The Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities (DPU) will seek approval in August from the Board of Public Utilities (BPU) to award a contract for the purchase and installation of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) for all of Los Alamos County.
AMI is a method of using communication technology to read meters remotely without having to physically access the meters on customers’ properties. DPU will take the contract to the BPU at 5:30 p.m., Aug. 15 in Council Chambers, 1000 Central Ave. The contract will subsequently go to the Los Alamos County Council for approval.
Upon approval, crews will switch out approximately 8,000 existing electric meters for electric smart meters and attach communication modules to 14,000 existing gas and water meters. DPU’s contractor will commence in Pajarito Acres possibly as soon as spring 2019. From there, work will progress to La Senda and then the remaining neighborhoods in White Rock, before moving to the townsite. The project could take up to 18 months to be fully installed.
Once the AMI is fully deployed and integrated into the billing system, near real-time information on consumption of electricity, gas, and water will be made available to both DPU and its customers through the AMI network.
According to DPU officials, benefits to the customers and the department are many. Customers will be able to proactively monitor their usage online or on mobile devices, allowing them to better manage consumption and take control of utility bills. DPU will no longer need to send a meter technician to customers’ properties every 30 days to read DPU’s meters. Bills will be issued more consistently, and their accuracy will be improved. The AMI system also will alert DPU and customers of unusual usage patterns, such as water leaks, in advance of bills.
Another advantage, subject to BPU and County Council adoption, is that DPU could make a variety of pricing options possible through the AMI network, such as Time-of-Use rates. If implemented, this would allow customers to have even more control over their monthly utility bills, by choosing to use electricity when rates are lower.
Frequently Asked Questions and additional information is available on the DPU website at www.rebrand.ly/DPU-AMI.