Frequently Asked Questions About Power Line Carrier Meters
What is a TWACS meter?
TWACS is an acronym for Two Way Automated Communications Systems. The meters that were previously used at Three Rivers were Turtle meters which provided communications to the co-op.
How does my new automated meter work?
With these new meters, TREC will be able to serve our members better. Our goal in installing the meters is to deliver better service, control rising operating expenses, improve system reliability through improved outage management and preventive maintenance, and provide our members with information they can use to make informed decisions about energy use.
How will these new meters be beneficial to me?
There are several benefits to using the new meters, including:
- Pinpointing the exact location of outages more quickly meaning a faster response time.
- Helping our consumer-member troubleshoot high bill problems by providing information about power consumption patterns, outage and blink count history and voltage information.
- Improving electric service reliability and power quality – fewer outages, blinks and surges.
What information does the new meter record?
The new meter records an electronic kWh reading, the date and time of energy usage, the overall peak demand of the electric account, if the meter has rotated backward, and the number of times the meter has experienced a loss of power for any reason. In fact, the meter will record the date of light blinks and the length of a power outage.
How will the co-op read the meters?
The cooperative’s computer will communicate with the substation-installed equipment which sends a request for one or more meter readings. The meter reading is sent back to the co-op via a secure network on the power line.
Can the cooperative disconnect electric service using the new meters?
Yes, some meters can have remote disconnect capabilities.
Will the new meter notify the co-op when the power goes out?
The co-op can test meters for outages, allowing us to verify whether the outage is either on the co-op's side of the meter or the member's side.
How is the meter data delivered to the co-op?
The data from the new meters will be sent back to the co-op office over power lines. Using the power lines for data transmission means that the meters will not emit any radio frequency (RF), but instead emits very low electromagnetic field (EMF) exposure.
Is the meter’s transponder on and transmitting all the time?
No, the transponder is typically on four times a day, and for less than eight seconds per transmission. Even when transmitting, the amount of EMF produced is a fraction of the exposure of many common electrical devices.
Will meters interfere with medical equipment such as pacemakers?
No. The transmission power levels are too low to affect medical devices. Medical devices, such as pacemakers, are tested to prove they can operate in the presence of moderate EM fields. Many years ago, such testing was not required and there were anecdotal reported incidents of radio frequency interference with some medical equipment such as pacemakers caused by high power sources like microwave ovens.
TWACS based systems currently operate in metropolitan, suburban and rural areas. These systems serve all building types including homes, hospitals, critical care facilities, universities, military bases and communications centers that deliver phone and data services. The devices comply with all relevant standards on interference and emit far lower emissions than many common household, commercial, and industrial devices.