Automated electric meters: Next step in the evolution of our SmartGRID

Downtown Auburn Historic DistrictNext month, Auburn Electric will begin to upgrade its current electric meters with automated “smart” meters capable of transmitting robust usage data. Because these smart meters are networked to the electric utility, they combine to create Automated Meter Infrastructure (AMI) that allows us to understand power consumption in real-time so that we can distribute power and respond to outages more effectively.

Because these meters will be networked with our community-wide fiber infrastructure, many residents have concerns about privacy and security. Let me assure you, Auburn Electric has taken great effort to put multiple safeguards in place to protect your privacy. Maintaining privacy and security for our ratepayers has been a very intentional part of our planning process from the beginning.

Auburn Electric partnered with Auburn Essential Services, the City of Auburn’s Information Technology Department, and a consultant certified by the Department of Energy to ensure that our fiber network is secure at all times and protected at multiple touchpoints. Here are two important things you need to be aware of:

  • Your privacy is our commitment: These new meters provide basic information that allows Auburn Electric to monitor the electricity that passes through them in real-time. However, these meters do not give us the ability to control specific appliances within a house or business. With the new meters, we’re collecting data that is useful, timely and forward-thinking.
  • Stringent security protocol protect our network and access to your meter: Tantalus, our external AMI provider, has a stringent set of security standards for the communication and storage of data in their system. In addition to these standards – many of which are recognized industry and federal government best practices – we worked together to ensure these protocols exceed our own customized security requirements, particularly around firewalls and monitoring.

You can learn more about the measures we’ve taken to ensure privacy and security by reading the Security and the Auburn Electric AMI System white paper on our website. And if you still have questions, feel free to contact the Auburn Electric Department at 260-925-8276 or via email at smartgrid@ci.auburn.in.us.

The smart meters will help us continue to provide electricity to your home or business efficiently so that we can continue to enjoy one of the lowest electrical rates in the state.