Armed with AMR
Here’s an idea that’s benefiting our SCE&G meter readers as much as it’s going to benefit you. Increasingly, SCE&G meter readers no longer have to fear menacing dogs or equally menacing, thorny bushes that seem to find their way around the meters they’re trying to read. Thanks to a new technology known as AMR – automated meter reading -- SCE&G meter readers can collect meter readings remotely, eliminating the need for them to enter your property.
Drive-by Meter Reading
AMR gives meter readers the capability to read every meter in an entire neighborhood while simply driving through the area. A laptop computer in the service truck can receive data via radio frequencies. As the meter reader drives down a street, the computer signals an encoder/receiver/transmitter (ERT) module installed on each meter to transmit a current reading. The data is stored on a disk and later uploaded to a computer server for integration with SCE&G’s customer information and billing systems.
AMR is especially useful for reading meters in remote areas; AMR units are capable of reading a meter from more than a mile away which makes it much easier to read meters located on islands, farms and in areas infested with snakes and alligators.
Gas-only Customers Go Mobile
SCE&G is now using mobile AMR to collect readings on 61,000 natural gas meters throughout our gas-only service territory. Mobile AMR technology has proven to be the best solution for gas only customers because it doesn’t require considerations for an electric component.
Coming to Your Neighborhood
SCE&G began testing mobile AMR two years ago with pilot projects in Columbia, Lexington and Beaufort using electric and gas meters. The technology was first put into production by SCE&G in Camden in early 2005. Approximately 42,000 natural gas meters in SCE&G’s gas only service areas in Camden, Florence, Hartsville, Darlington and Cheraw are now being read with mobile AMR. Another 27,000 gas meters, including almost 4,000 customers in Sun City in the Bluffton area, went into production at the end of 2005.
In 2006, SCE&G expands use of the mobile AMR technology to electric and gas areas on a limited basis to evaluate a combination service solution. The expansion will include the town of Lexington and select routes in Cayce/West Columbia. The project will involve approximately 60,000 electric and gas meters in those areas. SCE&G will also test a limited scope network system, which allows on-demand reads for an office location, eliminating the need for meter readers to walk or ride by to obtain readings.
If you’re not already equipped for AMR, you soon will be. It’s the way of the future and just one of the ways SCE&G is working to improve customer service and the safety of its employees.