Detectent has announced a strategic alliance with Contract Callers, Inc. (CCI), an Augusta, Georgia firm specializing in large-scale meter deployments. Under the terms of the alliance, Contract Callers will be able to offer their utility customers the option of using Detectent’s data analytics to identify situations of incorrect metering or tampering before meter exchange occurs.
As part of the agreement, Detectent, using its analytic methods and systems, will pre-sweep areas for metering issues and theft conditions before meters are exchanged in volume. Contract Callers field agents will install meters where no issues are detected with their usual expedience; however, in cases where issues are suspected, the account will be flagged for special procedure and handled outside of the normal process. This procedure allows the utility to capture lost revenue during the meter exchange and protect meter installation technicians against potentially hazardous and unsafe conditions caused by meter tampering.
“We have always emphasized the need to identify meter tampering ahead of deployment, not just because of the revenue opportunity, but also because of the potential safety hazards associated with a tampered meter,” said Mike Maguire, director, Business Development, Field Services Division for Contract Callers. “Detectent’s advanced customer analytic capabilities allow CCI to help our utility customers maximize their investment in their metering infrastructure while we ensure that their needs are met safely. Detectent’s pre-sweep operation brings additional value to the utility and protects employees, utility personnel and the public from any hazardous conditions associated with tampered meters.”
With this solution, Contract Callers and Detectent will be able to identify cases of suspected theft or incorrect metering condition prior to a meter exchange and flag those accounts for special handling procedures. These procedures include documenting the meter in its “as found” condition, recording evidence of tampering, and handling evidence appropriately to ensure the utility recovers the maximum revenue possible.
Another prime benefit to identifying under-metered conditions during smart meter deployment is customer satisfaction and managing customer perception. Failure to notify a customer that a meter was under-recording energy use can lead to significant customer dissatisfaction. Pacific Gas and Electric (PG&E) recently halted its smart grid deployment in Bakersfield, California, due to a lawsuit brought about by one of its customers alleging that the new PG&E smart meter is overcharging him. “By Contract Callers using our Customer Intelligence Systems, we can identify under-metered situations prior to a meter exchange allowing the utility to deal with potential customer satisfaction issues proactively,” said Madrazo.