Frequently Asked Questions
With professional consultant support, the Department of Public Utilities studied the options available to replace aged and obsolete water/sewer and power meter equipment. As a result, replacement of the city’s aged meter equipment will begin in January 2023 with advanced metering infrastructure. Columbus’ Enhanced Meter Project (EMP) will take about three years to change out Columbus and contracting suburban community customers’ meters.
Many utilities across the U.S. have been upgrading their metering systems the past several years and are finding numerous operational and cost savings benefits, along with many customer benefits. Frequently asked questions:
Why is this project being done?
The Department of Public Utilities has approximately 300,000 water meters and 17,000 electric meters, serving more than 1.2 million people.
These meters are aging and parts are becoming obsolete. The decision to upgrade to more modern advanced metering infrastructure was made,
as many cities have done. The department is partnering with Sensus and Utility Metering Solutions (UMS)
to replace or retrofit all water and power meters over the next few years, known as the Enhanced Meter Project (EMP).
How will customers benefit?
By upgrading to what is known as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), the project will enhance customer service, resulting in improved efficiency and meter accuracy.
Benefits will include alert notifications customers can set up on a future portal, like for high consumption. These features will provide customers a better understanding of
consumption patterns and inefficiencies, allowing the ability to adjust habits to reduce utility bills. Earlier leak detection will be possible for water customers and
immediate outage notification to the city for power customers will help provide outage restoration more quickly in the future.
Will the meter upgrades provide the ability for monthly water/sewer billing in the future, instead of quarterly?
Eventually, this is another benefit. The upgraded system will allow monthly billing to be more easily implemented at a future date.
Will there be a cost to customers?
There will be no additional cost to Columbus utility customers. The cost of meter replacement was planned and is built into the water, sewer and power rates.
How will the meter replacement process work?
Water meters: Meters will be changed out over a few years, expected to begin in 2021, area by area, and customers will be
notified when it is time to schedule an installation appointment.
Contractors will carry city-issued identification. Appointment notifications will be distributed to consumers for installation.
Power meters: Meters will be changed out over a few years, expected to begin in 2021, area by area, and customers will be
notified of the short outage period when the meter will be replaced.
Contractors will carry city-issued identification. Door hangers will be left to notify customers when the power meter installation is complete.
Do I need to schedule an appointment to replace my city electric meter?
No, appointments are needed only for water meter replacement. Electric meters are located outside of your home so no appointment is necessary.
If you are an AEP customer, no electric meter replacement by the city will be done; this project will affect only city electric customers.
Is there anything else I need to do?
For the safety of the personnel exchanging the meters, please keep pets indoors and away from the installers during the time frame your meter is scheduled to be replaced.
Please ensure the path to the meter and area around the meter is clear. There may be a short interruption in electric service when the meters are exchanged so we recommend
that you unplug sensitive electronic equipment or use a surge protector to prevent the possibility of damage to your equipment or appliances.
What should I do if I encounter an issue after installation?
If you happen to have a water leak following a new water meter installation or loss of power following an electric meter replacement,
or any other concern, please call the EMP 24-hour emergency number at 844-903-1207.
Can customers opt out of having their meter replaced?
An opt-out option was not possible, mainly because existing meter equipment is becoming obsolete, in favor of advanced meters.
Will information be collected on household water and power usage?
Yes but only consumption-related data for billing and operational purposes. The goal is to replace metering equipment for reliability and accuracy of reading,
operational efficiency, and also provide customer service enhancement features. No personally identifiable or account information is transmitted by the meter.
How can I be sure that the meter readings will be accurate?
Accurate reading is one of the benefits of AMI technology because it eliminates the possibility of human error when collecting meter readings. Some ways you can
be sure that your billing statement is accurate is to read your billing statement carefully to see if your usage for that month is typical for your home or business and check it against your meter.
Are the frequencies emitted by these devices harmful?
No, the microwatts are a fraction of the amount emitted by a cell phone, laptop or WiFi, which most households have.
Does this upgrade mean that meter readers will not be coming on my property anymore?
There may be occasions when a technician will need access to the meter for maintenance, but access to the meter for routine readings will no longer be necessary.