ADVANCED METER PILOT PROGRAM
>> Frequently Asked Questions
>> What is the Advanced Meter Pilot Program?
Pasadena Water and Power’s Advanced Meter Pilot Program is a grant funded project that will replace approximately 200 existing electric meters with more advanced meter technology.
>> What is the purpose of the pilot program?
The purpose of the Advanced Meter Pilot Program is to test a new type of meter technology that can help PWP improve its electric service quality and reliability. If the pilot program is successful, PWP will consider installing more of the new meters (or similar advanced meter technology) at other homes and businesses in Pasadena.
>> How is the program funded?
The Advanced Meter Pilot Program is funded by Pasadena Water and Power and through a grant from the American Public Power Association.
>> What kind of meter will PWP be using in the pilot program?
The new meter combines Itron’s CENTRON II digital meter platform with wireless technology from Nighthawk. Both Itron and Nighthawk are based in the U.S.A., and they assemble the CENTRON II meters here as well.
The CENTRON II meter will replace the earlier model of a similar digital meter which you currently have (Itron's first generation CENTRON meter). In the utility industry, both the old and the new models are classified as “automatic meter reading” (AMR) technology.
>> How long has PWP used Automatic Meter Reading technology?
PWP began replacing old-fashioned mechanical meters with digital automated mater reading (AMR) meters in 2004. Almost all PWP customers now have AMR meters (the CENTRON model from Itron), which are more accurate than mechanical meters and provide a more efficient means for meter readers to collect billing data.
The meters being used in the Advanced Meter Pilot Program are also AMR meters (the CENTRON II model from Itron), but they offer additional features that help improve electric service quality and reliability.
>> How are the new meters similar to the meters PWP currently uses?
Just like the meters PWP currently uses, the new meters use digital technology to record how much electricity a customer uses. As before, PWP staff will continue to walk or drive by residential service addresses every two months to “read” the meters for billing data through handheld wireless devices.
>> How are the new meters different?
The new meters can detect when there is a power outage or when the voltage on a power line is too low or too high. It can then send an alert to PWP to troubleshoot the issue. Also, if electric service at an address needs to be turned on or off, PWP staff can do the work remotely through wireless technology.
>> Under what circumstances would PWP disconnect a customer’s electric service through the meter’s wireless technology?
PWP will be able to turn the meter off or on through wireless technology when a customer moves out and discontinues service, for safety when power lines are being worked on, or when a customer has received a shutoff notice and has exhausted all other remedies that are normally available for bill payment.
>> Are the new meters in the pilot program what people call “smart meters”?
The advanced meters in the pilot program are not considered “smart meters” by the utility industry. Smart meters, which are now in use by many utilities nationwide, offer additional features that support programmable “smart” appliances and electronics, real-time pricing, electric load control devices and in-home displays for monitoring energy use.
>> Are the new meters safe?
The new meters have been tested and certified by the Underwriters Laboratories for electrical safety. The wireless technology in the new meters emits radio frequency signals at levels that are below limits set by the Federal Communications Commission and the same or less than cell phones, Wi-Fi routers and baby monitors.
>> How did PWP select who would participate in the program?
A combination of factors went into selecting areas of Pasadena that would be right for the pilot program. Above all, PWP selected areas where existing power infrastructure would be compatible with the new meters’ functionality and where low voltage issues have been recorded. (The new meters are expected to help PWP quickly detect problems with the electric system, which will facilitate plans for repairs or upgrades.) Areas of Council Districts 1, 3 and 6 will participate in the pilot program.
>> When will the new meter install happen?
All installations will occur on weekdays between February 27 and March 23.
>> I have been selected to participate in the pilot program...
... Do I need to be at home when they are installed?
No. PWP can access your meter without inconveniencing you. You do not need to schedule an appointment.
... When the new meter is installed, how long will my home be without power?
While the meters are being switched, your home will be without power only for a few minutes. Your digital clocks may need to be reset.
... What do I need to do to prepare?
Nothing. Your home will be without power for only a few minutes while the old meter is replaced with the new one.
... Will the new meters be removed after the pilot program is over?
... How will I know if my meter has been switched?
You will receive a notice on your door telling you that PWP has switched out your meter. Please note that not all customers who receive this FAQ in the mail will be selected for the pilot program. If by the end of March you have not received the notice on your door, it means that your service address was ultimately not selected for the pilot program.
... How do I read my new meter?
The advanced meter has a digital display that shows your electricity usage in kilowatt-hours. You calculate your electricity usage the same way as did with your older model digital AMR meter. Learn how to calculate your electricity usage...
... Will the new meters cause my electric bill to go up or down?
The new meters are just as accurate as your current meter, and have been tested for accuracy by the American National Standards Institute. Like your current meter, the new meter uses digital technology to record how much electricity you use. PWP meter readers will still walk or drive by your home every two months to collect your billing data, and your bi-monthly bill will still look the same.
... What if I experience any problems?
If you experience any problems with your electric service, please follow the same procedures that you do now. For billing and meter issues or general questions, call (626) 744-4005. For power outages, please call (626) 744-4673, even though your new meter is designed to alert PWP of outages.
... How can I find out more information about the new meters?If you have further questions, please call (626) 744-4005 or send an email to WPD_Answerline@cityofpasadena.net.