AMR Frequently Asked Questions
As part of our efforts to improve and enhance service for our customers, NIPSCO is upgrading the way it reads natural gas and electric meters through the installation of an Automated Meter Reading (AMR) System. The new AMR system will be installed on all meters across NIPSCO’s service territory.
1. Why is NIPSCO upgrading my meter?
AMR meters will allow us to more safely and efficiently gather meter readings and help eliminate the need to estimate readings. By allowing meter readers to gather readings from a nearby NIPSCO vehicle, AMR allows our meter readers to avoid many common obstacles, such as severe weather, locked gates, tripping hazards and animal interference.
2. Is this the same thing as a "smart meter"?
No. AMR meters transmit data using one-way communication. This technology is different from two-way meters, which are sometimes referred to as "smart meters." Smart meters receive and transmit information between the meter and the utility on a continual basis, whereas AMR meters will allow us to gather your normal monthly reading from a nearby NIPSCO vehicle.
3. What kind of information is being transmitted by the meter? Is it secure?
No personal account information is transmitted by the meter. Your normal monthly meter reading is gathered through a receiver mounted in a NIPSCO vehicle. The usage information is used to compute your monthly bill.
4. Are other utilities using AMR meters?
Yes. Many water, gas and electric utilities are using AMR technology for meter reading.
5. Do the new meters pose any safety concerns related to radio frequency exposure?
No. AMR meters produce radio frequency (RF) exposures that are far lower than the guidelines
established by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and have not been shown to pose any risk to human health.
Comparison of RF Levels from Various Sources:
Exposure Level (in microwatts per square centimeter)
Two inches from door
| 5 |
| 1-5 |
| 0.000005-0.001 |
Wireless network signal
Three feet from router
| 0.0002-0.001 |
| 0.000009 |
Source: Electric Power Research Institute (EPRI), Radio Frequency Exposure Levels from Smart Meters (November 2010)
6. Will I be charged for this upgrade?
There is no separate charge to you for this upgrade.
7. Who will install my new meter?
Installations will be completed by Tru-Check, a NIPSCO subcontractor. The technicians will carry photo identification, wear uniforms and drive marked vehicles.
As always, if you are unsure of the identity of anyone claiming to be a NIPSCO employee or contractor, please call our 24-Hour Customer Care Center at 1-800-464-7726.
8. How long will the installation take?
The installation process takes 20 minutes or less.
9. Will there be any changes or interruptions to my service?
NIPSCO Electric Customers may notice a brief service interruption during the installation. Service for NIPSCO Gas Customers will not be disrupted.
10. What will the new meters look like?
The gas meter will look the same. Only an interior meter component will change.
Electric meters will be replaced with a new device that displays real-time readings in kilowatt-hours in an easy-to-read digital form rather than a series of dials. By subtracting your previous meter reading from the current reading, you can track your home’s usage.
11. Is there anything I need to do?
To make it safer for the technicians, we ask that you please keep pets indoors during the exchange. A technician will not enter a yard with an unrestrained pet. If you are not able to keep your pet indoors, please call 1-800-4NIPSCO (1-800-464-7726) to schedule an appointment to have your meter upgraded.
Please also make sure that the path to the meter and area around the meter is clear.
12. What if my meter is located inside my property?
Similar to the normal meter reading process, a technician will knock on your door and ask to access your meter. If you are not home, the technician will leave a door hanger with information on how to schedule an installation appointment.
13. Does this mean that meter readers will not be coming on my property anymore?
There may be occasions when a NIPSCO technician will need access to the meter for maintenance, but access to the meter for routine readings will no longer be necessary.
14. When will you be upgrading my meter?
Installations will begin late February 2013 in South Haven, Ind. The schedule for the remainder of the rollout has yet to be determined. You will receive a letter in advance of your meter change.
15. How will this upgrade impact local jobs?
No NIPSCO job loss will occur as a result of this upgrade. Approximately 60 technicians will be hired by to complete the installations. NIPSCO has elected to partner with the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) – Local 697 to supply the workforce.