Georgia water utility taking advantage of radio meters to enhance meter reading efficiency

The HCWSA has recently completed its system-wide conversion to radio meters, used to better gauge the customer's water use.


McDonough, Ga., Oct. 23, 2003 -- Select Henry County Water and Sewerage Authority (HCWSA) employees are scouring the community with their radios blaring. Customers can relax though, they're not getting consumer advice from Clark Howard or driving to the latest tunes; they are doing their job faster and more efficiently.

The HCWSA has recently completed its system-wide conversion to radio meters, used to better gauge the customer's water use. No longer does the Authority meter reader have to traverse the property of their customer to get a read on their water use. They can now do it from the safety of an HCWSA truck.

Authority workers have long had trouble getting to the meters of their customers. Dogs, locked gates, parked cars, deep pits, not to mention inclement weather, can make the job of an HCWSA meter reader very difficult. The radio meter alleviates all of these hassles. The HCWSA worker can drive down any given street and read all of the meters in the area.

"This service gives us the ability to maximize our services to the customer," says Ray Novotny, customer service manager of the HCWSA. "It is a win-win situation for us and our customers. Our employees are happier because we have made their job less of a hassle, and we are saving the customer money with a more efficient data gathering process."

A conventional meter reader is capable of reading about 300 meters on a given day. Utilizing an updated system featuring the radio meter, three HCWSA workers can read 7,600 meters in a five-hour period. This not only cuts the hours it takes to read the meters, it also allows customer service more time to manage customers' needs. Items such as service orders (new service, discontinued service, etc.) have much quicker turnaround times because the meters can be checked at a rapid pace.

Currently, the HCWSA is reading at a 99% success rate. The extra one percent can be attributed to cut wires, battery replacement, and other minor errors.

The authority's rapid implementation of this service has made it one of the quickest public utilities in the nation to do so. With the transition complete, the HCWSA can now use the readings to monitor the system much more efficiently and can respond to problems easier .

"We are committed to investing in new technology that will have an immediate return on improving system operations and customer service efficiency," remarks Lindy Farmer, general manager of the HCWSA. "We want to stay ahead of the learning curve for the sake of our customers."

For more information on the radio read meter and how it is serving the customers of the HCWSA, please visit them on the web ( http://www.hcwsa.com) or call (678) 583-2511.

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