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States Examine LDC Metering Rules

Fortnightly Magazine - September 1 1996

Utilities in two states have taken steps to exert tighter control over meter-reading services.

The Michigan

Public Service Commission (PSC) has authorized Consumers Power Co., a local distribution company (LDC), to revise its operating rules governing centrally metered service installations. The PSC said that the LDC had agreed it would install, own, and maintain all meter facilities (em including service lines from the outlet side of the meter to the above-ground shutoff (em rendering the safety considerations the same as if the facilities were individually metered. Re Consumers Power Co., Case No. U-11012, May 23, 1996 (Mi.P.S.C.).

The Iowa Utilities Board (IUB) has authorized a pilot program under which Peoples Natural Gas Co., a division of Utilicorp United, Inc. and an LDC, would perform bimonthly meter readings for all of its residential customers during May-October of 1996 and 1997. Arguing in favor of the pilot, the LDC pointed out that it has previously had to hire temporary meter readers and pay overtime costs so that permanent meter readers may go on summer vacation. The utility will estimate customer bills when an actual reading is not scheduled.

The IUB concluded that the pilot would be useful in determining whether monthly readings are justified. It also noted that minimal cost-shifting would occur because the program would run only during months when usage is traditionally low. Re Peoples Natural Gas Co., a division of Utilicorp United, Inc., Docket No. WRU-96-7-225, May 22, 1996 (Iowa U.B.).

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