My life has been negatively impacted by smart meter technology going back to 2006 and is still ongoing as a result of this technology. As a result of misinformation, which for a better word, is outright, willful lying on the part of the utilities and the State regulatory agencies; the public has been confused and uninformed as to when the smart meters began to be attached to our homes without our consent or knowledge. I liken it to a sci-fi movie where the mother host, in order to thrive, has to create and attach cells (smart meters) near living things, so that the radiation can give sustenance and sustaining life to the Alien Host while its victims, the general public, unsuspectingly become prey to this deadly entity (so inappropriately named the Smart Grid). There is nothing benign or innocent about a technology capable of harming the public with deadly pulsed microwave radiation. Were we informed that we were going to be assaulted by deadly pulsed microwave signals 24/7 and that we did not have a choice? Of course not! How can you sell something like that!! We are talking about billions of dollars of incentives and profits that would not benefit us. Remember the utilities are not obligated or responsible for protecting the public, so they could care less if you have evidence you are being harmed by the smart meters and its technology. The utilities are protected and sheltered by the their bedfellows in the Federal and State agencies. The state agencies throw the responsibility to the Feds and the Feds throw it back to the States. The FCC is not an agency that regulates health issues caused by radio frequencies; yet has the power to set the Radiation exposure limits. There are no studies that give us an accurate assessment of our environment with cell towers, Wi-Fi base stations, cordless phones and devices transmitting and receiving from 300MHz up. Especially the smart meters, which have been tested and reported to be higher radiation exposure than standing in front on a cell tower base station. Add to this toxic soup the dirty electricity radiating on your wiring in your walls which also has been tested to to radiated 6-8 feet into your living and sleeping spaces; what more does the public need to finally stand up and fight with us to stop this crime. This is our fight, not someone else’s fight!…….Sandaura
Changing the Customer-Utility Paradigm……..Next will be federal and state regulation of the customer relationship: what utilities must tell their customers, what they must offer, etc., taking away local choice and flexibility. This is a dangerous and present threat, and electric utilities need to get political activity to stop the mandates coming down from Washington, D.C., or in the state legislature. Most of the energy and Internet marketers who want to capture and permanently take away the old utility-customer relationship are in the halls of Congress everyday lobbying for more federal mandates that help their business goals. It has nothing to do with what is good for consumers or the environment or reliability.
All AMR In Albany
The Albany, Ga. Water, Gas & Light Commission is now reading nearly all of its residential gas, water and electric meters and a portion of its commercial meters via mobile automated meter reading technology from Itron, Inc. As of Aug. 1, the utility has automated the meter reading process for more than 80,000 meters, through a business arrangement facilitated by Hometown Connections, the utility services subsidiary of the American Public Power Association.
Albany WG&L installed an Itron automated meter reading (AMR) system to download usage data. ERT (encoder,
|The new AMR system will enable Albany Meter Reader Alvin Williams and his colleagues to obtain readings from as many as 20,000 meters a day.|
receiver and transmitter) modules installed on the meters enable radio transmission of readings to hand-held devices and a mobile collector, a piece of equipment resembling a laptop computer that gathers readings as the vehicle travels through the territory.
The utility purchased 20 Itron G5R hand-held units for use during the 12-month build-out of the system while the routes were populated with ERTs. The G5Rs can read ERTs or accept data typed in manually by utility personnel. Today, with the vehicle-based Mobile Collector 1.0 unit and the MV-RS route management software up and running, most of the hand-held units have been returned. Due to an increasing customer base, Albany WG&L will be maintaining a growing AMR system that currently has 30,000 electric, 16,000 gas and 34,000 water meters. Because the Mobile Collector 1.0 can read up to 20,000 ERTs in a single day, Albany WG&L is easily capturing the meter data from its 80,000 meters with a single mobile unit.
“We were struggling with a high-rate of turnover among our meter reading staff, and spending large amounts of time training new employees,” said Lee Hauesler, Albany WG&L assistant general manager.” We were also losing revenue to theft and tampering and we were looking at ways to reduce costs across all aspects of utility operations. When we approached our joint action agency in Georgia, MEAG Power, about automating the meter reading process for all of our residential meters, MEAG suggested we turn to Hometown Connections and Itron.”
John Hengesh, vice president and general manager of Itron’s water and public power business unit, said more and more combination utilities—those offering water, gas and electric—are turning to one company for metering needs.
“The successful implementation of the Albany WG&L system is an excellent example of teamwork among commission staff, Hometown Connections, MEAG and Itron,” Hengesh said. “Our company has installed hundreds of AMR systems, and the key to meeting schedule and budget constraints is the utility’s commitment to improving operational efficiency and customer service.
According to Bill Smart, national sales director—west region, Hometown Connections partners with Itron to offer AMR solutions because of the strength and scalability of the Itron system.
|Albany meter readers use Iron’s M/C 1 Mobile Collector and the Itronix Go-Box to collect consumption data.|
“Itron products allow utilities to start the automation process at any level and expand the system as budgets and resources permit,” said Smart. “Itron products are ‘meter-neutral,’ offering the widest cross-section of modules to fit most meter types. The MV-RS meter reading software can be configured for utilities that are large or small, serving urban, suburban or rural communities, and providing electric, gas and/or water service. On top of that, Itron has a strong commitment to research and development, as well as customer service.”
Itron is offering an AMR promotion through Hometown Connections that makes it possible for an APPA member to implement an AMR system for the cost of an electronic meter reading system. A small utility may purchase a single-unit hand-held AMR system for under $10,000. This pricing is available to current and new Itron customers that do not have existing ERT deployments. As reported by Bill Smart, “the current Itron promotion is the best opportunity we’ve seen to date for APPA members to maximize their return on the AMR investment.”
The design and installation of the Albany WG&L system required the coordination and cooperation of employees from the utility, Itron, Hometown Connections, MEAG Power, regional meter resellers, and a contractor hiring local people for installing ERTs. Bill Smart of Hometown Connections ordered all of the Itron equipment and software. Albany WG&L hired Itron to manage the meter installation contractor.
Itron’s Rusty Agi was on site at the utility for three or four days per week, overseeing the ordering of equipment and software, the ERT installation and cycle acceptance testing (the ability of the mobile unit to read 99.58 percent of the ERT meters accurately).
Agi described the project as a major milestone for Albany WG&L, requiring the cooperation and support of many people.
“The dedication and commitment to the success of the project by all of the employees at Albany WG&L and
|Albany uses a Badger RTR water meter and an Itron ERT to collect water consumption data.|
supporting vendors was as high and professional as any I have ever witnessed,” Agi said.
Many of the calls coming in to Hometown Connections today are from public power systems looking to build out their automated meter reading capabilities. Customer expectations for accurate billing and fast service, coupled with recent municipal budget challenges, are driving APPA members to focus on improving their core business practices. This increase in AMR interest follows with research data collected by APPA. The association’s bi-annual Customer Service Policies Survey asks APPA members, “Do you ‘automatically’ read any meters with computerized equipment, thereby eliminating the meter reader?” Respondents answering “yes” were 7 percent in 1999, 11 percent in 2001 and 19 percent in 2003. The 2003 survey also found that 60 percent of respondents using AMR are using a system from Itron.
“The success of the Albany WG&L AMR project is a prime example of the public power community working together to use breakthroughs in technology to improve the delivery of services to customers,” said APPA President and CEO Alan H. Richardson. “Utility officials, their joint action agency representatives, Hometown Connections staff and Itron employees set a high standard for deploying advances in meter reading and utility management.”