Frequently Asked Questions

Advanced Metering System Frequently Asked Questions

New AMS system will improve BECi’s quality of service
 BECi is taking another significant step in fulfilling our mission to provide the best possible service by implementing a new Advanced Metering System (AMS).

The Louisiana Public Service Commission recently approved our plan to launch an AMS pilot program, followed by a complete deployment after field testing is successfully completed.

We began installing advanced meterson April 13, 2015. The plan calls for members to receive a phone call notifying them that a new meter will be installed. The installation process and equipment upgrades should be non-disruptive and will not require any action on your part.

This innovative project represents the cutting edge of power distribution technology, makes use of the latest advancements in the electric utility industry, and will ultimately benefit members and the community in a number of ways.

Our board, management and employees have a very clear vision of what the energy future looks like, and we’re excited about the opportunity to work collaboratively on reaching that vision for a more efficient, secure and reliable energy environment for our members.

The two-way AMS configuration will revolutionize the cooperative’s power delivery infrastructure by allowing near real-time communication between the central station, meters and monitoring /control devices positioned along the distribution system.

The comprehensive integrated communication network allows BECi to gather much more system data than before in a more timely fashion, information that can be used to help contain the cost of providing power, curtail outage frequency and duration, and help members consume less power and thus lower your monthly bill.

The system will also increase the profile of your co-op as we seek to attract more commercial and industrial customers to the system, which in turn helps keep costs low for all members.

We feel this is a very wise and prudent investment in our system and will be a great boon for all of our members. It gives us a lot of flexibility as far as being able to accommodate our current members as well as drawing the interest of businesses moving in the area. It enables us to offer so much more as far as preventing outages, improving service and containing costs by minimizing power loss on the grid.

It also sends a signal across the region that BECi is a major player in the industry sector and we have the capability to deliver the high level of modernized service that business customers need and demand.

Those electric cooperatives in other areas of the country that have implemented AMS report faster complaint response, shorter and fewer outages and a generally higher overall customer satisfaction. Cost of service has also been reduced because of more accurate meter reading, fewer field calls, lower line loss and because many of the issues that once had to be addressed during overtime hours can now be handled during regular business hours.

Other potential advantages of AMS include the following:

• Electricity theft detection

• Remote disconnect and reconnect

• Distribution automation

• Outage management and restoration

• Time of use pricing and critical peak pricing

• Transformer loading assessments

• Voltage monitoring

• Distributed generation and net metering (Acct. No. 134891-001)

• Power quality investigations.

Members can be assured these new meters are tested by leading manufacturers and they meet or exceed stringent national standards for safety, security and privacy requirements. Meters use a variety of communication methods to communicate or transmit data.

The new AMS meter operates using a radio frequency similar to what is used by walkie-talkies or some cordless phones. These new meters transmit information to the utility by broadcasting for a few seconds each day to routers and data collectors and then transmit the data to the utility.

All of this adds up to a major system enhancement that enables us to add to our long tradition of friendly, responsive, hometown service members have come to expect for more than 75 years.

Even though we are working diligently to maintain our status as an industry leader, we are still large enough to serve, but small enough to care.

BECi begins full deployment of new Advanced Metering System

In its ongoing effort to make the best use of the latest technological advancements in the electric utility industry, BECi will begin full deployment of its new Advanced Metering System (AMS) on Aug. 3, 2015. The project is expected to be completed by the end of 2016.

Continuing to upgrade the locally-owned cooperative’s power delivery infrastructure will enable BECI to meet growing energy demands and future regulatory requirements, according to General Manager Kevin Turner.

"This new Advanced Metering System platform is quickly becoming the industry standard across the country because it gives us so much more flexibility, more service options for our consumers, and it also allows us to operate more efficiently.”

Turner said the AMS project is part of the cooperative’s strategic plan for continuing its status as an industry leader in rates, service, safety and reliability.

Specifically, the new system will provide the following improvements:

· Automatic off-site meter readings

· More accurate billing

· Better power quality and reliability

· Automatic outage notifications

"With this system, we can do so much more with the resources we have available to us,” Turner said. "To cite just a couple of examples, we can save a lot of time and manpower by being able to read meters remotely and being able to connect and disconnect through electronic automation without sending an employee and a vehicle to the site.”

Turner stressed that performing the installation and equipment upgrade will require no action on the part of BECi members. Before each meter is put in place, he said, the member responsible for the account will be notified with a phone call and a door hanger will be distributed informing the member that power was turned off for a few minutes to perform the upgrade.

For more information, please contact BECi at 1-800-367-0275.



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