Dakota Electric is in the process of updating our older meters to advanced digital meters to better serve our members. We sat down with Dakota Electric’s project owner, Craig Turner, to discuss the most frequently asked questions surrounding the project.
What is the timeline for the upgrade? New meters and load control receivers (LCRs) are currently being installed. We expect the completion date for new meters to be the end of 2021 and new LCRs to be the end of 2022. Our members will be notified by postcard prior to the upgrade, but members are encouraged to follow us on social media for timely information.
Are there benefits to the upgrade?
Yes, many! New metering technology can communicate meter readings and outage information directly to our office. This will help us prevent outages by identifying failing equipment or overloaded situations before they turn into extended power outages. When an outage does occur, the new system will collect information from individual meters and automatically report the outage so power can be restored. New equipment will also support the increased integration of renewable energy on our distribution system.
Will the member experience a power interruption during the upgrade?
Members’ power may be briefly interrupted and electronic devices may need to be reset. That said, the outage should only last a few minutes.
Does the member need to be home during the upgrade?
No, all work will be completed outside. However, we will knock on members’ doors before we attempt to install the equipment. We respectfully ask our members make sure their meter is accessible to our technicians.
How will members know when their equipment will be upgraded?
Our members will receive a postcard in the mail notifying them of the upgrade. The postcard will list commonly asked questions and provide the member with contact information should they have any questions.
How will the installation process work? What steps will Dakota Electric take to ensure the public’s health and safety? To ensure public safety, each meter technician must take their temperature prior to their shift. They will carry identification and drive vehicles with Anixter’s logo — our contractor for the project — and Dakota Electric’s logo. Additionally, each technician will wear a work vest with Dakota Electric’s logo displayed on the back. Once they arrive at a member’s home, they will knock and present themselves. Technicians will follow social distancing guidelines and wear a mask while making contact with the member.
The meter technician will replace the equipment on the exterior of the home. Before-and-after photos will be taken to ensure accuracy of the installation. The entire process will take around 10-to-15 minutes for every meter and 15-to-30 minutes for every load control receiver.
After they’re finished upgrading the equipment, they will leave a door hanger indicating a successful installation.