New Meter Replacement Project

New Meter Replacement Project

Cuivre River Electric Cooperative’s effort to standardize meter technology made great strides in 2017 and is entering its final stage. More than 44,000 of the cooperative’s 64,000 meters have been replaced.
 
Installation of the remaining 20,000 meters, located primarily in Lincoln and Warren counties, is expected to be completed in Summer 2018.
 
The advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) project allows the cooperative to collect meter readings using a single technology platform that replaces three different types of meter technologies in the field. For decades, no single meter could economically meet Cuivre River’s needs. Each type offered a specific solution required for the geographic area where it was installed.
 
Using a single technology now available to address geographic challenges and replace the aging hybrid equipment is already improving system efficiency. The retirement of one meter technology that carried a monthly reading fee is already saving the cooperative more than $19,000 per month, a total of $230,000 annually.  
 
“The system is working even better than planned,” says AMI Coordinator Neal Harrell. He has worked to maintain the various aging technologies and has been actively involved in the system-wide meter replacement program.  
 
In addition to meter readings, AMI provides outage data for operations staff and helps engineers and linemen diagnose problems more quickly. When the deployment is complete, outage reporting from most locations can be automatic. Remote location reports from single meters will still be verified by a phone call.
 
Maintenance benefits include power line and transformer load analysis to help plan line capacity upgrades, improve system reliability, resolve blinks and outages, improve damage predictions for fuse, breaker and recloser locations, and improve underground fault detection.
 
Members can also request information to help them diagnose electrical problems and resolve high energy use concerns.
 
Throughout the multi-year project Cuivre River personnel and technicians from Anixter Power Solutions have worked together to deploy the AMI system. Anixter crews arrive in vans that display a Cuivre River decal like the one in the adjoining photo, carry an I.D., and work weekdays from 7:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. “Do not hesitate to call us or ask our contractors for their credentials,” says Harrell.
 
Approximately 3,000 meters are exchanged each month. Members are notified in person or with a door card when technicians are onsite. Members who provide easy access to their meters help simplify the installation. The equipment exchange causes a momentary service disruption.
 
For more information about the final phase of the project contact Harrell at 636-695-4834 or email nharrell@cuivre.com.
 
Editor's Note: This article was published in the December 2017 issue of the Current Times