In the summer of 2018, FELPS rolled out an initiative to replace all meters in our service territory with two-way communication enabled meters, known as AMI (Automated Metering Infrastructure) meters. The project was originally slated to take place over the next 3 years as FELPS Personnel systematically replaced every meter on the system. However, the timeline for the remainder of the project has been accelerated, which comes at great benefit to FELPS and all 16,000+ of its customers.
What caused the project to be accelerated?
In May 2019, Texas Meter & Device (TMD) – our contractors that were taking over the responsibility of reading non-AMI meters while FELPS Personnel focused on upgrading them – also started performing meter change-outs on their non-reading days. The addition of TMD personnel to the project effectively doubles our upgrading team for a significant proportion of time moving forward, thus helping the project move faster towards completion. Around the same time that TMD joined the change-out crew, FELPS assembled a special task force whose mission was to address any and all inefficiencies in the project and meter upgrading process. The team has remedied issues ranging from field crews’ iPads overheating, to in-stock meter shortages, to inefficient change-out order creation and assignment workflows.
How many meter change-outs are still left to be completed?
Currently, FELPS and TMD crews are working meter change-outs in subdivisions throughout the service area. With the exception of some medium to large businesses, all meters in the city limits of Floresville, Stockdale, Poth, La Vernia, and Falls City have been upgraded to AMI. Thanks to the hard work of our crews, the total number of meters replaced with AMI recently passed 8,000, which pushes the project past the halfway point towards completion. At this rate, we are estimating all meters in the service area will be replaced by the first half of 2020.
What happens when FELPS changes out a meter?
A day or two before FELPS and TMD crews will be in an area to upgrade meters, residents and businesses in the area will receive an automated call from FELPS stating their meters will be changed. Crew members will give a courtesy knock to let you know who they are and that they are there to upgrade your meter. During that time, crew members are happy to answer any questions you may have related to the AMI meter or the project in general. The change-out typically takes only 10-15 minutes to complete, however you should only experience a 10-20 second service interruption. Crew members will then complete the upgrade by leaving the site exactly the way they found it and will let you know of any additional information to be aware of.
Because we rely on our automated call-out system to alert our customers that their meter will be changed, it is very important that we have a current, valid phone number to reach you at. We also need to be sure to have access to the meter, so if you have installed or have changed an electric gate code recently, we appreciate having this up-to-date information as well. Both phone numbers and gate codes can be updated on your FELPS account by calling (830) 216-7000 and using option 1 for customer service.
Why is AMI better?
FELPS aims to provide the most responsive customer service we can by streamlining how we get information about our electric system. One of the major benefits of outfitting your home or business with an AMI meter is that we are notified immediately if you or your neighbors are experiencing a power outage. With advanced analytics, we are also able to tell where the outage originated from so that we may correct the problem as quickly as possible. In addition, the ability to read your meter remotely provides us with the tools to help you make the most informed decisions regarding your power usage. Soon you will be able to access your usage data through a portal on our website, so that you may track and plan your consumption for your personal budget.