Customers' Rates Not Raised to Pay for New Meter Reading Technology
MidAmerican Energy has begun the process of installing automated meter reading technology for customers in Storm Lake and the surrounding area.
The technology being installed in residential customers' homes and most business customers' premises will enable MidAmerican Energy to obtain energy usage information remotely. The new meters will be equipped with a radio transmitter capable of sending data to radio receivers in company vehicles. As these company vehicles drive through an area, energy usage information is transmitted to a receiver in the vehicle, which uploads the information to MidAmerican Energy's billing system.
"For customers, it will eliminate the need to set up an appointment to have meters read or because a pet needs to be restrained. It also will help curtail estimated bill readings," said Terry Ousley, vice president of customer satisfaction at MidAmerican Energy. "Automated meter reading has become more efficient and cost-effective than traditional meter reading practices.
"This is part of MidAmerican Energy's ongoing effort to provide excellent customer service, operate efficiently and keep electric rates stable," Ousley said.
The company still will need access to inside natural gas meters for natural gas leak surveys and corrosion inspections every three years.
The automated meter reading technology also provides a migration path for further enhancements in the level of energy usage information exchanged between customers and MidAmerican Energy as cost-effective technologies are developed.
Installation of the new equipment began this week and will continue for the next few months. MidAmerican began the change-out in equipment across the company's service territory in the summer of 2007 and anticipates completion across the service territory by the end of 2009.
Customers' electric rates will not be impacted by the installation of the new equipment. MidAmerican Energy has committed to keeping Iowa electric rates stable, and the company has no plans to raise customers' electric rates in Illinois or South Dakota. MidAmerican Energy electric customers last experienced a rate increase in 1995.
MidAmerican Energy Company, Iowa's largest energy company, provides electric service to 722,000 customers and natural gas service to 702,000 customers in Iowa, Illinois, Nebraska and South Dakota. It is headquartered in Des Moines, Iowa. Information about MidAmerican is available on the Internet at www.midamericanenergy.com
A demonstration of the meter installation is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Thursday, Nov. 20, at a residential property located at 1128 Seneca St., in Storm Lake. Members of the news media are invited to attend the event where MidAmerican personnel will be on hand to answer questions.