AEP Advanced Metering Infrastructure meters

An Appalachian Power employee installs a new Advanced Metering Infrastructure meter at a home. The new meters are currently being installed around the lake area.

Appalachian Power is upgrading its meters for customers throughout the region, including the lake area.

The new Advanced Metering Infrastructure meters were installed in nearly 200,000 customers’ homes in 2017 and 2018. Appalachian Power plans to install 260,000 more this year.

“By the end of the year, all of our customers will have them,” said John Shepelwich, Appalachian spokesman.

Contract workers from Quanta Utility Engineering Services have been replacing the meters with new ones, Shepelwich said. Customers may experience a power outage that lasts less than five minutes while the new meters are installed with the entire process taking about 10 minutes.

“It’s a lot like changing the filter in your air conditioner,” he said.

The meters are equipped with technology for remote meter reading that can be transmitted directly to the company, Shepelwich said. The previous meters used radio frequency that required Appalachian employees to drive near homes and businesses to view the meter’s readings.

The new meters also will help improve customer service, Shepelwich said. Power connects and disconnects can be done remotely, and the meters will allow Appalachian to detect when and where a power outage occurs.

Contract workers may knock on homeowners’ doors out of courtesy, Shepelwich said, but they do not need to access homes to complete their work. The new meters are installed at no cost, and no money should change hands.

Anyone with concerns can contact Appalachian Power’s customer service number at 800-956-4237. Contract workers also will have identification that verifies they are working for Appalachian Power.