BALLINGER- AEP Texas scheduled the installation of new digital smart meters for the Ballinger and Winters area on January 5, 2012. According to the company these state-of-the-art electric meters will enhance reliability, improve customer service and help customers gain control over their electric bills.

The company started a couple of weeks ago leaving door-hanger notices at homes prior to installation of meters to inform customers about the installation and tell them more about the benefits of smart meters.

The meters will provide up-to-date usage information so that customers using an in-home monitor or viewing their usage online will be able to make informed energy choices to lower their bills.

Once fully deployed, AEP Texas won't have to enter a customer's property to read the meter since it is done remotely. The only time the company will need access to a customer's property will be for periodic testing and maintenance. Connections and disconnections for residential and small commercial customers can be done remotely, which will enable the company to respond more quickly to customer service requests.

"These meters are better for the customer because they use digital technology, the meters will be able to collect information on power availability and consumption and send it to the company, but they are also capable of receiving information to turn the service on or off," said Fred Hernandez, AEP's Manager of Community Affairs in San Angelo.

The new devices, remarked Hernandez, are two-way communication capable.

Advanced Metering Infrastructure systems (AMI) are an essential part of the company's gridSMART initiative, which uses digital technology to enhance customer service," said Joel Murphy, AEP Texas Director of Customer Services.

Other smart meter features include outage signal, when an outage occurs, these meters send a signal to the electric grid indicating a power outage. AEP Texas will be able to quickly note a power outage; customer service fees associated with connections and disconnections will be reduced as meters are installed throughout the company's service area; customers will have the option to buy in-home energy monitors to view their energy consumption and start conserving electricity; customers can register their smart meter at to view their electric usage online so they can conserve energy.

More information about Smart Meters and gridSMART is available at