The advantages of AMR are many and varied, although these advantages are not always easy to quantify in pure financial terms.This has been a serious problem in the development of AMR installation programmes, but with a renewed focus on energy conservation the payback period in these times of higher gas prices,makes the economics of AMR look much better says Kieron Farry of Corona Energy
Key to the production of accurate billing, flexible procurement of gas, accurate consumption forecasting and energy efficiency initiatives is the measurement of the physical quantity of gas consumed at individual premises.Gas consumption is measured at the meter but the collection, recording and transmission of these measurements to the supplier invariably causes problems, which introduce inaccuracies to the data.
Collection is undertaken by meter reading agencies, who send individuals to physically read the meter. If access cannot be gained then no read is taken, if access is gained to the property but the meter is inaccessible no read is taken and there are numerous other reasons for a non-read. Even when reads are taken errors still occur from misreading the dials and from inaccurate recording of the data.
Data is transmitted to suppliers in a variety of ways, some electronically but often through paper based methods such as meter reading cards. Errors occur in the manual transposition of data and repeat readings are expensive.
The costs of taking meter readings varies from about £5 to £40 per read depending on the type and frequency of the read being taken.
However, what is often not considered is the cost associated with rectification of a billing query caused by an inaccurate reading.
This cost has been estimated to range from about £65 for a simple query to many hundreds of pounds for complex issues and often third party costs are incurred by customers.
The frequency of reads varies from two years, six monthly, monthly to daily depending on the consumption at the premises.
Invoicing, however, occurs monthly so any read frequency longer than monthly requires estimations being made and corrections effectively being undertaken when actual reads are taken.This results in a large number of billing queries and requires resource (cost) for both the customer and the supplier.Often the pipeline operator and meter asset manager will also get involved and these costs will ultimately be borne by the customer in the cost of gas.
Energy efficiency initiatives usually commence with an analysis of consumption data at a premise and this again relies on the accuracy of the meter read data.
Linkage of consumption to external influences, such as daily weather changes, can only be achieved with actual daily or even hourly reads, which necessitates frequent meter read information.
Creative energy procurement for a particular site may also be undertaken on a monthly or other short term basis and this also relies on accurate metering data.
Flexibility in gas procurement opens up a wide range of opportunities for cost savings to customers.
AMR provides a solution to all these issues by providing accurate meter reading data on a daily or other regular basis. It eliminates human errors and enables the transmission of the data in an electronic format suitable for billing and other analytical purposes.AMR may not be the answer to everything, but it sure would make life easier!
Corona Energy has been awarded the contract to supply natural gas to all British Telecommunications plc (BT) sites in the UK for the next three years. Supply to the BT portfolio of over 1400 sites commenced in September 2005 and the transfer process ran very smoothly thanks to close cooperation between the outgoing supplier, BT and Corona Energy's administration team.
The contract was awarded after 5 months of rigorous negotiations with senior BT personnel, who not only visited Corona Energy's offices and
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