Anyone who has spent time in the utility industry understands smart technology’s impact on processes and operations. In the technology realm, “smart” is an acronym for “Self-Monitoring, Analysis, and Reporting Technology” (SMART). Smart tech is known for driving innovation and ease for its users.
Widely considered the foundation of smart technology for utilities, advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) has been steadily gaining momentum for years. In fact, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA), there were nearly 103 million electric utility AMI installations as of 2020. These numbers don’t account for statistics from the last two years, nor those related to natural gas or water meters, which the EIA does not publish. So, why push for this advanced technology? Today, we’ll review some of the top advantages and why so many utilities are making the move to AMI meter technology.
Improved billing accuracy
The old way of data collecting and meter reading left much to be desired and plenty of room for error. Completing meter reads by hand resulted in an influx of inaccurate bills and unhappy customers. AMI eliminates the need for those physical visits and empowers always-on sensors to track consumption rates. Not only does this have the ability to improve billing accuracy and increase customer satisfaction, but it also allows the utility to reinvest the time and energy of those former meter readers into new, more meaningful roles.
First and foremost, a utility’s number one priority is to deliver products and services safely and reliably to its customers, and utilities are always on the hunt for ways to do just that. Fortunately, AMI’s technology enhances production in a number of key areas. First, this new metering method improves yesteryear’s reliance on customers calling in to report outages. Thanks to always-on sensors, utilities receive alerts about outages in real-time. Technicians tasked with getting service back up and running are now dispatched quicker than in years past. Additionally, the sensors give visibility into aspects of the grid that may be working at suboptimal levels.
Variable pricing structures
Earlier, we talked about improved billing accuracy as a result of AMI meter technology. But, there’s another aspect of a modernized grid that can benefit customers: Variable pricing. AMI enables variable pricing structures based on peak and off-peak energy usage. Customers who are conscious of their energy use are rewarded with lower bills.
Better informed customers
We touched on this slightly in the last benefit, but AMI equips customers with information about their usage habits in a way that traditional metering never could. Utilities can now deliver itemized and very specific bills to customers. Detailing their consumption and lending insights into behaviors and patterns. Ultimately, the onus is on the customer to do something with that data. Potentially, customers can take those insights and adapt their energy use to save money and reduce their environmental impact as well.
Utility Partners of America is skilled at AMI installation
With years of experience in helping utilities replace old meters with AMI, Utility Partners of America (UPA) has an in-depth understanding of how technology can benefit both the utility and the customer, and how to efficiently deploy it throughout a service territory. In addition to installation, we provide a variety of other services related to AMI. Interested in learning what we can do for you? Contact us or call (888) 667-1411 today.