Alabama Power to change out its meters

Published 9:40 pm Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Alabama Power has begun the process of replacing current power meters in homes and businesses with new Smart Meters.

The Smart Meter is an automated, digitized metering and meter communication system that will allow Alabama Power to read its power meters without sending representatives to physically visit properties.

“This is a way to minimize costs,” said Diane Brooker, the Demopolis business office manager for Alabama Power. “We can provide more information to customers with the new meters.”

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The meter replacement process just recently began in the area.

“Customers should get an automated phone call letting them know that meter changers will be coming by in the next couple of days,” said Brooker. “We will be calling the phone number that is listed on the account with us. There may be a message on the answering machine.”

There is no charge for receiving the Smart Meter, and all Alabama Power customers are scheduled to receive the upgrade. Customers do not have to be home to get a meter replacement .

Alabama Power is contracting with Specialized Technical Services Inc. (also known as TEAMsTs), who will be sending out two-man teams to change all the meters in the Demopolis and Linden area.

Once the team arrives at a residence, they will knock on the door to let the customer know they will be changing the meter. If no one answers, they will go ahead and change the meter.

“Customers should be without power for less than two minutes,” Brooker said. “The clocks should be flashing afterward. That way people will know their meter has been changed.”

Alabama Power will replace approximately 7,500 meters in the Demopolis and Linden area over the next six to eight weeks. The replacement process has already been completed in Birmingham and Tuscaloosa.

“I just want to make sure when we call customers and the crews come by, they know it is legitimate,” Brooker emphasized. “Several customers have been concerned and wary of their safety, but we just want to let them know this is going on, and will be for the next six to eight weeks.”

While the new Smart Meter will automatically notify Alabama Power of power outages, Brooker stated that customers should still call and personally let the company know of any outages. The Smart Meter will also allow customers to access their energy consumption information online. Those seeking more information about the benefits Alabama Power’s Smart Meter program and the ongoing meter replacement process should call toll-free 1-800-245-2244.