Utility Customers Have Questions as New Meters Replace Old Ones

As more meters are replaced with new smart ones, communication will be important as customers and utilities make the transition. As contributing editor Paul Hull points out in this month's editorial feature, meter installation isn't difficult, but it must be done correctly.

As more meters are replaced with new smart ones, communication will be important as customers and utilities make the transition. As contributing editor Paul Hull points out in this month's editorial feature, meter installation isn't difficult, but it must be done correctly. In "Meter Installation," Hull discusses what new meter installation entails for customers and utilities. Customers should have plenty of advance notice and be told what to expect: For electricity, the power will be turned off for some 30 minutes; for gas installation, the process can take up to an hour; dogs and other pets should be kept safely away from the meter; and sensitive equipment should be unplugged. And, utilities can expect questions from customers: Can the installation date be changed? Will I have to pay for the installation? How frequently do you read the meter? Hull outlines the differences in the old vs. new meters, and how meter installation should be safe and efficient for both parties.

Another feature article is Randy Marquardt's "Extending Wood Pole Life With Remedial Preservatives." Marquardt discusses how remedial treatment applications have extended wood utility poles for years, but with today's environmental issues, regulatory mandates and economic conditions, there is a greater need for utilities to safely maximize poles' lifespans. A pole's initial protective system is depleted over time for a variety of reasons, and remedial treatments extend service life by supplementing the manufacturer's original treatment. By combining the remaining original preservative with remedial treatments, utilities can protect against many wood-destroying organisms and extend the service life by years. Marquardt outlines available preservative options and encourages pole owners to choose a preservative that covers and penetrates with low toxicity and exposure risk.

Utility Products also brings you a variety of informative product focus article this month. "Conquering the Obstacles With Composite Poles" presents how utilities can successfully overcome challenges that can't always be solved with existing methods. A solution from Duratel is the composite utility pole-providing a lightweight and cost-effective system for utility transmission and distribution. Installed with less equipment and manpower than other products, composite poles also make disaster recovery much quicker.

Other product focus articles in this issue will help you save money through preventive equipment maintenance, fight copper theft with copper alternatives and protect telecommunications equipment. In addition, we have a great lineup of metering articles.

It's not too early to start thinking about the upcoming Utility Products Conference & Expo (UPCE). Taking place Jan. 29-31, 2013, in San Diego, a wide range of products and services for the utility industry will be featured. For more UPCE 2013 information or to register, please visit www.utilityproductsexpo.com.

John Tabor
Associate Editor
johnt@pennwell.com

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