About 90 percent of the district has received the new meters, called smart meters, which the district began installing in 2008 after a successful pilot program in 2007.
However, only about 20 percent of Patterson customers have had their meters upgraded so far, according to Herb Smart, TID spokesman.
The district began switching out meters that needed immediate replacement in 2009 and systematically began replacing all the meters in the Patterson area in 2011, he said.
Smart meters are automated and electronically send data about power use to TID’s system. Once they are installed, TID staff members can access meter information remotely and no longer have to travel to homes to read them.
That lowers the district’s operating costs, according to the website of the power and water company.
Some meters can be connected and disconnected remotely, rather than requiring employees to perform the work at the site, Smart said.
“Outside of that function, the meters cannot control energy usage,” he said.
The meters have been tested and found to operate properly in temperatures from 31 degrees below zero to 185 degrees Fahrenheit. Secure data is transmitted wirelessly through a network of towers in the district, much like cellphone towers.
TID can detect when someone tampers with a meter, and outages can be directly pinpointed and fixed, according to letters sent to Patterson residents alerting them of the change.
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