Simply put: manual meter readings are unnecessary when a customer is already on-site. At best, manually reading meters is inefficient, costly, and menial. However, they are also necessary, so they can’t be outsourced or removed entirely. Instead, technicians’ time could be better spent doing these readings without travel or having to split their attention between two tasks.
Here’s how virtual meter readings make life better for technicians and impact the bottom line.
1. Reduce travel to save time and money
Right now, customers often submit a monthly read using a photograph. A video session would ensure more accurate reads and consolidate all customer data in one location.
Every time a technician has to drive to a site, it costs time and money. Not only are technicians spending time on the road (instead of leveraging their expertise to help clients), but you have multiple different costs: fuel, maintenance, wear and tear, insurance, and potential hazard or disability pay if an accident happens.
Virtual meter reading with purpose-built video tools for utility companies solves this problem: Technicians have more available time to work with customers and reducing truck rolls saves significant money (one ICwhatUC customer saved $135,000 per day).
2. Eliminate the need for RF meters
Radio Frequency (RF) meters are costly to buy or rent, so most utilities only reserve them for sites that post a safety risk or are hard to access by technicians.
New purpose-built tools like ICwhatUC and Acuity scheduling enables technicians to schedule readings far ahead of time so home and business owners are prepared, improving organization and efficiency (and potentially eliminating the need for RF meters in all but the most high-risk assessments).
3. Reduce truck rolls for damaged meter assessment
Assessing a damaged meter usually involves at least two truck rolls: one to assess and one to fix. Virtual service would all but eliminate the first truck roll, enabling technicians to assess things over video instead of driving out. This not only gives the benefits of reduced truck rolls - like technicians being able to help more customers - but it provides a better experience for customers who have meters inside their homes or businesses.
4. Video resources provide training guides and liability coverage
Using virtual assessments, technicians and utilities can see the work ahead of time, eliminating a truck roll and making it easier to approve plans prior to undergoing any civil work on a property.
After the fact, these videos become incredibly helpful for two things:
- Training new technicians: You’ll build up a library of videos showcasing each problem and how it was fixed.
- Liability coverage: If there are any issues with the customer, your video footage gives you evidence of the issues that were present and the work you did to fix it.
Virtual assessments are not about using technology for its own sake. Instead, purpose-built virtual work platforms are created to fit into how electric and utility companies actually work. These platforms help to make existing processes more efficient, safer, and provide a higher quality customer experience. All of this opens up massive business opportunities as well, potentially delivering better customers and higher revenues.