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AMI and AMR Technology Today

February, 2020

We hear the terms AMI and AMR applied to utility automatic metering. What’s the difference? It’s in the details and the applications.

Years ago, meter readers walked from house to house physically reading meters. When early new technologies appeared to automate this, they often consisted of very short distance radios installed on meters, which sent meter reading to a hand-held device or sometimes to a van driving down the street. This eliminated the need for meter readers to gain access to homes and businesses, but that was about it. There was no outbound signaling and someone was still walking or driving around the neighborhood. Hence, AMR – Automated Meter Reading.

The term AMI (Automated Metering Infrastructure) came into play when utilities began installing complete communication networks to eliminate the need for walking/driving around to collect readings. AMI networks also include the ability to send outbound signals to meters, thermostats, load control devices and even some pole top automation devices on the grid. AMI networks then, ushered in a new era of utility two-way interaction with customer homes and businesses.

The advantages of AMI technology are many, for both utilities and consumers. Utilities can gather real-time consumption and use data and issue control messages to help curtail costs during peak times. Utility providers using AMI no longer need to send people into the field to collect meter data, which creates a win-win through greater transparency in cost-to-read metering, without estimates; and improved billing. AMR/AMI can be wired or wireless, relying on phonelines, radio frequency, powerline transmission.

The MyMeter® portal allows the utility to place power in the hands of consumers, to see their meter data, make decisions about rates to save money, sign up for load management programs, start and stop service and much more. MyMeter® is the friendly interface consumers can use to get the most out of whatever AMR/AMI platform their utility chooses.