PIE&G is committed to providing our members with electricity that is both reliable and affordable. To continue doing that, we must make improvements to bring our aging power grid into the 21st century. Utilities across the nation are facing a similar challenge, and we want to keep our members updated on what these next upgrades will entail.

One of our technology improvements is Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI), which involves installing upgraded meters at homes and businesses that are wirelessly connected to PIE&G.

Why do we need that? Because it allows us to serve you better and in a more cost-efficient way.

How so? For one, faster outage response and restoration. Local forests have suffered diseases and invasive species in recent years, making them more prone to damage, especially during northern Michigan’s high winds and storms. As a result, more dead, diseased or dying trees are coming down onto power lines, causing widespread outages to occur more often. 

AMI allows us to identify homes and businesses that lose power immediately. This is especially valuable when nobody is home, or when the service is in a second home, cottage or hunting camp. We can use the AMI information to improve outage management and response, to give our members the most up-to-date information regarding estimated restoral times and to reduce expenses by optimizing resources during restorations. 

In short, AMI means we can diagnose and pinpoint the locations of outages on the grid and plan for more efficient restoration efforts, which in turn allows us to better serve you with more reliable, less expensive power. 

Yes, less expensive. We are continually searching for ways to minimize our costs, and AMI provides opportunities to do that. In addition to faster outage response, AMI can obtain readings without having to “roll a truck,” (that is, dispatch an employee in Onaway to drive to locations across PIE&G’s nine-county service area to obtain in-person, on-site meter readings).

AMI also provides a daily summary of your power consumption, which means we can quickly answer questions and help you to resolve concerns or questions you may have. This information can be particularly helpful for those with seasonal accounts and will allow us to provide you with immediate feedback and a quick summary of consumption patterns.

We’ll be updating you with future articles about our efforts to better serve you in the 21st century. Our goal is to empower you—with both energy and information. We thank you for the opportunity and privilege to serve you.