Midwest Energy recently hosted a two-day “Metering School” for all servicemen, meter techs and some linemen, sharpening the meter skills for some while teaching others a whole new skill set.
The school, held June 17-20, offered several hours of classroom training, including metering theory, math formulas used in metering and common metering configurations. Next, students spent hours in a hands-on simulator, solving metering problems, configuring wiring and conducting testing for various electric meter types Midwest Energy uses in the field. Instructors from Illinois-based meter solutions provider Anixter conducted the training.
“Some of this is a bit of a lost art,” said Michael Thompson, Manager of Electric Metering at Midwest Energy. “Back in the day, co-ops relied on metermen to keep the cash registers turning. But with the introduction of solid-state electronic meters, many co-ops opted not to replace and retain metermen – many co-ops had a “use and throw away” mentality towards meters. But with the onset of AMI, and a push for energy efficiency, metering is coming back around.”
Thompson went on to add, “The basic metering theory and principles have been around for over 100 years, and have hot changed much. Our servicemen and meter techs deal with this stuff every day. But for our linemen, who really don’t get exposed to metering very much, learning the more advanced concepts covered in these classes will help them become more flexible in the field. Now, metering is finally being taught to a larger audience than ever before.”
Thompson indicated linemen from Western Cooperative Electric in WaKeeney, Kansas, were invited to join the classes as well. All of Western’s linemen were able to rotate through one of the two schools offered over a four-day period.
“That kind of sharing is what co-ops are all about,” Thompson said. “It doesn’t matter how long you’ve been in this job, 30 days or 30 years, there’s always something new to learn.”