The business of keeping the lights on involves the work of many different departments at AEP Ohio – and that certainly includes the 150 meter specialists, meter electricians and supervisors who make up Meter Revenue Operations.
You might not be aware of these five critical areas in which meter personnel are involved.
Customer questions: When customers contact us about an unexpectedly high bill, one of the first calls goes to our meter department. Our employees investigate the issue to confirm our readings are correct (they almost always are) and search for any other possible problems. Meter personnel will often troubleshoot issues onsite with the customer (Is the sump pump air locked? Was emergency heating inadvertently activated? Has the circuit breaker been reset?) to help find the cause of a spike in usage.
Power quality: The meter department is responsible for the equipment that measures the performance of our power lines. Though lineworkers install the devices themselves (such as capacitors, reclosers and voltage regulators), it’s the job of meter personnel to operate and monitor the control equipment that keeps tabs on grid efficiency.
Device testing: The Public Utilities Commission of Ohio mandates that we check many of our devices at least once annually. (For example, there are about 7,800 meter tests scheduled for this year). A big part of meter employees’ routine work is performing these tests to make sure equipment is operating properly.
Hazard recognition: Because meter personnel spend so much time in the field, they’re often the first to spot damage or dangerous situations. (After all, customers might not notice there’s a problem if their power is still on.) Meter employees find downed lines, unsafe setups and broken equipment both following storms and on clear-sky days, too. For example, abandoned campgrounds or little-used hunting shacks can be prime locations for electrical hazards to have developed.
Math! Who uses high school math? Meter electricians, that’s who! The distribution of electricity is a complicated process, one that for these employees involves the everyday use of trigonometry. Meter electricians use sine, cosine and tangent ratios to make calculations around electrical phase angles, voltage, and current.