Southern Company completed the installation of nearly 4.4 million smart meters in 2012, 100 percent of its initial deployment of 4.6 million smart meters throughout its service territory.
Smart meters, or advanced metering infrastructure, will serve as the last link of a communications connection with our customers. Once the program is completely deployed, we'll be able to offer more innovative rate options that meet the lifestyles of our customers. Customers will be able to better manage their energy use and control their energy bill.
In the future, this link will enable us to provide our customers with online access to detailed usage and pricing information.
What is Advanced Metering Infrastructure?
Advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) is the remote collection of customer energy usage. It involves the following components:
- Meters capable of sending the current meter reading to a data collector or concentrator, often located in the neighborhood or nearby.
- A wide-area-communication network to transfer (or "backhaul") the data to the utility's offices from the data collector.
- A control system to receive, collect and manage this data.
- Software to condition and present the data to the utility's billing and other information systems.
Why is Southern Company Installing AMI?
- Cost savings associated with monthly meter readings.
- Access to detailed customer energy usage information, for both the utility and customers.
- Ability to design and offer more sophisticated rate options as well as meter-based products and services.
- Ability for customers to manage their energy usage and/or choose a service that provides a benefit.
- Better system management as a result of enhanced outage notification and restoration information, as well as other operational data including voltage at metering points on the distribution line.
Current Benefits of AMI
- Online customer access to energy usage information gives customers the ability to better understand and monitor their own energy use.
- Ability to read our meters and generate bills without visiting the property.
- Ability to check meters remotely to ensure they're working properly.
- Enhanced ability to respond promptly to meter service requests.
- Increased environmental benefits and fuel cost savings as a result of reduced number of vehicles on the road - more than 25 million vehicle miles avoided since the beginning of the project.
- Power outage notification helps us better manage restorations.
- How restoration efforts were aided by AMI after April 27, 2011, tornadoes in the Southeast.
- Ability to confirm power restored to high priority customers.
- Hospitals, schools, customers on life support at home.
- Electronic confirmation of destroyed feeders.
- Graphic view of storm areas, which allowed us to determine the best staging areas.
- Power restored in six days to customers able to receive power.
- Ability to offer more innovative rate options that better match our customers' lifestyles.
- Reduced electricity theft.