Fairmont Public Utilities to install new AMI meters

Why is this happening?
The meters are part of a new AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) network that will improve the efficiency and accuracy of the city meter reading process.  This system replaces a now obsolete meter reading process that the City had used for the past 15 years.  In addition, many of the existing water meters are in need of replacement as they have exceeded their life expectancy.

What is happening?
The city utility is working with vendors to install new electric and water meters for all utility customers in the City of Fairmont service areas.

When is this happening?
Electric meters will begin being replaced in October of 2022 and water meter replacement will begin in early 2023.  The total replacement project may take up to 18 months to complete.

What new equipment is being installed?
The new system utilizes a communication network that can gather readings from the nearly 11,000 meters that the city operates.  The network is made up of 6 communication hubs located around the city to transmit data to/from the meters.  These communication hubs will communicate with the meters and equipment installed in each home and business.  Each home and business will receive new electric and water meters to replace their existing equipment.

Why do they need access to my home or business?
All customers water meters are located inside their home or business and some have electric meters indoors as well.  Installers will need to access these locations to replace the meters.  Depending on the extent of the work required this process could vary from 15 minutes up to 3 hours.  The installer should be able to give you a good estimate of time once they have visually inspected your existing meter.  All installers entering these locations will have identification information from Allegiant, Keystone, or the City of Fairmont.  Do not let someone into your home that does not have proper identification.

How is this being paid for?
The water and electric utility has been planning for this infrastructure improvement and have been able to fund the majority of the project with capital reserves.  The water utility completed a rate study a couple of years ago to ensure that our rate structure was properly positioned to meet the upcoming capital improvements.  This AMI project was included in the rate study and the rate adjustments we have seen the last two years were in anticipation of this project and other capital projects.  We continue to monitor rates and needed capital projects to ensure that we have the proper rate structure to support the utility into the future.

What do I do if I leave the area for the winter?
Customers should notify City Hall if they are planning to be out of town for extended (> 1 month) periods this winter.  City staff will coordinate these locations with the installer and many of these replacements will likely not occur until Spring/Summer of 2023.

What does this system mean for the future of the utility?
This system will allow for improved monitoring of the City’s electric and water distribution network.  Electric outages can be located more quickly and water loss, due to leaks, can be reduced based on the real-time feedback of this system.  In addition, future software upgrades could allow individual utility customers to more closely monitor their usage and assist them in identifying cost saving opportunities.

Links of Interest
AMI Electric Meter Postcard
Water Meter Replacement Notification