SHREVEPORT, La., Oct. 19, 2021 – Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO), an American Electric Power (Nasdaq: AEP) company, will begin the installation of approximately 10,000 advanced digital electric meters for customers in parts of Texarkana, Texas, and nearby communities on Nov. 1, 2021.
The installation dates for individual homes and businesses will vary and will take place over the next four to eight weeks. Customers will experience a brief power outage -- approximately five minutes -- at the time of installation. Customers are asked to provide clear access to their meters but do not have to be present for the installation. Personnel from contractor QUES or SWEPCO will install the meters. Installers will leave a door hanger if any condition prevents the meter change-out.
Installation will take place in the Texarkana, Texas, area (within zip codes 75501 and 75503), as well as Hooks, Nash, New Boston, Red Lick, Red River Army Depot and Wake Village.
“We chose this area for our initial installation of advanced meters in Texas because it includes a good cross-section of customers, such as residential and commercial, and it works well with the communications network we are installing,” said Henry Brown, SWEPCO director of Grid Modernization. “Over the past few weeks, we have installed the access points, relays and other equipment in the wireless network, and the next step is installing the meters themselves.”
SWEPCO is mailing postcards to customers to notify them about the installation. SWEPCO is also emailing and calling customers who have email addresses and phone numbers on file in their SWEPCO accounts.
The Advanced Metering System (AMS) uses advanced metering and secure wireless technology to provide timely and accurate meter reading data. Customers can use this data to better understand and manage their electricity usage. Instead of monthly data, customers will see their usage in 15-minute intervals, which can provide customers with opportunities to save money through proposed time-of-use tariffs and energy conservation. In addition, customers will benefit through improved customer service and real-time outage notification to SWEPCO for more seamless power restoration during outage events.
SWEPCO filed a request with the Public Utility Commission of Texas (PUCT) on Aug. 4 for its AMS deployment plan. The plan includes the pilot installation of 10,000 meters in the Texarkana area in the fourth quarter of 2021 and the proposed deployment to the rest of SWEPCO’s Texas service territory in 2022-2023. In total, SWEPCO plans to deploy 195,000 meters to its Texas customers.
SWEPCO’s application to the PUCT includes a new proposed rate schedule for an AMS surcharge. Pending PUCT approval, the surcharge would be $2.92 per month for residential customers for the first four years and $2.42 for the next four years. It would begin in April 2022. The surcharge for other rate classes varies and expires after four years.
There is no fee for installation of the AMS meter.
The plan also includes a provision for customers to “opt-out” and elect a non-standard meter, with a proposed one-time fee ranging from $131.68 to $233.39 and a proposed recurring monthly customer fee of $22.97. Under PUCT rules, the fees are established to cover all costs of non-standard metering services and to recover those costs from the customers who elect non-standard metering.
The advanced meters, also known as smart meters, are part of SWEPCO’s grid modernization initiatives. SWEPCO’s plan is consistent with Texas legislation that encourages AMS deployment as rapidly as practical to allow customers to better manage their energy use and control costs. AMS will replace SWEPCO’s current Automated Metering Reading system, which requires driving by customers’ premises for monthly meter reading, and physical visits to the locations for connection, disconnection or other meter services.
For more information, see the FAQ at SWEPCO.com/AMS-Texas.
About Southwestern Electric Power Co. (SWEPCO)
SWEPCO, an American Electric Power (Nasdaq: AEP) company, serves more than 543,000 customers in northwest and central Louisiana, northeast Texas and the Texas Panhandle, and western Arkansas. SWEPCO’s headquarters are in Shreveport, La. News releases and other information about SWEPCO can be found at SWEPCO.com. Connect with us at Facebook.com/SWEPCO, Twitter.com/SWEPCOnews, Instagram.com/swepco, Youtube.com/SWEPCOtv and LinkedIn.com/company/swepco.
About American Electric Power (AEP)
American Electric Power, based in Columbus, Ohio, is powering a cleaner, brighter energy future for its customers and communities. AEP’s approximately 16,800 employees operate and maintain the nation’s largest electricity transmission system and more than 223,000 miles of distribution lines to safely deliver reliable and affordable power to 5.5 million regulated customers in 11 states. AEP also is one of the nation’s largest electricity producers with approximately 30,000 megawatts of diverse generating capacity, including more than 5,600 megawatts of renewable energy. The company’s plans include growing its renewable generation portfolio to approximately 50% of total capacity by 2030. AEP is on track to reach an 80% reduction in carbon dioxide emissions from 2000 levels by 2030 and has committed to achieving net zero by 2050. AEP is recognized consistently for its focus on sustainability, community engagement, and diversity, equity and inclusion. AEP’s family of companies includes utilities AEP Ohio, AEP Texas, Appalachian Power (in Virginia and West Virginia), AEP Appalachian Power (in Tennessee), Indiana Michigan Power, Kentucky Power, Public Service Company of Oklahoma, and Southwestern Electric Power Company (in Arkansas, Louisiana, east Texas and the Texas Panhandle). AEP also owns AEP Energy, which provides innovative competitive energy solutions nationwide. For more information, visit aep.com.