Automated Meter Reading - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Automated Meter Reading

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WASHINGTON - Franklin PUD, Benton PUD and Pacific Power are all considering installing Automated Meter Reading or AMR's in the Tri-Cities and Yakima areas.  It's a new technology to check customers meters on the computer without having to go to individual homes and physically check residents meters each month.

It's all done with fiber optics used with broadband applications.  It allows customer service representatives to look at the amount of kilowatts of power each house is using on a daily basis.  For example, if it's the middle of the month, and you want to know what your utility bill is looking like so far, you can call customer service and they can tell you instantaneously what it is.  It also allows PUD's to cut customers power who haven't paid their bills with a touch of a button, and it's all done through the Internet.

"We go out and we install a different type of meter so that the readings can be done over the power lines, through radio frequency depending on the technology that we've selected," says Debbie Bone-Harris with Franklin PUD.

PUD's are in the research stage right now. They're looking at some of the larger cities in the U.S. who are already using AMR's.   They're also researching different kinds of technologies, deciding which would be best for the area.  PUD representatives say once they get an AMR system, it will take a few years before it's ready to use.