It is NO LONGER necessary to manually enter your gas meter reading as we have switched to Automated Meter Readings. 

 

The County of Vermilion River Gas Utility is pleased to announce an upgrade to our meter reading technology.  The meter upgrade is the replacement of the current read index with an ERT (Encoder, Receiver and Transmitter) device. The ERT allows for AMR (Automated Meter Reading) to occur via a radio frequency where the read is received without having to enter the premises. 

Some of the benefits that AMR will offer include:

  • The elimination of customers having to read their meter every month
  • County employees will no longer need to go into customers premises except for scheduled system maintenance and emergencies
  • The system can also be more accurately balanced therefore creating efficiencies that in turn generate cost savings that will eventually be seen by end users
  • Labour used to get monthly reads can be redirected into other areas of the gas utility such as system maintenance and construction.

For further information you can contact the County of Vermilion River at (780)846-2222

For information about Radio Frequency Emissions for Itron 100G Gas Electronic Radio Transmitters please click here.

 

Why We Read Your Gas Meter

Meter reads are important to us in many different ways: 

  • It allows for us to pinpoint areas of gas loss on the low pressure pipelines due to line cuts, rodent chews and failed meters.
  • It helps us monitor areas for gas volume, used for future development.
  • It is used for assisting us in gas system balancing.
  • It allows for Accurate billing, avoiding unexpected high bills through estimating.
  • It eliminates the need to reallocate valuable gas utility resources to read residential meters. 

The gas utility pays for all gas as it enters the pipelines. If that gas never reaches an end customer due to a leak or failure, this money must be recovered in the gas rate to meet our budget. 

Reading meters at the end of each month can save you money and you will continue to receive excellent gas rates, service charge and possibly rebates. 

The County of Vermilion River Natural Gas Utility has installed a System Control And Data Analysis (SCADA) monitoring system on our high pressure pipelines.
 
Since the start of the installation, SCADA has detected and alarmed us of gas loss problem due to line cuts, lightning strikes and pipeline failures. Low volume and low pressure alarms have detected pipeline and station problems in the winter, enabling our utility to resolve problems before they become critical to our customers.
 
To utilize the SCADA systems as efficiently as possible, we rely on meter reads to pinpoint areas of gas loss on low pressure pipelines.
 
Causes of gas loss on low pressure lines can be the result of:
  • Rodent chews
  • Pipeline failure
  • Failed meters
  • Fencing
  • Construction by contractor of homeowner
By reading meters, we are able to quickly identify the location of a leak.
 
The County of Vermilion River owns and operates one the largest rural natural gas systems with approximately 4300 km of pipe. We also supply and transport more gas than any other Rural Utility in the Province of Alberta. By not sending in your meter reads, the time and manpower to isolate and resolve problems costs you money.
 

AMR Frequently Asked Questions

Q. Are Smart Meters created by installing this technology?

The term Smart Meter is commonly used in the electricity industry to describe a meter that may both measure and control the amount of electricity being used.  County of Vermilion River Gas Utilities AMR program involves installing a battery powered index on the current gas meter that facilitates remote meter reading without the need to enter the premises.  In no way does this technology control gas usage or transmit data other than the meter read.

Q. Can there be health hazards due to the Radio Frequency (RF) technology in use?

No.  Health Canada clearly states that exposure to RF energy from technology such as this does not present a health hazard.  The AMR device is in the same frequency range as common household devices such as cordless phones (different than cellular phones) and baby monitors.

Q. Is it possible that meters in close proximity to other wireless devices experience interference?

AMR is a tested and industry approved technology that has been in use for over 20 years.  Interference from cell towers and power lines will not occur.  Software installed with AMR devices offer further checks and balances to confirm precise readings and communication.

Q. How does the mobile collector function?

As a CVR Gas Utility employee or contractor drives/walks/flies through an area that has had AMR completely installed, the mobile collector emits a signal through a radio frequency to gather only meter readings.  The meter reads can then be downloaded to a computer program for further processing.

Q. What is the estimated life of the batteries in the AMR devices?

The AMR device uses very little energy therefore the one battery that powers the device lasts approximately 20 years.

Q. Is AMR easily tampered with?

No.  Internal sensors detect and immediately relay any damage to the device to the mobile collector.  Also the index also has a security seal to prevent tampering.

Q. Is customer information secure?

The only data that is relayed is the identification number of the AMR device and the meter read itself.  No other personal information is transmitted or used.

Q. Will AMR cause interference with other devices that function via radio frequencies?

No.  The ERT can use multiple radio frequencies to prevent interference with other electronic devices.  If interference is detected when the ERT is transmitting the meter reading signal, it will shift to another frequency within seconds.