AMR Frequently Asked Questions 

As part of our efforts to improve and enhance service for our customers, we have upgraded the way we read natural gas and electric meters through the installation of an Automated Meter Reading (AMR) System.

1. Why are you upgrading my meter?
AMR meters 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 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:

Source

Distance

Exposure Level (in microwatts per square centimeter)

Microwave oven

Two inches from door

 5

Cell phone

At ear

 1-5

 Radio/TV broadcast

 

 0.000005-0.001

 Wireless network signal

 Three feet from router

 0.0002-0.001

AMR meter

10 feet

 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 NIPSCO technicians who 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 do 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 before my AMR is installed?
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.

15. How does this upgrade impact local jobs?
No NIPSCO job loss occurred as a result of this upgrade.