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Vectren Making The Switch To Automated Meter Reading

gas meters
Damian Gadal

The sight of a meter reader making the rounds in Tippecanoe County will soon be a thing of the past—at least for customers of natural gas company Vectren.

The firm is in the process of automating its meter-reading process, but Vectren spokeswoman Natalie Hedde says no current employees will lose their job as a result of the automation.

“The transition is not about the reduction of meter readers themselves,” she says. "It’s more about the efficiency and the accuracy of the information that we’re collecting.”

Hedde says the conversion to automated readings won’t add to current Vectren customers’ bills, either. She says the company can simply add small radio transmitters to existing meters. Those transmitters beam usage information to specially-equipped vehicles that drive by, collecting data as they move.

Proponents claim automated meter reading, or AMR, increases efficiency and accuracy, because it cuts down on time spent walking from house to house and eliminates the need for usage estimates.

“This transition is made to improve customer experience  and the efficiencies by which we are obtaining the natural gas meter reads,” explains Hedde.

The technology Vectren is adding, called Automated Meter Reading, or AMR, only transmits data in a single direction. AMR shouldn’t be confused with so-called “smart meters,” which can both transmit and receive data from utilities companies.

Vectren plans to install the meters in Tippecanoe County in mid-2016.