Automated Meter Reading (AMR) FAQs

Find answers to common questions from customers.

AMR is a method of remotely reading meters using advanced communication technology.

AMR ensures accurate meter reads and improves billing accuracy. AMR will eliminate the need for PNG employees to access private property or enter gated yards to obtain reads increasing convenience for the customer. It also allows a meter reader to collect data from more meters in a shorter time than manually reading and inputting data from meters. AMR also reduces numerous safety risks for PNG employees.

Implementing AMR systems involves attaching a device called an encoder receiver transmitter (ERT) to your existing meter. It encodes consumption information and transmits the data to remote mobile data collectors using drive-by collection technology. After the readings are gathered, they are automatically uploaded to the billing system for billing purposes.

AMR meter reading will ensure accurate readings for each billing period and eliminate the use of estimates for properties that couldn’t be accessed due to locked gates, animals or weather.

No. Automated Meter Reading using the encoder receiver transmitter (ERT) is a technology that uses one-way communication.

Smart meters are more sophisticated and provide two-way communication between your meter and the utility, providing real-time details of energy use. The AMR system uses the existing gas meter and provides one-way communication to a drive-by mobile collection device.

No.

No. According to Health Canada, RF from the AMR ERT module does not pose a health risk. The ERT module uses the same frequency range as baby monitors and cordless phones (not to be confused with cellular phones).

Safety is a top priority for PNG. The new ERT module conforms with Industry Canada standards for radio frequency safety. The modules will be installed outside on the meter. Unlike other wireless technology, these ERTs use low power signals—about one watt. The radio signal exposure is less than 1.5% of Canadian exposure limits (Safety Code 6, 2015) for someone standing 20 cm away from the meter.

 Comparison of RF from ERT modules against other household appliances

Device                
Industry Canada Allowable at 900 MHz 6,455
Itron ERT (maximum output at 20cm) 94
Standard Cellphone (at 10 cm) 101
Standard Microwave (at 20 cm) 3,110

 

No. The ERT operates on many different frequencies to avoid interference with other devices. If interference is detected when meter reading data is being sent, the ERT switches to another frequency.

The only data transmitted to the mobile collector is the unique identification number of the meter and the data that indicates the amount of natural gas consumed. No customer information (name, address, phone number, etc.) is collected, so your privacy is protected.

No. The ERT installation will take one of our trained service personnel only 10 – 15 minutes to complete and there will be no interruption to service during this process. As long as there is access to your meter, no one needs to be home when we arrive to do the installation. Service representatives will follow all COVID-19 safety protocols including minimizing in-person interactions wherever possible.

PNG will still need to gain periodic access to your meter for safety inspections and routine maintenance or meter replacement.

No, there is no additional charge for AMR. In fact, AMR is expected to result in cost savings for PNG customers over the life of the technology.

PNG is committed to evolving our business and personnel to best meet our customers’ needs. AMR is an opportunity to enhance service while lowering costs.

Unfortunately, we knew this would impact our meter reading personnel. To help prepare our employees for this transition, PNG has been offering many training opportunities and potential internal job opportunities based on their qualifications.

This device is authorized for use in Canada by Industry Canada and is designed to operate within Measurement Canada’s Standards.

Yes. You can opt-out before an ERT is installed at your home with no upfront charge.  However, a $30 bi-monthly charge will be applied to your bills to cover the costs of having the meter manually read every second month.

If you chose to opt-out after the ERT is installed you will be billed a $60 opt-out fee to cover the cost of have a technician travel to your home and remove the ERT. You will also be billed a $30 bi-monthly charge to cover the costs of having the meter manually read every second month.

If you move and wish to have the ERT removed from your new premise the $60 upfront opt-out charge will apply at your new premise

If a customer wishes to have an ERT installed after opting out, the $60 fee will apply for the installation of the ERT but the customer will no longer be billed the $30 bi-monthly fee.

Installations will begin in Tumbler Ridge the week of February 15.

Following Tumbler Ridge, installations are scheduled to begin in March for Dawson Creek and the surrounding area, then moving to Fort St. John and the surrounding area, which will be completed by late summer.

Each installation will typically take less than 15 minutes with no interruption to gas service during this process. As long as a customer’s meter is accessible, no one needs to be home for the ERT installation.

Stratocom is PNG’s installation contractor for the Itron ERT technology

All Stratocom installers and vehicles will carry identification clearly indicating that they are contracted by PNG.

For more information, please send an email to AMRproject@png.ca or contact 1-800-667-2836.