energy meter

OCR scanning solutions can improve utility workforce equipment

Lukas Moshuber

Product Manager at Anyline

Jan 14, 2022

There is a lot of travel each day for utility workers. They must move across many locations – point to point – address to address – neighborhood to neighborhood. To get the most done in a day, they must rely on their tools, good meter reading equipment, which need to be reliable, long-lasting and ‘just work’ when required.
As utilities continue to add digital options for their customers and employees, their workers find themselves relying on digital tools more often. In this blog, we look at meter reading tools as they apply in the following:

1. What problems are there with the current status quo?

Homeowners, tenants, and business owners are familiar with meter reading and expect regular visits from meter readers. But while the meter reading process is usually smooth, there are numerous inconveniences associated with the service, and issues occasionally arise during inspections.

The process is not efficient

Since the homeowner or tenant must be present for the meter to be read, it causes inconveniences for the meter reader who must wait or travel back to the location. It is also time-consuming for customers at that address who must wait at home for the meter reader to arrive.

A method that would streamline the meter reading process would therefore be a huge time-saver for everyone involved.

Meter data is often not entered correctly

Mistakes are part of life, especially when data entering is manual. Even when data is written down first and then entered, mistakes can happen. There are many reasons why false data is entered – not paying close attention, interruptions from the homeowner, tiredness and more. When mistakes occur, the meter reader must return to the meter and re-read it. That process is highly inefficient, drives up the labor cost, and lowers customer satisfaction.

Wasting resources

The most significant and costly resource wasted in this process is the poor use of time and labor. How many hours per day are wasted or non-productive during physical data collection? The timer starts when the meter reader leaves point A to get to point B.

3. What are the benefits of mobile meter reading solutions?

They do provide a technical solution, including the reduction or elimination of false data energy and the reduction of wasted time revisiting meters. In addition, there are other benefits, such as:

Accuracy

You gain an accuracy rating of 99% with OCR technology.This means when empowered with OCR scanning solutions, it is almost impossible to have defective data.

Time-saving and Increased Efficiency

OCR helps decrease the amount of time it takes to read the meter and input the data accurately. As a result, the OCR boosts employee efficiency, meaning fewer hours and a cost-saving opportunity. In addition, the rate is around 20x faster than manually reading the meter and entering the data.

Less stress

With increased efficiency and accuracy, employees feel less stress and anxiety. In addition, because the mobile OCR makes reading meters easier, employees can excel at what they do and accomplish more in a day than they used to do with the manual meter reading. That is a benefit that also means cost-savings for utility companies.

Saving resources

The decrease in labor means fewer expenditures and employees can perform better and read more meters within the same timespan. With fewer data errors, bills are accurate and there are less risks to delay payment. There is less argument with quality digital information with customers as the easy-to-use system allows for photographs of the meter to become part of the invoice.

Another significant savings feature is that there is no out-of-pocket expense to start since the employee can use their own cell phone or provide a smart device. There is no need to buy fancy and expensive scanners.