These days, it feels like smart-enabled devices are all around us. From our phones and speakers to appliances, doorbells and wristwatches, smart-enabled devices have revolutionized many different aspects of our daily lives as consumers. And while those device examples mainly benefit the consumer or end-user, plenty of smart-enabled devices—like advanced metering infrastructure (AMI)—offer a litany of advantages to both the consumer and service-providing business.
AMI modernizes the traditional act of utility metering with the help of smart-enabled devices, and utilities worldwide are switching to reap all the benefits this emerging technology has to offer. If you’re a utility considering a conversion to AMI but aren’t quite ready to take a leap, the reasons we detail below may be just the nudge you need to decide.
It saves your consumers (and the utility) money through behavior modification
Because the utility marketplace is more crowded than ever, and consumers are beginning to have more choices with whom they partner for utilities, it’s essential that utilities find ways to provide consumers with added value. And for many consumers, there is no more important value to add than cost savings. Because consumption is captured via smart devices, AMI opens up a wealth of information and data that consumers have never had access to before. For example, instead of receiving just one total for all monthly usage, consumers can now get a breakdown by day, or even hour, to identify habits and patterns. Armed with that information, consumers can tweak their habits, like optimizing when they do laundry or run the air conditioning, resulting in consumption and cost reductions. Additionally, utilities realize cost savings through less labor since there is no manual meter reading, along with reductions in peak demand and outage costs (more on that in a bit).
It gives consumers more power
Another of those value-adds that AMI delivers is in the power it puts squarely back in the hands of consumers. In addition to having nearly real-time access to consumption data, AMI also facilitates the ability to set notifications and alarms. Consumers can set consumption caps so that when usage levels reach those predetermined thresholds, they receive an automated notice. Whether the consumer is cost-conscious or just concerned about their own carbon footprint, these alarms empower consumers with the knowledge they need to know if it’s time to curtail usage.
It results in more accurate billing
Few things can irritate a consumer more than receiving a grossly inaccurate bill or one that is late to arrive. Fortunately, AMI can alleviate much of that concern. Not only does it shorten the billing cycle considerably—with some utilities improving from a 60-day lead to daily reports—but it ensures bills with the right totals are given to consumers. Thanks to smart meters, gone are the days of a meter reader manually recording usage metrics—and that means the likelihood of human error is also immediately eliminated.
It helps utilities address outages faster
If inaccurate billing is one of the most common consumer complaints, one could say the same about a prolonged disruption in service. Since analog meters aren’t connected in the way smart devices are, utilities only learn of an outage if they recognize it themselves or a consumer calls in with a report. But with smart devices, the game has changed. The instant meters stop reading product consumption, utilities are alerted that an outage may be present, and further exploration is needed. Even better, some AMI systems can handle predictive analysis, letting the utility know that an error is likely to happen without intervention. With service disruptions minimized (or prevented), your customers remain happy, and steady income streams continue boosting your bottom line.
Utility Partners of America offers a variety of meter services
Utility Partners of America (UPA) has established itself as one of the industry’s most respected and trusted AMI meter installation experts. Our skilled team provides meter installation and maintenance services for utilities just like yours across the country. If you’re ready to take the plunge and convert to AMI, we can help. Contact UPA by filling out this form or calling (888) 667-1411.