- Automatic Meter Reading
- Automated Meter Infrastructure
- Team EJP Meter Training
What Is Automatic Meter Reading?
Automatic meter reading, or AMR, is the technology of automatically collecting consumption, diagnostic, and status data from water meters; to then transfer that data into a central database for billing, troubleshooting, and analyzing. AMR technologies include handheld, mobile and network technologies based on cellular telephone, radio frequency (RF), or powerline transmission.
Billing is based on near real-time consumption rather than on estimates based on past or predicted consumption. This timely information coupled with analysis can help both utility providers and customers better control water consumption and better assure billing accuracies.
The industry generally uses “AMR” to refer to automatic meter reading where a person travels throughout the utility’s service area to collect meter readings. The term “AMI” generally refers to a system of collecting meter readings automatically and constantly, without human interaction.
With touch-based AMR, a meter reader carries a handheld computer or data collection device with a wand or probe. The device automatically collects the readings from a meter by touching or placing the reading probe in close proximity to a reading coil enclosed in the touchpad. When a button is pressed, the probe sends an interrogating signal to the touch module to collect the meter reading.
The software in the device matches the serial number to the one in the route database, and saves the meter reading for later download to a billing or data collection computer. Since the meter reader still has to go to the site of the meter, this is sometimes referred to as “walk-by” AMR. Another form of contact reader uses a standardized infrared port to transmit data.
Radio frequency based AMR can take many forms. The most common are handheld, mobile, and fixed network solutions. There are both two-way RF systems and one-way RF systems in use that use both licensed and unlicensed RF bands.
Radio reading requires a radio which is connected to the meter. The radio may either be factory installed on or in the meter, or more commonly, it is a separate component connected to the meter by wire.
In a two-way or "wake up" system, a radio signal is normally sent to an AMR meter's unique serial number, instructing its transceiver to power-up and transmit its data. The meter transceiver and the reading transceiver both send and receive radio signals. In a one-way “bubble-up” or continuous broadcast type system, the meter transmits continuously and data is sent every few seconds. This means the reading device can be a receiver only, and the meter a transmitter only. Data travels only from the meter transmitter to the reading receiver. There are also hybrid systems that combine one-way and two-way techniques, using one-way communication for reading and two-way communication for programming functions.
RF-based meter reading usually eliminates the need for the meter reader to enter the property or home, or to locate an underground meter pit. The utility saves money by increased speed of reading, has less liability from entering private property, and has fewer missed readings from being unable to access the meter.
In handheld Radio AMR, a meter reader carries a handheld computer with a built-in or attached receiver/transceiver to collect meter readings from an AMR capable meter. This is sometimes referred to as "walk-by" meter reading since the meter reader walks by the locations where meters are installed as they go through their meter reading route. Handheld computers may also be used to manually enter readings or touch read.
Mobile or "drive-by" meter reading is where a reading device in conjunction with a laptop computer is installed in a vehicle. The meter reader drives the vehicle while the reading device automatically collects the meter readings. Often, for mobile meter reading, the reading equipment includes navigational and mapping features provided by GPS and mapping software.
With mobile meter reading, the reader does not normally have to read the meters in any particular route order, but just drives the service area until all meters are read. Components often consist of a laptop or proprietary computer, software, RF receiver/transceiver, and external vehicle antennas.
What Is Automatic Meter Infrastructure?
Automatic Meter Infrastructure (AMI) solutions allow you to automatically collect real-time consumption, diagnostic and status data from your water meters. The data is then transferred to a central database for billing and analysis. Our overarching goal is to ensure on-time analyzed data; bringing to you the most up to date optimized data to your billing system.
Why choose an AMI system? The benefits in choosing an AMI system include; lowering the cost of meter reading, receiving real-time billing information that reduces re-billing costs, reducing the chances of billing errors, disputes while increasing cash flow by allowing quarterly or monthly accounts to be converted to monthly billing. Scheduling is also improved by enabling flexible reading schedules and eliminating delays in summary billing of commercial accounts. The safety of those who are servicing, data collecting and handling the meters is often an overlooked feature of the AMI system.
When choosing an AMI system, the benefits are spread to your customers. Because of the real-time accurate information provided, billing errors are reduced and the elevated confidence felt in the reading system is increased. By increasing the amount of accurate information given to the customer, they might be empowered to conserve resources and save money.
Moreover, AMI represents a shift from reading meters for billing purposes only, to using meters to obtain better control over the water distribution system. AMI provides operators and managers with constant and timely information about water flow in the distribution system.
- Lowers the cost of meter reading
- Provides real-time billing information, reducing estimated readings and re-billing costs
- Enhances employee and customer safety by reducing the number of personnel on the road and providing safer reading methods
- Reduces billing errors and disputes
- Enables flexible reading schedules, eliminating delays in summary billing of commercial accounts
- Increases cash flow by allowing quarterly or semi-monthly accounts to be converted to monthly billing
- Reduces customer complaint calls and increases customer satisfaction
- Monitors tampering and theft
- Promotes energy conservation and customer savings with time-of-use consumption
- Provides alerts (i.e. leak detection, reverse flow, empty pipe, etc.)
- Provides timely data about where and when water is being consumed throughout the distribution system.
- Allows the ability to track unaccounted water on a daily basis.
- Optionally, an AMI system may provide the network infrastructure to monitor other issues in the distribution system, such as water pressure and temperature.
- Reduces billing errors
- Increases confidence in service
- Customer Portal – ability to monitor individual usage
- Increases information about usage and empowers them to conserve resources and save money
How Team EJP Can Help:
Team EJP AMR Specialists offer you the most advanced training in the AMR/AMI world today.
- System Software and Hardware Training
- Assist with Billing Software Integration
- Handheld Device (HHD) Setup and Training
Our manufacturers provide excellent remote telephone and internet technical support. However, sometimes you need someone on-site to help you work through issues. Team EJP AMR Specialists are available to visit your location and help you at your location when needed. We can also (with your authorization only) log into your computer and quickly help fix occasional problems.
AMR Specialists at Team EJP have you covered. We make the transition process easier by getting your new AMR/AMI system fully setup.