How to Make the Switch to Automated Meter Reading
More and more utility companies are adopting remote technology solutions to automate meter reading and utility billing. It helps them avoid costly manual mistakes and improve customer service and retention. In case you also consider implementing daily meter reading software in your company and are not sure where to start, Softarex can help. Below, our energy experts share useful tips that will help you make your shift to automation smooth and stress-free.
First, you need to set clear goals for implementing daily meter reading software in your utility company and identify how the shift to automation will help you achieve them. The most common reasons for investing in AMR include:
- Compliance with government regulations. For example, the sixth Carbon Budget, a UK law enacted to reduce emissions by 78% by 2035 compared to 1990 levels according to the recommendation from the Climate Change Committee.
- Improved customer service. Customer image is a major concern of the utility industry. Misreadings, inaccurate billing, leaks, and other problems of manual billing, harm the reputation of the service provider. Investing in automated daily meter reading software is a great way for you to reduce customer complaints and build a strong reputation.
- Enhanced energy efficiency and reduced expenses. Meter reading systems can help your company improve conservation in two main ways. First, thanks to real-time data collection and consumption monitoring, such solutions will keep your staff and customers instantly informed about leaks and unusual use patterns. That way, you will be able to solve any issues emergently and, thus, reduce potential losses. Second, with automated daily meter reading software in place, your customers will always have up-to-the-minute information on their consumption at their fingertips. Being more aware of their use than ever before, they are likely to change their behavior and habits to save water, gas, and energy and cut monthly utility costs.
- More accurate billing. With meter reading software, you can also improve billing accuracy and efficiency by eliminating the risk of human error and reducing paperwork. The system will automatically create accurate bills based on real-time consumption data, rather than on predicted or past usage.
Select the Software
Once you’ve set the goals, start exploring the software market. We recommend that you make a list of features AMR must have to help you meet your company’s needs and wants. That way, you will be able to narrow down your choices to systems that are the most suitable for you.
Here are some most popular and useful features to look for in daily meter reading software.
Customer interface. A user-friendly and easy-to-navigate customer portal is one of the most important features of a successful AMR solution. This is a centralized hub where users can check their consumption reflected in volume and money, get notifications in case of atypical patterns or leakage, and pay their utility bills.
Leak detection and notification. With this feature, your automated meter reading software can accurately identify small leaks long before they become big problems and immediately notify customers and utility suppliers.
GPS. The use of GPS technology enables AMR software to collect meter data much more quickly, especially in areas that are crowded, difficult-to-access or don’t have precise addresses. Thus, all users, regardless of location, can get real-time data of their consumption. GPS-enabled systems can also accurately locate outages, leaks, and breaks, which facilitates timely responses.
Software/firmware updates. With daily meter reading software in place, your utility company can cut maintenance costs and increase operational efficiency by eliminating the need to dispatch utility technicians.
Alarms. This feature allows users to set alarms for leak detection, tampering, low battery, and other mechanical problems.
Install the System
It’s essential for you to build a plan for system installation to not miss out on important things and avoid possible mistakes. Make sure your plan includes such steps as meters phasing, data management plan, contingency plans for broken or defective meters, plan for old meters removal, system testing, data validation, integration of billing system, etc.
Provide your employees with comprehensive training in the duties and responsibilities that come with the implementation of automated meter reading software. Make sure the training starts as early as possible so that your staff will have enough time to get the hang of using the new technology and practice their skills in various scenarios.
Your First Step to Daily Meter Reading Software
Breaking with tradition is never easy, especially in business processes, but having a clear understanding of goals and a well-thought-out plan can help make the shift to automation easier.
If the steps described above seem a little complicated, or you need assistance with building and implementing meter reading software, Softarex is here to help. We are a team of professionals who has successfully implemented multiple projects in the Energy and Utility industry. Our portfolio includes smart digital solutions for utility billing, smart home management, and remote meter reading enable both businesses and individuals to embrace the power of automation and intelligent data analysis.
Feel free to contact us with any questions. Our consultants will reach out to you shortly to discuss your business needs and build a digital transformation strategy for your company.