Electric meter changes planned

Published 9:59 am Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Meter readers will soon be a thing of the past for customers of Alabama Power Company.

Officials recently announced that the electricity provider would begin a complete overhaul of residential and commercial meter boxes next week.

Peggie Byrd, Atmore business office manager, said Monday that Alabama Power employees and contractors hired by the company will begin replacing all meter boxes serviced by the company and replacing them with new ones beginning July 6.

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The meters will be converted to the newest in technology referred to as Advance Metering Infrastructure, which require digital meters that will be read monthly from a remote tower rather than the traditional meter reader.

“It’s already been completed in the Birmingham, Anniston, Tuscaloosa, Montgomery and Dothan divisions,” Byrd said. “The Mobile division is the last area to make the transition to the new digital meters. The metro Mobile area will not start until September because they have more volume than the outlying areas such as Atmore.”

Byrd said plans are for workers with STS Contractors to be complete with the more than 7,000 meters in and around the Atmore area by Sept. 1 with a bulk of them being replaced within 30 days. She said payment due dates would determine when customers’ meters would be changed out.

“We have 21 billing cycles and the meters will be changed out in groups depending on the billing cycle,” she said.

Byrd added that contractors would make it known that they are performing the work.

“The contractors will knock at doors prior to changing out the meters to see if someone is at home as a courtesy to let them know that the meters are going to be changed out,” Byrd said. “They will then take a photo of the old meter for our records and then change it out.”

Currently meter readers are contractors hired by Alabama Power Company. According to the company’s Web site, the overhaul is being performed to help “reduce costs” and “increase customer satisfaction.” The site also states that over the next several years those costs to read meters will continue to increase due to the amount of meters that need to be read. AMI is also a way to ensure more accurate readings for customers, according to officials.

In the future, AMI will also allow Alabama Power to have the capability to be connected and disconnected remotely, according to officials.

Local APC office employees will provide support such as keys to meters and gates, maps and directions.

For more information visit Alabama Power Company’s Web site at www.alabamapower.com