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Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Smarter Than Your Average Meter

A popular buzz word in the electric industry is the “smart” meter and “smart” home. The term encompasses different uses for different metering systems.  As a consumer, it is important to be aware and fully informed on the technologies used and the benefits of using an intelligent metering system.

In 2010, Homer Electric successfully completed a system-wide installation of an automated meter reading system which replaced its aged system.  The meters are solid-state electronics with no moveable parts, state-of-the-art.  The use of this automated metering  benefits HEA members by reducing estimated billings and provides real-time meter information such as energy usage (kWh), voltage, demand  (kW) as well as maintains a record of f power interruptions at a location.  Each meter on the system is set to transmit this data to the cooperative at regular intervals during the month or can be requested upon demand from the HEA offices. The system has saved our members the cost of manual meter reading, unnecessary trips to the field, helps to identify power outage locations, and the data is used to size additional load on the system.

However, in other states, such as California, there are heated discussions and controversy over the use of “smart” meters and the health impacts associated with the exposure to radio frequencies (RF).  This is a different technology than what Homer Electric installs.

Homer Electric’s automated metering system uses FCC compliant meters which are no more dangerous than a hardwired telephone or any other piece of electronic equipment in your home.  Homer Electric’s system does not operate on a wireless radio frequency (RF) mesh networks like the ones under controversy.  Rather, the HEA system uses signals that transmit across the power lines in the same way that energy is delivered to a location. 

Feel free to contact our offices for more clarification and we can provide further information so you can be aware of the difference between Homer Electric’s metering system and others’.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

HEA's Kick InCan Energy Conservation Program

As part of its ongoing effort to promote energy conservation, Homer Electric is supplying several of the local social service agencies compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) to distribute to families in need.  The “Kick in Can” light bulb exchange program was very successful in 2010, and through one of its’ national affliliations, HEA was able to purchase 5,000 CFL’s at a very reasonable cost to make the donation possible.
The vision is to provide CFLs to those who can benefit the most. “Kick inCan” CFL distribution is being managed by the Salvation Army stores in Homer and Kenai, Kenai Peninsula Food Bank, Seldovia Village Tribe, and Ninilchik Traditional Council.

“We have partnered with a number of social service agencies that are an excellent  channel for this type of  distribution because they touch so many people with all types of needs around the Peninsula. These groups were selected to ensure that the bulbs get into the hands of folks who might benefit the most. We want to help people find ways to manage their electric bill, and changing incandescent bulbs out for CFL’s will do just that,” said HEA Member Relations Manager Sandra Ghormley.

“I think it is a great way to provide energy efficiency resources. We appreciate partnering with Homer Electric in an effort to bring this to everyone in our communities ” said Bob Crosby, Housing Director of Ninilchik Traditional Council.

Replacing incandescent bulbs with CFLs can be a major source of savings for a household. A 15-watt CFL bulb uses 75 percent less energy than a 60-watt incandescent bulb to produce the same amount of light. Over the life of one CFL bulb, savings can be as much as $40 or more. For more information about CFLs and energy savings, please visit http://www.energystar.gov/.