Meter-reading jobs fade into technology


Memphis, Tennessee—(METERING.COM)—June 28, 2006 – The days of canvassing neighborhoods on foot may be numbered for Memphis Light, Gas and Water (MLGW) Division’s group of meter readers.

MLGW is investigating technology that would enable the utility to read meters remotely as an alternative to employees having to go from door to door. The automated meter reading system will ultimately result in major savings, estimated at $13 million a year, by eradicating jobs, but the initial roll-out comes with a hefty price tag.

The actual cost of implementing an AMR solution won’t be known until vendors have submitted proposals, which is likely to happen later in the year.

MLGWAMR technology is being introduced by more and more utilities across the country. MLGW’s plan includes a system of transmitters – attached to the one million electric, gas and water meters in Shelby County – transmitting readings to a central site. The utility’s officials believe that the savings in operations resulting from the new system would pay for the automated meter readers.

Joseph Lee, MLGW president and CEO, said that the benefits of such a system make it an issue of when, not if, it will be adopted by Memphis’s utility company. “At the end of the day, it’s … for the benefit of customers.” Lee continued.