Automated Meter Reading FAQ
1. What is Automated Meter Reading?
Automated Meter Reading (AMR) is a computerized, radio-transmitted meter reading system. Once
installation is complete in your community, this technology will allow us to eliminate every-other-month
estimated meter readings and will provide us with actual monthly electronic meter readings.
2. Why is Columbia doing this?
Columbia is upgrading its meter reading technology as part of its plan to do more for customers by
improving service and customer convenience. Installation of this new technology was authorized by the
Public Utilities Commission of Ohio as part Columbia's recently approved base rate case.
3. How will my meter be read by AMR?
The AMR System uses radio technology to automatically read your gas meter from a vehicle. As the
specially equipped vehicle drives by, it sends a signal to the device on your meter, which in turn transmits
the meter reading data to a computer in the vehicle.
4. What is the installation schedule for the new AMR devices?
The new AMR devices will be installed on most residential and commercial meters across the company's
service territory over approximately the next five years beginning in the spring of 2009. More information
about the installation schedule will be provided to customers prior to their scheduled installation date.
5. When will Columbia Gas of Ohio start to use this AMR system for billing?
Columbia will begin to read your meter with this system after installation has been completed in a large
geographic area around your home or business. Until then, meter readers will continue to read your meter.
6. What if I read my own meter? How will I know when I no longer need to do that?
You will be notified on your monthly bill when we start monthly meter readings and it is no longer
necessary for you to read your own meter.
7. What if my meter is indoors? How does that impact me short term and long term?
Short term, we will need to gain access to your home to make the AMR installation. Long term, we will no
longer need to enter your home to read your meter following the installation.
8. How is the AMR device powered?
The power for the AMR System is supplied by its own long-term battery. The battery will be replaced by
Columbia when necessary. The unit does not draw any current from your electrical system.
9. Will the AMR System interfere with my home electronic equipment?
It is highly unlikely that you will have any interference from the AMR System. The AMR signal meets all applicable FCC regulations and operates on a frequency similar to other devices such as car toll transponders or portable telephones.
10. What is the expected length of time to convert my gas meter?
The installation process is expected to take approximately 20 minutes.
11. Do I need to be present during the AMR device installation?
The vast majority of installations do not require the technician to enter the home or business and do not require the customer to be present during the work. Customers requiring additional upgrades to their gas meter assemblies will be contacted in order to set up an appointment, thus minimizing any service disruption.
12. Who will install the new AMR device?
Columbia employees or employees of our subcontractors will install the new AMR devices.
13. Do the subcontractor employees and Columbia Gas of Ohio employees have identification?
Yes. All Columbia Gas employees and subcontractors have photo identification, uniforms and marked vehicles.
14. Will there be any charge for having an AMR device installed?
There will be no separate charge for the installation of the AMR device.
15.Columbia has said for years that its estimated reads are extremely accurate and that any discrepancies with the actual reads are quickly reconciled. If that's true, why are you eliminating the estimated reads after all this time?
Our estimated reads are extremely accurate. But new energy-efficient appliances are changing the traditional gas consumption patterns upon which these estimates are based. The AMR System will ensure that your gas consumption is always accurately recorded, without the need to estimate any of your bills. It will also help us manage costs and enhance customer convenience.
16.What else is Columbia doing for its customers?
In addition to the Budget Payment Plan, which allows customers to spread winter heating costs evenly over the entire year, Columbia offers a variety of payment and assistance plan options for customers who need them. The company is upgrading its website and giving customers more options for managing their accounts online. Columbia is also launching new energy-efficiency programs designed to help customers save money by reducing their natural gas consumption.
Columbia Gas of Ohio appreciates having you as a customer. We look forward to doing more for you!