MRPBPSummary - Research Summary Meter Reading Profiles Best...

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©2009 The Ascent Group, Inc. 1 Research Summary Meter Reading Profiles & Best Practices 2009 A Benchmark Study of Meter Reading Meter reading is the critical first-step in the utility revenue collection process, and for most utilities, a labor-intensive activity. While the use of automated meter reading technologies (AMR) is increasing, the majority of meters are still read manually, once a month. Any errors or delay in the meter reading process negatively impacts customer satisfaction. Not only is it critical to effectively and efficiently read meters every month, the meter reader also plays an important community relations role — the “gatekeeper” who looks for leaks, problems, hazards, safety issues, and serves as a neighborhood watch. For many customers, the meter reader is often the only utility employee ever seen. These customer touch-points form the basis of customer opinion. The meter reader position is usually an entry-level job. As such, meter reading departments can incur high turnover, thereby increasing the cost to hire and train effective and efficient meter readers, and ultimately, increasing the cost to read a meter. With all the changes in the industry and the economy, most utilities have been forced to reduce operating costs. At the same time, companies are being asked by regulators, customers, members, and shareholders to increase customer service and satisfaction—essentially to “do more with less.” This is a daunting challenge for any organization. Utilities are also faced with growing need for more timely access to energy usage information— to support real-time pricing initiatives, load forecasting, demand-side management, load control, competition, and customer demand. Additionally, status and usage information is needed on an event basis to improve reliability, power quality, and to identify outages. These more complex data requirements are driving the need for advanced metering infrastructures, smart metering, and further automation. The American Recovery and Revitalization Act (ARRA) Smart Grid Investment Grant Program is also spurring interest in “smart” metering, “smart grid”, and advanced metering infrastructure projects. The overall purpose of the Smart Grid Investment Grant Program (SGIG) is to accelerate the modernization of the nation’s electric transmission and distribution systems and promote investments in smart grid technologies. The ARRA was signed into law in February 2009. In late June 2009, The U.S. Department of Energy announced the availability of $3.4 billion in stimulus funding under the SGIG program. Interested parties must file a letter of intent to be eligible to apply for funding. There are three application periods with letters of intent deadlines of July 16, 2009, October 23, 2009, and February 10, 2010. Several utilities have
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©2009 The Ascent Group, Inc.
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