Utility workers often have to go to remote locations or reach inconvenient spots to access energy meters and record data. This can make it a challenge to keep up the pace with daily goals or quotas.
When pressed for time, workers may end up rushing the important part of their job that is reading meters and recording data accurately.
For utility providers, it’s therefore important that technicians have the right meter reading tools to complete their work both accurately and efficiently. In this blog, we will discuss:
1. How can quotas lead to data quality issues for energy providers?
Utility meter reading technicians typically have quotas to fulfil – meaning they need to collect a certain number of meter readings every day. Workers have to spend a lot of time on site to read and record the data of every meter.
Often, utility workers are pressured for time when on the job, and will need to rush some of their tasks to fulfill their daily duty.
This can become a liability for the company if workers do not pay sufficient attention when recording meter readings. Rushing meter readings can be damaging for utility providers: if the data is not recorded correctly, it doesn’t allow them to bill customers correctly and that might result in tremendous non-technical losses.
2. How can new meter reading tools lift some pressure off utility workers?
The biggest drain on the time and resources of meter reading workers is the process of manual data capture. When workers have to write down or type in each meter reading, not only is precious time lost, but the company’s valuable data is also at risk.
It doesn’t have to be this way. Using new mobile technology, utilities can automate the process of reading utility meters. Utility workers can simply scan meters with their own smartphone or mobile device. OCR (Optical Character Recognition) technology identifies the value displayed by meters and records it in milliseconds and with unmatched accuracy. It removes the need for workers to write or type down the information, and eliminates the possibility to make mistakes when recording the amount of energy consumed by customers.
It is also possible to scan other information to further document the meter reading process, such as the meter barcode or serial number that allow energy providers to confirm that the correct meter has been scanned.
3. What are the benefits of data capture for utility providers?
Data capture is a great technological asset that can benefit energy companies and help utility workers to be more efficient on the job. As we said, manually entering data is time consuming and time pressure leads to errors in recording meters with verification photos sometimes not taken.
With mobile data capture, utility workers have at their disposal tools that offers many benefits, both for them and the company:
- They can scan meters to capture the value and record data in less than a second.
- It is 99,9% accurate, and workers don’t have to make the effort to double check the value recorded.
- It works in poor environments, such as low lighting or under the rain.
- It doesn’t need an internet connection, so it can be used on site even in remote locations, where coverage can be low or absent.
In short, data capture drastically reduces the time needed by utility workers to read meters, which helps them to reach their daily goals, without compromising the quality of meter reading.
In addition to those benefits, data capture also ensures companies that the data is rightly captured and that no fraud happens during meter readings:
- The location and time of capture can be recorded
- The mobile data capture technology identifies if the energy meter scanned is real or if a photo is scanned instead
- A photo is taken when capturing data and recorded to be used as proof
4. How can utility providers integrate data capture to meter reading tools?
The great upside of data capture is that energy providers can integrate it directly into existing systems or mobile apps that workers can use on their personal devices, such as smartphones or tablets.
It helps reduce both the investment costs and the ownership costs for the company, and it makes it easier to use for workers, as they don’t have to learn how to use a new device.
Anyline utility mobile meter reading technology can be easily integrated into an app thanks to its SDK (Software Development Kit) for the fast and secure transmission of meter reading data, all thanks to the advantages that mobile data scanning provides.
Anyline Meter Reading, offers an alternative to the traditional meter reading process. It’s a state-of-the-art solution that is built from the top down to prevent typing and reading errors, among other issues. It helps save time and there is absolutely no need for an employee to sit down and log into the online portal.
Anyline’s SDK is easy to integrate and is backed up by hands-on support from customer service teams ready to help. It works with android and iOS smartphones and offers support for common integration frameworks including Xamarin, React Native, Cordova, and Flutter.
You can find out if mobile meter reading is the right solution for you by downloading our Energy & Water Demo App to test its capabilities.