Insights > Letter to Agricultural Customers Regarding Advanced Metering
Letter to Agricultural Customers Regarding Advanced Metering
The following letter is being sent to our agricultural customers with electric irrigation pumps, each of which has its own meter. It includes information unique to these meters.
Hopefully you have heard that Entergy Arkansas is upgrading its electric meters to an advanced metering system. This includes the meter on your agricultural well pumps.
Among the benefits of this metering system is the ability to read meters remotely. Because well pumps can be difficult to access, usage is sometimes estimated. We would always prefer to acquire a reading and bill for the actual amount consumed. With advanced meters, estimated readings should become a thing of the past.
Installation of advanced meters on the approximately 13,500 irrigation wells we serve began this month and will continue through 2021. Those that are currently active will be upgraded over the next several months. Those that are currently inactive will be upgraded when customer requests that the service be energized for the growing season.
Here are a couple of things you need to know about the advanced-meter upgrade on your irrigation well pump:
Leave Utility Switch ON
Our electrical standards require the installation of a disconnect switch on Entergy Arkansas’s side of the meter. We refer to this as the Utility Disconnect Switch because it should be operated only by the utility. Up to now, farmers would sometimes move this switch to the OFF position when they didn’t need the power. It is VERY IMPORTANT going forward that this switch be left in the ON position. Turning it off causes the advanced meter technology to automatically report an outage, resulting in a service call. Please do not touch the Utility Disconnect Switch. You should have a separate disconnect switch on your side of the meter, which you’re free turn off any time.
For accounts coded as APA or APA2, in the past, post-season energy usage was accumulated and billed at the beginning of the customer’s pumping season. After your advanced meter is installed, you will begin receiving monthly bills throughout the year reflecting the actual amount of electricity used each month. The overall amount you are charged will NOT change.
For accounts coded as APB, you will continue to receive monthly bills as you have historically. Bills rendered for months with no usage will continue to be billed on the minimum provisions in the rate schedule.
Other Advantages of Advanced Meters
In addition to remote reading, advanced meters offer several advantages compared to current meters, which include:
- You will have digital access to usage data that is updated every four hours.
- If there is a power outage that affects your pump, the advanced meter will notify Entergy Arkansas automatically, and we will respond. This is an improvement over the current system, which depends on you noticing an outage and then reporting it to us. Again, note that if you turn the Utility Disconnect Switch to OFF, the system will report it as a power outage.
For a full set of Q&A about advanced meters, please visit our website at http://energyfuturearkansas.com
Following are some Q&As specifically about advanced meters on agricultural irrigation meters:
Q: Is there any investment required on my part before you install the advanced meter?
Q: In the past I’ve asked to have the service to my pump disconnected at the pole or at the Utility Disconnect Switch. Will I be able to do this in the future?
A: No. Doing so will de-energize the meter and interfere with the advanced meters’ communication network. You should have a separate disconnect switch on your side of the meter, which you’re free turn off any time.
Q: How can I avoid a monthly bill during months when I’m not using my pumps? Can I finalize the account and open it up again in the spring?
A: Irrigation accounts on the APA and APA2 rates do not incur any charges in months with zero usage outside the peak billing season, while accounts on the APB rate will continue to incur an 11kW minimum demand charge in all months where the account is active. If you choose to close the account during the off season, be aware that this will require you to establish new service every year, which may come with any applicable deposit and other requirements.
Q: Can I opt-out of the advanced meter on my well pump?
A: No. Residential customers have the option to opt-out of receiving the benefits of an advanced meter – for a fee (both a one-time fee and a monthly fee) – but non-residential customers cannot opt-out of receiving an advanced meter
We hope you enjoy the advantages this new technology offers. We appreciate you being an Entergy Arkansas customer and would be happy to answer any questions you might have. You may contact our dedicated agricultural desk at:
Vice President of Customer Service