Albany moving to automated utility meter-reading

The city says residents’ rates won’t change
Albany Utilities is making its move to an automated meter-reading system.
Published: Aug. 2, 2023 at 8:24 PM EDT
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ALBANY, Ga. (WALB) - Meter-reading for utility workers is about to become a thing of the past in Albany. The city is moving to a new system called AMI that does it all through a computer program.

Staff with Albany Utilities tell WALB they’re doing their best to make meter information more readily available to their customers. And in doing so, customers will be able to control their costs more efficiently.

Over the next year and a half, Albany Utilities will be phasing out human meter readers, and replacing them with computers. Customers will be able to see their water, gas and power consumption in real-time.

“The project is referred to as an AMI project,” Director of Utility Operations Jimmy Norman said. “AMI stands for Advanced Metering Infrastructure. It is a network that reads data meters and reports that information through a meter data management system into our billing system. So it’s an automated process that takes a lot of the human error out of traditional meter reading.”

The city says it won’t be changing rates. But utility bills could go either up or down. That’s because the new system is expected to be more accurate. But customers who see their consumption is high, they can cut down before the billing period ends.

“They can log into their customer portal, look at their bills, look at their usage. And it’s a real-time picture of what they’re using on a daily basis,” Norman said. “So they can tell if they’re using a lot more energy, a lot more water, a lot more gas at any particular time during the month or day.”

“Sometimes, we encounter situations where a meter reader might not be able to or service technicians might not be able to access the property,” Deputy Director of Utility Operations Kendall Hodge said. “And so that results in an estimated brief for that customer, which sometimes leads to frustration from a billing access, so it helps to minimize these types of situations.”

The new system will affect both commercial and residential. All water and power meters and some gas meters will be replaced.

Customers will experience temporary outages as they replace these meters, but WALB is told it shouldn’t take more than a few minutes.