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Rarely There

A collection of discourses - myriad, profound, uplifting...
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It is just a blog.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

AMR: automatic electric meter reading

Talking Crochet With Carol Alexander, America's Test Kitchen (ATK) 's Letter from Vermont by Chris Kimball and EE Community newsletters are among the few newsletters I don't mind reading through, former two to learn things for my personal life, and the latter to learn things for my professional life :)

EE Community newsletter has this piece called Nata's Corner that I simply love... "Nata", drop me a note if you object to this, but, I read the recent piece and wanted to share it here, and the picture is an added attraction...

There, having said that, this is something of a wake-up call for us at home as D and I just quietly pay the electricity bill each month assuming it must be right.

From EE Community newsletter May 9th edition:

Nata's corner Experts Exchange newsletter Nata's Corner
Susan Kirkland, one of the Zone Advisors for the Apple/Mac zones, sent me a note about her electric bill and the technology the power companies use to read your meters:

"Ever done anything on AMR? That's the automatic electric meter reading technology power companies use so they don't have to send a man out to your house. There's only one problem (which I discovered after some minor google research). It's called signal drift (duh) which is caused by cold temperatures.

"I've always been conscientious when it comes to energy. I turn the lights off when I leave the room -- maybe the nuns did that to me. Waste not, want not (?) who knows. Three months in a row, I got this "double what it usually is" power bill. I paid; I'm not one to question the power company. This month, I got a bill 6 times the usual usage. I went out to read the meter -- it said 8834. What did this mean? I looked at my bill; it said for usage from 9633 to 12363. I called and the high school graduate told me it was because I was using more electricity now that I had the heat on. She said to disconnect the breakers and see which one was eating up my power. When I mentioned the odd numbers on the meter, she sighed, as if I was arguing with her good sense (LOL) like sooooo many others who just didn't get it. They sent a man out to read the meter. He discovered the meter was malfunctioning. He put in a new meter. They will adjust my bill.

"How many times does this happen without your knowledge? Check your electric meters -- after all, it uses a modem to communicate the readings." At least she didn't say that they use Windows Vista.

Now, I wish there was an easy interpreter for the land line phone bills as well - I have no idea why I am charged all this "extra" each month when I barely use my land line! Why have one at all? Well, I've tossed it around in my head a bit - I don't want to give my cell number for all those forms I have to fill in everywhere - don't want to waste my precious cell phone minutes... plus, I am old-fashioned, I guess.



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