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DUQUESNE LIGHT: COMPUTERS INCREASE ELECTRIC METER READING ACCURACY

 PITTSBURGH, April 19 /PRNewswire/ -- Consumers want to know they are getting what they pay for. Bob Green, manager of meter reading at Duquesne Light, wants his customers to have that security about their electric bills. That's why his meter readers use hand-held computers to take accurate readings of each customer's electric usage every month. The devices, he says, give the meter reader important information on each customer. The screen displays standard data, such as the account number and meter location, but it also displays special instructions, such as whether there is a dog to watch for or if the customer is elderly and may take extra time answering the door.
 Once at the meter, the meter reader records electricity usage information, which is automatically compared to information on the customer's past usage. The information is entered into Duquesne Light's main computer the same day. The system also includes a series of computerized checks to ensure an accurate reading has been made, Green said.
 "The computer helps make sure that the job is done right," says Green about the hand-held electronic reading device. "If the reading we enter is too high or too low when compared to the customer's normal past usage, the machine alerts the reader to reread the meter."
 While most meters are located outside, a customer with an obstructed or otherwise inaccessible electrical meter risks having electricity usage either under- or overestimated and faces unnecessary delays in receiving an accurate billing. So keeping electric meters accessible can make a difference on electric bills.
 The portable computers used by Duquesne Light are just one of the many improvements the company has made to its meter reading effort in the last 10 years. For example, the company has moved to a monthly from an every-two-months meter reading schedule. That change helps the company achieve its objective of lowering billing errors caused by inaccurate estimated charges, Green says.
 "Our goal is to assure that every customer gets an accurate bill and that the meter is checked and serviced regularly to ensure reliable service," Green added.
 -0- 4/19/93
 /CONTACT: Dennis E. O'Neil of Duquesne Light, 412-393-4060/
 (DQE)


CO: Duquesne Light Company ST: Pennsylvania IN: UTI SU:

DM -- PG010 -- 7343 04/19/93 11:20 EDT
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Publication:PR Newswire
Date:Apr 19, 1993
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