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From September 2015 through March 2016, we completed the Estes Valley pilot project. We are now starting replacement of select meters at homes, public facilities and businesses throughout the community.
The Town of Estes Park currently has meters in place that allow for Automated Meter Reading (AMR). This system has been in place for approximately 20 years.
Estes Park Utilities selected the Tantalus TUNet® meter (www.tantalus.com) due to its ability to allow gradual migration from AMR to AMI meters over time. The TUNet® solution allows us to take advantage of existing meter technology already installed and protect our previous investments as we phase out the existing AMR meters.
In our region, City of Fort Collins Utilities, Mountain Parks Electric, Fort Collins–Loveland Water District, Poudre Valley REA and Colorado Springs Utilities are implementing smart meter programs.
More specifically, we will be able to:
Since the AMI system being used can integrate with the many of the existing AMR meters on the system (see How they Work), replacing select meters in addition to regularly scheduled replacements will allow Estes Park Utilities to gather readings from the existing AMR meters as well. The following areas (based on billing cycle and route) are the focus for meter upgrades in 2018:
Highway 34: Fall River, Grand Estates
Pole Hill/Highway 36
Dry Gulch/Devils Gulch
Highway 7 corridor: Carriage Hills - Meeker Park
Notification mailers have been sent to customers in the selected areas. Installation schedules will be determined by billing route priority and crew availability.
The following areas have largely been upgraded:
CR43/Glen Haven & The Retreat
Highway 7 corridor: Meeker Park south to Allenspark
In addition, a snapshot of meter data may be requested (this is often called "pinging") in order to quickly answer customer questions, troubleshoot system issues or collect a final read when a customer closes their account. This capability represents significant financial savings and environmental benefit because we can do this without having a technician drive out to the customer's property.
An example of this capability will be responding to customer calls about residential power outages. In the course of the call, we can use the system to determine if power is on at the meter or not. Many times a customer power outage is caused by a circuit breaker in the customer's home. By "pinging" the meter, faster, higher-quality service can be provided without sending crews out to assess the problem.
AMR and AMI meters in use at Estes Park have significantly lower exposure levels than the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) limit. In addition, the new AMI meters that the Town is installing have fewer RF transmissions than the AMR meters they are replacing. A simple RF comparison is shown below (source: Pennsylvania Utilities Commission).
The Smart Grid Consumer Collaborative states that over 25,000 articles have been published on RF emissions over the past 20 years. This creates a significant body of research and knowledge, including a study conducted by the California Council on Science & Technology (CCST) titled, Health Impacts of Radio Frequency from Smart Meters.
The Town installs and maintains its electric distribution facilities, including smart meters, in a safe and efficient manner consistent with other electric utilities in the Front Range and uses state of the art equipment. The Town’s electric facilities are installed by trained Journeymen Lineworkers, and all electric installations are inspected and approved by the State of Colorado Electrical Inspectors or Boulder County Electrical Inspectors.
The meters are primarily used to collect usage data and that in turn is used in monthly billing. Electric outage detection alarms and some water leak detection will allow us to better serve our customers. No specific devices within your home are monitored.
The first two phases – the initial pilot project of 70 electric meters and limited deployment – are funded through cost savings on previous capital projects. Phase three scheduled meter replacement costs will be funded through the existing operations and maintenance of meter replacements.
Or, the greenhouse gas emissions from:
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