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Columbia Gas begins automated meter reading program in Great Trail operating area

FPS staff report

Columbia Gas of Ohio today announced the next phase of its Automated Meter Reading (AMR) system deployment, with monthly meter readings beginning this week across the company’s Great Trail operating area.

This technology will eliminate the need to calculate customers’ gas consumption every other month and the need for customers with indoor meters to make access arrangements for Columbia’s meter readers.

Monthly meter readings will start today in Alliance, Canfield, Carrollton, Dalton, Lisbon, Minerva, Salem, Strasburg and surrounding areas.

Approximately 48,000 meters across the Great Trail operating area have been upgraded with the new AMR devices.   The installations started in late 2012 and represent a $2.2 million investment in the Great Trail operating area.  With the addition of the Great Trail area, more than 1.39 million Columbia Gas of Ohio customer meters will be read monthly.

The AMR system uses radio technology to automatically read the meter from a vehicle. As the specially equipped vehicle drives by, it receives a signal from the AMR, which in turn transmits the meter reading data to a computer in the vehicle. The AMR is powered by its own long-life battery and does not draw from a home’s electrical system.

Columbia is on pace to have nearly all of its 1.4 million meters in its service territory read monthly by March 2013. The new AMR system installation is one of a series of programs comprising Columbia’s Doing More for You commitment. These programs are designed to enhance the company’s infrastructure and customer service, and include the Accelerated Mains Replacement Program (AMRP), replacing hazardous customer service lines and offering a portfolio of money-saving energy-efficiency programs.

About Columbia Gas of Ohio
Columbia Gas of Ohio safely delivers clean and efficient natural gas to approximately 1.4 million customers in 61 of Ohio’s 88 counties. With headquarters in Columbus, it is one of the seven energy distribution companies of NiSource Inc. (NYSE: NI) and is the largest natural gas utility in the state. NiSource companies deliver energy to approximately 3.8 million customers located within the high-demand energy corridor stretching from the Gulf Coast through the Midwest to New England. More information about Columbia Gas of Ohio is available at: ColumbiaGasOhio.com. Be sure to call 811 at least two business days before you dig. For information about natural gas safety and what to do if you suspect a gas leak, go to: www.safegasohio.org.

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