3/28/2019
Appalachian Power begins electric meter upgrade for Abingdon-area customers


ABINGDON, Va., March 28, 2019 – Appalachian Power will install new electric meters beginning April 1 for its customers in the Abingdon, Va., area. The installations are part of routine service upgrades that provide multiple benefits for customers.

Appalachian will install about 19,000 Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) meters for the service area. There is no charge to customers for the new AMI meters.

The meters will take the place of radio frequency—or RF—meters that were installed beginning in 2005. The replacement project will take several weeks and is being completed by an authorized contractor.

AMI meters are equipped with technology that allows Appalachian to read customer meters remotely. The company currently uses RF meters which require an employee in a company vehicle to drive by a home or business to obtain meter readings. AMI meters combine radio frequency and cell phone technology to transmit meter readings directly to the company, eliminating the need for an employee to drive by the location.

The new meters provide other benefits. For example, the physical electric service connections and disconnects for customer accounts, as well as some other service needs, can be accomplished remotely thereby speeding service for customers. The meters will allow Appalachian to detect when an outage occurs so it can more quickly dispatch a crew to the site to restore power.

The individual meter change-out is relatively simple. Approximately 15 contract workers will be in the Abingdon area to remove old meters and install the AMI meters. In residential locations, they will walk to the meter base, take photographs for documentation, remove the RF meter and plug in the new meter.

Customers can expect a short power outage while the meters are switched. If customers are not at home during the replacement, they may find a blinking digital clock to reset when they return.

Customers are being notified by recorded phone calls or voicemail messages when the change-outs will occur in their neighborhood.

Workers from Quanta Utility Engineering Services—or QUES—are installing the meters. Area residents may also see PAR Electric personnel installing network infrastructure. The contract installers will be wearing appropriate credentials and drive vehicles that are marked as Appalachian Power contractors. Workers will not ask to enter a customer’s house, nor will they ask the customer to come outside. If there is any doubt, customers may call a company service representative at (800) 956-4237 for verification.

The new meters have a small digital screen at the top of the meter face and a blue horizontal label about midway across the face.

Appalachian has been installing AMI meters since 2017 and plans to install about 260,000 in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee this year. For more information about AMI meters, please visit online www.appalachianpower.com/info/AMIDigitalMeters/

Appalachian Power has 1 million customers in Virginia, West Virginia and Tennessee (as AEP Appalachian Power). It is a unit of American Electric Power, one of the largest electric companies in the United States. AEP is focused on building a smarter energy infrastructure and delivering new technologies and custom energy solutions to customers. AEP’s more than 18,000 employees operate and maintain the nation’s largest electricity transmission system and more than 219,000 miles of distribution lines to efficiently deliver safe, reliable power to nearly 5.4 million regulated customers in 11 states. AEP also is one of the nation’s largest electricity producers with approximately 32,000 megawatts of diverse generating capacity, including 4,340 megawatts of renewable energy.

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John Shepelwich
jeshepelwich@aep.com

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