Tricky, isn’t it? The truth is about 99.5 percent of our electric meters are AMR (automated meter reading); we started the conversion process in 1998. The vast majority of these AMRs are called ERTs (electronic radio transmitters). The ERTs broadcast your meter reading via a very low frequency, low wattage AM radio signal. A computer controlled receiver in the meter tech’s truck receives the signal within 300 yards.
In addition to ERTs, about 3,500 meters within GVEA’s system are power line carriers, more commonly called turtle meters. Turtles are different in that they send a signal over the power line to a computer in the substation. We access substation computers remotely to obtain meter readings. Where are the turtle meters? You guessed it: in outlying areas.
Here are some of the advantages of installing automated meters:
- Huge time savings; our meter techs can cover significantly more distance in a fraction of the time.
- Increased safety; our meter techs hardly ever get attacked by dogs.
- Consistency in meter reading; extreme weather factors, construction, etc. doesn’t prohibit us from getting meter reads.
Our meter techs inspect the equipment at all service locations periodically to ensure everything is running properly.