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MED hopes to provide group of customers with low profile meters during December

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MASSENA — The Massena Electric Department has decided to purchase and install upwards of 25 low-profile meters this winter in efforts to better track how much energy is used by certain customers during the colder months.

Treasurer Jeffrey M. Dobbins said that each low-profile meter will cost about $220 more than the current ones. However, there are important differences between the low-profile meters and the typical instruments.

“A typical meter just is tracking your cumulative kilowatt hours or demand through the course of a month. A low-profile meter allows you to gather information on a shorter time frame, either hourly, 15 minutes, whatever you want to get a better understanding of when consumption is actually occurring,” Mr. Dobbins said. “We do have some already out in our service territory, but they’re only on some of our larger, industrial customers who want to utilize that data to help them analyze their load. Right now, though, we don’t have any residential customers that have it, and that’s what we’re looking at.”

MED Superintendent Andrew J. McMahon said the meters, which are being purchased from Itron Inc., will be in limited use at first.

“It will only be 20 to 30 customers so we can get a representative sample of residential usage patterns,” Mr. McMahon said. “It doesn’t change the bills of those customers. It’s just to help us understand better some typical usage patterns.”

He said different types of customers, whether residential, business or industrial, likely will see different numbers.

“What we want to understand is, from some individual customers, how closely does their individual load mirror our system load,” Mr. McMahon said.

The meters will present power-use profiles for different classes of users.

“So this low-profile meter, every hour it’s going to tell us how much have we consumed in that hour. We’re going to know either through the 24 hours, or maybe on half-hour increments, how much have they consumed each half hour,” Mr. McMahon said. “They’re not going to see any difference in their bill; we’re just going to understand better how people and when people are using their power.”

Mr. McMahon said he expects the low-profile meters to arrive shortly after Thanksgiving and is optimistic for installation at the beginning of December.

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