DTE Energy will expand its advanced metering program to provide electric customers in a section of Bloomfield Township in Michigan with new meter technology that provides more accurate information about their energy usage and a system for recognizing power outages without customer input.

The program incorporates technology that will allow the electric meters to be read remotely and provide a wide range of benefits to customers, as well as operational savings through increased efficiencies to DTE Energy.

The program will serve as a platform to eliminate manual meter reading, provide remote monitoring of the electric distribution system and enable customers to manage their bills by tracking their consumption and demand via the DTE Energy web site.

The installation of 2,500 meters in Bloomfield Township is an expansion of a pilot program that started last year. DTE Energy has completed the installation and testing of more than 10,000 electric meters and gas meter modules on Grosse Ile and has begun the installation of 2,000 meters on Harsen's Island.

The new meters will be installed in an area bounded by Lone Pine to the north, Maple Road to the south, Inkster Road to the west and Telegraph Road to the east.

"Bloomfield Township is a good next step for the program because our research has shown customers there are ready to take advantage of the new technology," said Vince Dow, Detroit Edison vice president, Distribution Operations. "The program's expansion will allow us to further test the installation process and continue to prove the benefits for both our customers and the company."

DTE Energy has nearly 4 million electric and gas meters scheduled to be read every month, although some go unread because of severe weather, dogs, locked gates or other access problems.

"With advanced metering we will be able to achieve more than a 99 percent daily meter reading rate, which will eliminate the vast majority of estimated bills," Dow said.

Itron will continue its pilot program work for DTE Energy and begin installation of the electric meters in Bloomfield Township later this month. Installation is expected to be completed this year.

After the system testing and evaluation process has been completed, installation is planned to spread throughout Detroit Edison's and Michigan Consolidated Gas Co.'s service areas on a community-by-community basis. Every electric meter in Southeast Michigan would be replaced with solid state meters and every gas meter would be modified with an advanced metering module. Customers would be notified when meter changes are scheduled in their communities.

In future years, besides more accurate meter reading, the program will provide customers these benefits:

  • Remote monitoring of the electric distribution network which will enable faster and more reliable power outage detection and restoration.
  • The ability for customers to track consumption and demand. Identification of individual service problems.

The program also will provide DTE Energy with enhanced energy theft/meter tampering detection and the ability to reconnect and disconnect service remotely.

One of the main challenges in implementing the system is visiting every DTE Energy customer to change out the meters.

"We're going to communicate early and often so our customers know when to expect us," Dow said. "The technology is something we want our customers to benefit from as quickly as possible."