Upgrading our meter technology

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)

Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) is coming to our service area! As our service area grows and the demand for electricity increases, we are upgrading our meter technology to serve you better. The AMI implementation program will be phased in by region in Alberta, starting with Fort Chipewyan, Grande Prairie, Fort McMurray and Lloydminster. 

What is AMI?

AMI meters are digital electricity meters that measure how much electricity is used and when it is used. Using two-way communication, these meters digitally record and report your consumption in real-time back to ATCO. AMI meters eliminate the use of physical meter reads, resulting in lower operating costs for customers. AMI meters have been implemented all over North America including in Canada from the prairies to the territories.

How do they work?

Our meters use a radio frequency (RF) to receive and transmit information, but the RF emissions from our meters are minimal and aligned with Health Canada Standards. According to several studies, there are no health risks from our meters, due to low power signals, proximity to you and your family, and there are only short bursts of activity rather than continuous.  

What are the benefits?

  • AMI meters can detect outages faster, allowing us to restore power more efficiently. This means less time in the dark, should your power go off.  

  • AMI meters produce timelier reads, which ensures usage calculations on electricity bills are more accurate than manual readings. 

  • We can meet your needs as a customer, as home and business technologies continue to evolve with applications such as solar panels.  

Questions? We've answered some of the most frequently asked questions below. If your question isn't answered there, one of our customer service agents would be glad to help. Give us a call at 1-800-668-2248.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How does the AMI system work?

    AMI meters use a radio signal to receive and transmit information. They are part of a larger network where each meter sends signals to ATCO’s meter data collection system, so we can get an accurate reading of your usage. RF meters only transmit for milliseconds and at levels that are half of a smartphone! 

  • Does the radio frequency (RF) technology used in AMI pose any health hazards?

    According to Health Canada, the device poses no health risks. Remember cordless phones? The AMI device uses the exact same frequency! In fact, they have lower emissions than many common household devices (ex. microwave ovens, cordless phones and internet routers). The device is authorized for use in Canada by Industry Canada.

  • Will the AMI system interfere with other devices that operate on radio frequencies, such as my cordless phone or my garage door opener?

    No. The network was designed to operate on many different frequencies to avoid interference with other devices. The network changes frequencies regularly to avoid interference with other devices that operate in the same frequency space.

  • Do advanced meters malfunction if they are located near a cell phone tower or transmission line?

    The network does not operate in the same frequency space as cell phone towers and transmission lines, so they’re not affected by those technologies. The software systems installed with your meter provide additional checks to ensure the readings and communications are operating correctly.

  • Does the AMI transmit my private information?

    The only data transmitted over the network is the unique identification number of the metering device and how much electricity has been used. No customer data (name, address, phone number, etc.) is monitored, so your privacy is always protected. Additionally, the data from each meter is encrypted before being transmitted.

  • Why is ATCO installing AMI meters?

    AMI meters are being installed in Alberta communities as previous meters reach their end of the certified product lifecycle and become obsolete. AMI meters are the next generation of electricity meters and just like upgrading your cell phone, we're upgrading meters for our customers. 

  • When will my home or business receive an AMI meter?

    We're currently installing AMI meters by community, to learn when your community is scheduled to begin installing AMI meters, give us a call at 1-800-668-2248. 

  • How does the changeover to the AMI meter work? What can I expect?

    The meter changeover is very quick and safe; an ATCO field representative will present themselves at your door, explain the simple process and may need to access your yard or side yard to complete the changeover. The field representative will safely disconnect power for approximately five minutes to remove the old meter, install and connect the new meter. Power will be safely re-established and the field representative will remove all equipment and materials, including the old meter. All staff will wear appropriate safety and personal protective equipment as well as ATCO clothing and identification.