Automated meter reading generates savings
Nov 1, 2006
For some time now, Blue Ridge Electric Cooperative has been transitioning from manually read electric meters to an automated meter-reading (AMR) system. The change has been a gradual one, and almost 60 percent of our meters are now of the automated variety. It will likely be another two to four years or so before that number reaches 100 percent.
We’re following this gradual approach because of rapid advancements in AMR technology. Our aim is to have a technologically sound program in place that will serve our members well for years to come. By not rushing the process, we believe the cooperative will achieve that goal.
1,500 feet away
AMR is contributing to the efficiency of the Blue Ridge operation, and it will make even greater contributions as time goes by. The technology includes a device transported in a vehicle that will accurately read electric meters remotely—from as much as 1,500 feet away. This permits employees to ride through neighborhoods, along roadways, and the like, quickly obtaining readings from all the meters in those particular areas.
The increasing speed with which meters are being read is working to lower the cooperative’s personnel costs, while increasing meter-reading accuracy. At the same time, the deliberate phase-in of the program is allowing normal attrition to accomplish the necessary work-force reductions in this department. No one is being laid off, and there will be plenty of work for the remaining employees, once AMR is fully implemented on the Blue Ridge system.
Regardless of how much technology we use, be assured Blue Ridge will never lose sight of the value of human connections. Our employees have always been, and will remain, our most valuable asset. Just as we made a pledge to you to have our telephones answered by a person—24 hours a day, seven days a week—we also guarantee that technology will never take the place of our field representatives. They will continue to be in your neighborhood making visual inspections of power lines and associated facilities to ensure both your safety and the reliability of your service.
AMR is one of a number of initiatives Blue Ridge has undertaken to lessen the impact of future rate increases on our members. I’m thankful we have this technology at our disposal.
Being thankful should be an everyday exercise for everyone. With another Thanksgiving Day looming before us on November 23, I invite you to join me in thanking our Creator for all the blessings He constantly sends our way.
Charles E. Dalton