This summer, Overton Power District No. 5 (OPD), will start a three year project to upgrade our metering system. OPD will be installing new, automated meters starting June 2017, this project is estimated to be completed over the next three (3) years to increase the efficiency and reliability of our electric system. Improving the efficiency of both operations and electricity delivery can help us keep down costs for customers.
The biggest change? With the new automated meters, OPD will be able to read and reconnect meters remotely from the district’s headquarters, saving time, labor and money. The impact of the installation is minimal. OPD customers can expect to lose power for a few minutes on the day of the installation. Your first bill following the installation will show two readings: one from the old meter and one from the new meter.
Customers’ kilowatt hour rates will not change. The new meter system utilizes power line carrier communications as opposed to wireless radio technology. Each communication with the District will take less than 8 seconds and only electric meter data is securely transmitted. No user or account information is transmitted.
In addition to reducing operational costs, the new meters, will help improve the reliability of our system. The new technology helps us monitor the electric system in almost real-time allowing us to detect problems more quickly and to locate outages more precisely. In some cases, we will be able to fix the problem before customers know their power has been out. We can use this information to make the process of delivering power much more efficient.
Mendis Cooper, OPD General Manager said “One of our goals is to provide ways for people to have a good customer experience. The meters, which provide hourly information about power use, will help customers understand more about the way they use electricity. New features include the capability for customers to learn how small changes can affect their electric bill by viewing hourly, daily or monthly usage through the Customer Service Portal at www.opd5.com or directly on their smart phones with our mobile app”.
In the next few months, as we make progress installing the new meters, we will be offering a “pay as you go” option, where you can make payments monthly, weekly or even in daily increments. This new option puts you in the driver’s seat for purchasing electricity. It’s like filling your car with gasoline. You monitor the fuel level and decide when you should re‐fill. Adding money to your account allows you to “refuel”.
At OPD taking advantage of new technologies is one more way that we are looking out for our customers by increasing efficiency and system reliability.