Get ready, Tulsa: Smart metering is coming to town starting next week.
Beginning Monday, AEP-PSO will start its installation of about 290,000 advanced metering systems throughout the Tulsa metro area. The rollout will take most of the year.
Our goal is to finish by Thanksgiving, said Derek Lewellen, the electricity utilitys manager for its meter revenue program. We hope to do 30,000 meters a month.
Mondays work begins in several different neighborhoods within Tulsa. Those include areas just northwest of downtown, such as Brady Heights, south Tulsa, midtown and east of U.S. 169.
American Electric Power-Public Service Co. of Oklahomas Tulsa rollout is part of a statewide program that began switching to smart meters for homes in southeastern Oklahoma in the fall of 2014.
The installers should move through Broken Arrow sometime in the fall of 2015. Once Tulsa and some suburbs are completed, AEP-PSO will shift early next year into the northeast portion of the state, including Bartlesville, Grove and Vinita, among many others.
They will finish with southwest Oklahoma in the second and third quarters of 2016.
By the end of this weekend, well be completely wrapped with the ones in McAlester, utility spokesman Stan Whiteford said. Its a long haul through Tulsa.
Residents in Owasso, Sand Springs, Okmulgee and the University of Tulsa campus will not have to worry about the smart-meter visits. AEP-PSO already installed the systems in those areas as part of pilot programs several years ago.
The current smart-meter installations themselves take all of about 10 minutes tops, AEP-PSO officials say. Most of the 30 to 40 installers are CMI Services contractors working on residential or small commercial meters, while AEP-PSO crews handle the larger industrial customers.
Theyre more complex, so were doing those ourselves, Lewellen said. There are only about 8,000 to 10,000 of those jobs.
AEP-PSO customers will receive a letter about four weeks in advance of the installers visit. They dont have to be home but installers will knock on the door and provide official identification before entering the yard.
If the resident is not home, the installers will hang a notice on the door knob about the installation. If they cannot access the yard to change out meters they will leave a note about a return visit, Lewellen said.
Our goal is to make it very transparent to our customers, he added.
The smart-meter installation will cost about $130 million overall, which is being paid for by an approximately $3.11 monthly bill increase to customers.
Some groups, such as AARP, have opposed the smart-meter program on financial grounds, saying it does not save customers money. Others have expressed fears about the alleged health dangers of radioactive signals.
AEP-PSO has argued that it is a cost savings both for the utility and the customers. The company can communicate with the devices remotely, saving manpower and mileage on reading meters.
The utility also contends that the customers can get real-time information about energy usage via their computers or smart phones, thus cutting back during costly peak-time periods. Curtailing energy demand will eliminate the need for new power plants, AEP-PSO officials have said, thus sparing customers the brunt of that enormous expense.
They also discount the health danger, citing reports that indicate the smart meters emit a small, safe dosage of radiation.
AEP-PSO is the states second largest electricity provider with close to 530,000 customers. Oklahoma City-based OG&E, the states largest utility, completed its smart grid installation program in 2012. The utility has more than 700,000 customers statewide, including in Glenpool, Muskogee and other parts of northeastern Oklahoma.
Source: Tulsa World
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