GREENSBURG, Ind. (Nov. 2, 2015)-- Vectren employees have started installing new automated meter readers across Indiana in an effort to reduce estimated reads and unexpected bills for customers.
“(The automated meter readers) will eliminate issues that we have associated with walking meter reader routes such as weather, meter reader turnover and then the access to locked gates sometimes, which prevent us from obtaining actual reads," Vectren's Director of Corporate Communications Natalie Hedde said. "We are excited to bring the customer enhancement to our customers across the state.”
The new technology is part of Vectren's Natural Gas Modernization plan and the company started installing the new meters in August. In November, employees began updating meters in the city of Greensburg, which had hundreds of customers receive abnormally high bills earlier this year.
The company's president, Mike Roeder, said contracted meter-reader falsified readings in the winter months to speed up their work day. It's a practice known as "curbing." As a result, Vectren customers received abnormally low bills.
“We weren’t prepared for the large bill that we got which was three to four times the amount that we would had budgeted for and reflected the previous year’s usage," Greensburg business owner Joe Rust said.
Vectren fired the two employees this summer after they made up the readings.
“I believe that obviously you can’t trust the contractors that they are sending out so I believe the electronic reading should provide accurate information," Rust said.
Greensburg Mayor Gary Herbert said what happened in Greensburg was unexpected, but is pleased with the way the company has handled the situation moving forward.
"I think Vectren is fulfilling their responsibilities in what they said they would do," Herbert said. "Everything they’re doing is to improve the system. You know for the customer and themselves. It’s a win, win for both.”
To find out when Vectren will install the new automated meter readers in your county click here.