In 1988 AEL&P converted from meter sheets to hand-held meter reading devices referred to as Itrons. They have been programmed to follow the same route that was used with the meter books, going from one house to the next. The meter reader still reads each meter, but enters that reading into the Itron. The consumption is calculated instantly and the meter reader is alerted to any discrepancies so the information can be verified before moving on to the next meter.
Meters didn't change much from the 1930s through the 1970s, but in the early 1980s the changes started. In the early years meters only registered watt hours, then came watt hours and demand, then solid state meters with no moving parts, and Electro-mechanical, digital LCD read-outs, then a hybrid that was part solid state and part Electro mechanical. Now there are meters that can allow you to collect up to 400 different pieces of information. Not all 400 hundred items can be registered at one time, but the capability is there with programming changes. AEL&P has installed some of those meters and the programming is done in-house by personnel in the meter department.
There are meters in our system that are nearly impossible to get to for reading, so hexagram meters have been installed in about 30 locations. These meters can be read from a distance of up to 500 feet and have definitely proved beneficial.
Some of the meters in our system have been in place for nearly 50 years and the company began phasing these meters out about 4 or 5 years ago.
New technology is constantly changing the metering world and has brought about many different ways of reading meters. More recent methods are pocket reading devices and drive by meter reading. Who knows what the year 2010 holds for us?
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