next steps. Potential remedies may be as simple as pruning a hedge or may require hiring a plumber or electrician, at your expense, to relocate the meter.
Contact Victory Electric if your meter must be removed or relocated to accommodate additions or renovations (home additions, fences, decks, patios, barrier-free ramps) to your property. Never place a meter under a deck or porch. Do not remove or relocate a meter yourself, since it is extremely dangerous to you and your neighbors. In instances where a member requests the meter be placed in a different location, the member is responsible for the relocation costs to accommodate his/her location preference.
All meters are furnished, owned, installed and removed by the cooperative. Seals are placed on all meters, meter enclosures, or metering transformers for the purpose of security. Breaking these seals or tampering with meters, their associated equipment, or interconnecting wiring is prohibited. Unauthorized possession and use of a stolen meter; the unauthorized manipulation, such as inverting, relocating, or swapping of meter or registers; the internal tampering of metering device affecting the proper registration of energy consumed is also prohibited. Meter tampering is extremely dangerous and can result in electrical shock or even death.
If the cooperative has knowledge that unauthorized interference, diversion, or use of utility service (meter bypass) is taking place, the cooperative calls the local police department to document theft to initiate legal action and then the cooperative disconnects service immediately. The member is required to pay all fees, deposit, meter damage and any estimated electric use prior to being reconnected.
If a member is found consuming electricity not registered through a meter provided by the cooperative:
- The member will be held responsible and will be immediately disconnected.
- The member may be required to pay for damages.
- An additional meter deposit may be requested.
- The cooperative may estimate billing for the period of time that the meter was not registering the correct consumption. The value of the diverted service shall be estimated based on the historic use of the member or the residence.
- The member may be required to pay all additional costs incurred by the cooperative as a result of the incident.
- The member may be required to pay a meter-tampering fee.
Any electric use that goes unbilled and /or unpaid increases the cost of electricity for all paying members of the cooperative. If you know of or suspect that someone has tampered with their meter, please contact Victory Electric immediately to report it.