water meters on a brick wall

Avoid meter reading errors with OCR Meter Reading Devices

Ebin Thomas

Account Executive at Anyline

Mar 08, 2022

Mistakes can happen to everyone – we’re only human, after all. But thankfully, they’re becoming less and less likely to occur thanks to the ever-expanding technology market. AI-based solutions are being leveraged by just about every industry you can think of – including within utility companies. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) is one such option and it’s already going a long way towards preventing incorrect meter readings that cost both companies and consumers money.

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How Much Does Incorrect Meter Reading Cost?

According to one recent study, utility companies globally tend to lose between $90 and $100 billion per year (combined, of course) to non-technical losses (NTLs) alone. This is when people simply don’t get billed, get billed incorrectly or they’re dealing with situations like meter tampering.

But innocent errors can be a huge factor as well. This is when incorrect measurements are taken, when meters are misread or when bills are either incorrect or remain unpaid for long periods of time.

What benefits are there to OCR?

There are a wide array of benefits to using OCR technology, including but not limited to ones like:

  • Accuracy. With Anyline’s solution, for example, a 99% accuracy rate is guaranteed. This all but eliminates the dreaded human error that often leads to a lot of these issues in the first place.
  • Time-saving. Anyline’s OCR technology literally scans meter information at a rate of 20 times faster than any human possibly could on their own. Not only does this lead to a significant decrease in working hours (thus saving a company money), but it also allows them to do more with that time as well.
  • Less stress. Remember that utility workers are expected to collect meter readings on dozens of homes on a daily basis. The faster and more efficiently they can do that, the more likely they are to reduce their stress levels – thus making them more engaged with their jobs.
  • Saving resources. Because employees can use their own smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices, it allows utility companies to save resources so that they can be reallocated elsewhere.
  • Reducing NTLs. OCR also helps prevent electricity fraud, which is another major source of electrical losses.