Benefits of system-wide meter upgrade
With just under 25,000 new meters installed on ECE’s system to date, increased efficiencies are being noticed by line crews and the distribution system operators who monitor our equipment 24/7. Phil Beaupré, who manages the System Control department, answered questions about the new meters and power restoration.
What is the biggest benefit members have received so far from the system-wide meter upgrade?
The new meters are helping us respond more quickly to outages, which results in shorter restoration times. The meters give us the ability to see or confirm what the member is telling us when they call to report an outage or certain power quality concerns. We can better understand the scope of what they’re dealing with so when we go to an area and make repairs, we can see if everyone is back on or if we have more work to do before we leave. It reduces the need to go back to the same location because someone is still out.
Do you have an example of how a new meter proved beneficial for a member?
We have several examples of the system showing us the power was out at a location, and we were able to restore it before the member was aware of the outage.
Will the new meters eliminate the need for members to call and report their power outage?
I don’t think we will ever get away from asking members to call us. We still need the information they provide, such as what they saw and what they heard. When we put member information together with what the meters are giving us, we have an even stronger picture of what is happening in the field than we had before. All of these tools combine to make our restoration process more efficient.
Have there been any issues with meter performance so far?
We’ve had to adjust some of our work processes because of a few things we didn’t anticipate. For example, when members get an electrician to do something in their home, we now see the meter go off if they disconnect it. Of course, we don’t know that’s what caused it, and it could be an outage we need to address. We’re looking at communication strategies with electricians, members and our crews in the field.
What are you most excited about as you work with the new meters?
The meters allow us to make more efficient choices in our power restoration efforts. Even though they are only partially installed on our system, they are having a positive effect on the way we do things.