New meters get nationwide attention - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

New meters get nationwide attention

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January 28, 2004

Albany - It's the first in the country, and it's making life easier for meter readers and residents. Albany Water, Gas and Light is in the spotlight, nationwide. The new automated meters are making everyone smile.

Once a month, Thomas Walker is greeted by a stranger at his door. He explains, "I don't know who they are who are coming in to read."

With new meter reader technology, he won't have open his backyard gate to let the stranger in. He laughs, "Wonderful, wonderful, wonderful."

Albany's Water, Gas and Light is the first utility company in America to be able to read electric, gas and water meters from the street. Walker says, "I heard it would be so they could read it in passing instead of coming in and ringing the bell." He's right, the new gadgets will pick up radio frequencies up to a mile away.

Meter readers can stay in their utility truck, instead of coming face to face with vicious dogs or overgrown shrubbery.

So far, nearly 43,000 homes in Albany have the automated meters and they are halfway done. The new system allows utility workers to read 1,500 meters in 25 minutes. With the old system it took eight hours.

Walker hopes he is next. Workers are slightly behind schedule, but plan to have all the new gadgets in place by July.

Utility workers from around the country have come to Albany to see how the automated meters work. It is an eight million dollar project.

posted at 6:15PM by kathryn.simmons@walb.com