AEP customers receiving new, 'smart' meters
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The traditional way that electric meters are checked will soon be a thing of the past for AEP customers.
AEP will be replacing meters at customers' homes throughout the state of Ohio with a new, 'smart' model.
"Smart meters have the ability to be read remotely, so we know longer have to have someone come out to your house to read your meter," said AEP External Affairs Manager Paul Prater.
Prater introduced the smart meter to Martins Ferry council Wednesday night.
While the city has no say in the upgrade, officials will be working closely with AEP to ensure a smooth transition.
"Our police department will be notified,” said Mayor Robert Krajnyak. “The company that is going to come in with register with our police department, so that we know who is in town and who is going to be changing these meters out. So that we don't have fraudulent people coming into people's homes."
Customers will be notified by mail when they will receive the upgrade.
AEP workers will need to come out to customers’ houses for the installation, but it won't require anyone to enter a home.
All AEP employees on site will wear company clothing with the AEP logo visible, to avoid any confusion.
The new meter does come with an added cost: $1.50 will be added to monthly electric bills.
Prater says this meter is the future, and will provide advanced help for customers.
"If you're out of service, it will notify us that you're out,” said Prater. “Or if there's something wrong with the meter, it will notify us that there is an issue."
It's a statewide upgrade for AEP, which includes about 3,400 meters in the Martins Ferry area, and about 900,000 altogether in Ohio.
Before visiting Martins Ferry, Prater introduced the new meters to officials in East Liverpool, Toronto and Steubenville, and plans to make more stops in the valley before the changes are implemented.
"I think it's something that is going to be worthwhile," Krajnyak said.
According to AEP, the new meters could be in use by the end of January.