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Many of the meters we use today are old, have reached the end of their lifespan and need to be updated. A key part of this undertaking is automation of meter reading where old meters are replaced with leading-edge technology meters called Advanced Meter Infrastructure (AMI). Advanced metering helps us deliver utility services more efficiently and put our customers in greater control of their energy and water use. Meter readers no longer need to visit your home to record your electric/water data. Instead, your water and electric information is sent remotely through the secure wireless network for billing.
Advanced metering uses low-energy radio frequency waves to send customers’ energy/water use information to ALW through a secure wireless network. Radio frequency is a form of electromagnetic energy that moves through the space around us. It is used with many everyday devices such as baby monitors, cell phones, and Wi-Fi routers. Advanced meters result in much lower levels of radio frequency exposure than many common household electric devices. In fact, exposure levels are many times lower than with a cell phone held to the ear.
We are serious when it comes to protecting the personal information of our customers. Personal information (such as name, address, or account number) is not stored in the meter, nor is it sent through the wireless network. Only the meter number and the amount of energy/water a customer uses will be collected. Once the information is safely delivered to the secure side of ALW data center, the meter number is matched up with customer information and the billing is processed.
You’ll be able to see your daily water/energy use information, which helps you make more informed utility-related decisions. Knowing when you use the most electricity or water, and finding ways to reduce consumption, can help you to reduce costs.
The new meters also make ALW more efficient in creating cost savings that can help stabilize rates. In the future, advanced metering will be able to tell us how much electricity or water is being used and where it’s going. This will help us better understand and manage our distribution system more efficiently.
With energy/water use information traveling through a wireless network, it is important that we maintain customer privacy and protect the system. The advanced metering network will have multiple layers of protection, similar to security used with online banking and ATM machines. All information will be secure and protected through encryption within the network.
Protecting our customers’ information is a top priority. Your energy/water-use information can be viewed only by:
You. You’ll be able to access your password protected account online to view your daily energy/water-use information.
Authorized ALW personnel. Access to customer information is restricted to ALW staff who will need the information to handle service, billing issues or utility service delivery. These are the same personnel who currently have access to your account information. We will continue to comply with public disclosure laws, just as we do today.
The advanced meters quickly notify ALW when there is a power outage or when there is a leak in the water system. The advanced meters can detect and report leaks faster and dispatch ALW staff to restore power faster after unplanned outages or repair water leaks.
The AMI project will be implemented over the next 3 years and will include installation of new technology water and electric meters in the ALW service territory. During the first phase, ALW will install 55 electric and 77 water meters in selected locations and related communications network for testing. If testing is satisfactory, ALW’s meter installation contractor will begin installing new meters and retrofitting meters that are less than five years old. There are approximately 17,000 electric and 23,000 water meters in the ALW territory so this phase will last about 18 months. Phase 3 is for completion of any incomplete work in Phase I and system integration. Phase 4 is for ongoing services. Customers will be notified when they are scheduled for meter installation.
Door Hanger Pre-Installation
Door Hanger Post-Installation
The Utility Board approved a $12.9 million budget to modernize operational management of the water and electric distribution systems through smart metering technology and was awarded a $1 million matching federal grant from the Bureau of Reclamation. The water meter cost component of this project is about $4.5 million. The $1 million grant will offset about 22% of the cost of water meters over a two year period. This will alleviate the need to fund $1 million of the project from the water reserve fund.
Before the Meter Installation:
• You will receive a notification letter about ALW’s Utility Modernization Project.
• We will send a reminder door hanger two weeks before the installation in your area.
Day of the Meter Installation:
• ALW has partnered with Utility Partners of America (UPA) to service your meters. Their service technicians will arrive at your residence to install the new meter between 8 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. They will have valid ID.
• Each meter replacement will take about 5-10 minutes, and your electric and/or water service(s) will go off briefly while the work is being done. As long as the service technicians can access your meter(s), you do not have to be present for this work.
• Once the meter installation is completed, the service technicians will verify that your new meter is working properly. The technicians will leave behind a door hanger indicating the type of work that was performed. If your meter is not accessible during the scheduled installation, the technicians will leave a door hanger with information on re-scheduling your meter installation.
Yes, eligible residential customers can opt-out of AMI (see special conditions). Commercial, Industrial, and Solar customers shall not be eligible to opt-out of the AMI installation. Upon installation of the AMI meters, the two-way communication RF will be disabled for customers that elect to opt-out of AMI. The disabling of this feature will prevent communication with the meters and require ALW staff to continue manually obtaining reads on the meters for billing purposes. ALW staff would be required to physically disconnect service in the event of non-payment instead of electronically disconnecting the customer remotely.
As approved by the Utility Board on September 28, 2018, ALW will be charging the following fees to recover expenses associated with a) disabling the meter RF radios; b) reprogramming the billing system to accommodate opt-out customers; and c) manually read opt-out customer meters each month:
1) A one-time set up charge in the amount of $75.00 to be billed on the residential customer account for each disabled two-way radio communication meter located at the property. The fee applies to each individual disabled two-way radio communication water and electric meter on the premises.
2) A monthly Opt-out Customer Charge for water and electric service of $10 per month for each disabled two-way radio communication metered service located at the property.
3) A reduced Opt-out Customer Charge for water and electric service of $5 per month for low-income qualified customers. The documentation and requirements for eligibility in the ALW’s low-income customer program shall apply to this reduced Opt-out Customer Charge.
1) Opt-out requests may only be made by the owner of the property.
2) Residential customers desiring to opt-out of the AMI radio communication meter functionality must complete an opt-out form within 30 days of being notified of the scheduled AMI meter installation.
3) Residential customers that have experienced meter tampering or manipulation, or have been disconnected for non-payment three times, will not be eligible to opt-out of the AMI meter installation.
4) Residential customers with meters that have historically been difficult to disconnect or obtain a reading for billing purposes will not be eligible to opt-out of the AMI meter installation. Meter locations will be evaluated by Azusa Light & Water staff for eligibility.
5) Commercial, Industrial and Solar customers shall not be eligible to opt-out of the AMI installation.
6) Multi-unit dwellings with homeowner and condominium associations may not collectively opt-out of AMI meter installations on behalf of individual residents who are members of the association. Individual residents who are owners of their residences and have individual connections for electric/water service may submit a request a for disabled two-way radio communication meter service pursuant to the requirements set forth herein.
Eligible customers who wish to opt-out of AMI should submit an Opt-Out Application Form for each utility service and submit to ALW. Customer will be notified once the application is approved.
Utility Modernization Opt-Out Requirements