The vo­ca­tion of a me­ter rea­der

We live in a world that is being automated at an accelerating pace. With the help of mobile apps, you can follow you water drinking, fertility, let the emergency call center know your location and see the contents of the refrigerator. On the other hand, we still live in the world as it was several decades ago. In the current Internet era, it never ceases to amaze me that we still have to read an energy meter manually. I’m getting from this a concrete reminder when I visit our customers, as well as at the time when the waterworks of my municipality sends the meter reading by mail.

A power company is already able to charge for electricity according to the actual consumption, the same as some district heating companies, but I still have to check the water meter readings by myself. In addition, I need to send the data to the waterworks, where it is a task of some person to calculate the actual consumption and to make a credit invoice for the estimated invoice. Somehow I understand that no inexpensive and reliable solution for the measurement of water consumption in households has entered the market (or in fact, I do not understand it), but I cannot understand that there are persons in companies and municipalities whose functions include reading of energy meters.

Previously, there was nothing special about reading the old meters – of course – because, there was no possibility of remote reading. Then it was also possible to pay a visit to people’s homes as a “gas meter reader” with evil intentions in mind. Today, we have remote reading possibilities available. In fact, a lot of them. They are not, of course, free of charge, but if you think about the matter from the viewpoint that someone will need to use his or her work time for reading the meter  – that is, to drive their employer’s car from one home to another, first write the readings in their notebook, then to an Excel spreadsheet, send them on to a colleague who will make summaries of consumptions – so I would argue, that in the long run, it is cheaper to invest in a smart metering and reporting program, which draws the diagrams automatically. It would be better to use this time for identifying consumption deviation and even for looking for targets for energy savings.

Arguments that I hear in favor of the preservation of manual meters are among other things, the costs of remote meter reading and meter replacement, the adequacy of monthly monitoring instead of more accurate monitoring and the fact that the property manager has at least one reason to go inside the building. I have already shot down the cost issue. With regard to the adequacy of the monthly monitoring, so it does not help if there is a need, for example, to catch water leaks or follow the base load consumption, which can even refer to malfunction. As for the last argument to support manual meters, relating to property manager’s visits, however, what I am most worried about is that I really hope property maintenance persons have other reasons to access their property than for meter reading.

If this tirade led to the idea that you should automate the monitoring of energy consumption, please contact us. We are able to help and tell you about the benefits that you will get by remote meter reading and hourly consumption data.