Last updated: July 24. 2013 1:51PM - 91 Views

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PDT Staff Writer

In order to eliminate estimated bills and enhance customer convenience, Columbia Gas of Ohio says it will install over 12,000 automated meter reading (AMR) devices in the greater Portsmouth area. The company said said Tuesday that work will begin in September and is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

The local communities where AMRs will be installed are: Franklin Furnace, Lucasville, Minford, New Boston, Portsmouth, South Webster and Wheelersburg. Columbia is installing AMRs at no direct cost to property owners and customers.

According to Columbia Gas, the AMR system uses radio-based technology to automatically read a customer’s gas meter from a vehicle. As the specially equipped vehicle drives by, the AMR transmits the meter reading data to an onboard computer. The AMR is powered by its own long-life battery and does not draw from a home’s electrical system.

“The statewide installation of AMRs will be a tremendous benefit to our customers,” Columbia Gas of Ohio President Jack Partridge said. “This technology, enabling us to do monthly meter readings, will eliminate estimated bills and meter access issues, two of the concerns we hear most frequently from our customers.”

Normal installation takes around 20 minutes and does not disrupt service. Customers will be given advance information via postcard regarding when their device will be installed. The work will be done outside at the meter. For homes with indoor meters, arrangements for access will be coordinated with the customer.

Columbia is contracting with TruCheck Utility Metering Solutions to install the AMRs. Columbia Gas also reminded residents all Columbia employees and contractors carry identification cards bearing their name, photograph, and identification number and will be happy to show it. Customers will receive notification when the monthly readings will begin.

Currently the company is on pace to have all 1.4 million meters in its service territory upgraded by the end of 2013.

Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at flewis@heartlandpublications

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