Vectren Energy Delivery of Indiana-North launched an 18-month plan to install automated meter reading devices throughout its southeast and central Indiana service territory.
Crews working for Vectren will soon begin installing encoder receiver transmitters on meters in Greensburg and Westport, Indiana. AMR will enable Vectren to efficiently obtain actual reads by driving routes, rather than walking the routes, which will increase reads per day and eliminate issues such as weather, meter reader turnover, animals and locked gates from obtaining actual reads.
AMR uses special devices known as encoder receiver transmitter devices, which are installed on natural gas meters in order to transmit encrypted meter information via radio signals to data collection devices located within specially-equipped vehicles.
Powered by a battery, this technology operates at a special low-power frequency and has been used nationally in many utility installations not to interfere with any other electrical equipment such as computers, radios, satellite television, home security systems, mobile devices or pacemakers.
“The addition of AMR technology to Vectren’s system has a number of benefits for our customers,” said Mike Roeder, Vectren Energy Delivery of Indiana-North president. “AMR reduces the number of estimated meter reads and is more convenient for customers who have traditionally had to provide the utility with access to inside meters or those behind locked gates. The implementation of these devices will result in more efficient meter reads.”
The majority of existing meters will be quickly retrofitted to house the new technology. The retrofit process can take as little as 10 minutes and doesn’t require any action on the customer’s part if the meter is located outside the home.
In some cases, replacement of the entire meter may be necessary as a result of the current meter being unable to accept the new technology. If inside-home access or a complete meter change out is required, customers will be contacted by a Vectren representative prior to the start of the required work.
As Vectren transitions from walking meter reading to mobile data collection, customers may see changes to their monthly bill due date. This could occur as small walk-by meter routes transition to larger mobile drive-by routes. Any changes will be communicated to customers as they occur.
The implementation of AMR is included within Vectren’s seven-year natural gas pipeline modernization filing and is intended to improve the efficiencies of the utility’s natural gas infrastructure and enhance customer experience in the communities throughout its service territory.