Customers in Grand Rapids will experience the benefits of new natural gas meters this year, as DTE Energy expands its advanced meter program.
Older meters are being upgraded with a new module on the face of the device that enables DTE employees to read the meter with mobile data collection equipment. On average, the new meters can be read from about 1,000 feet, depending on topography and surrounding buildings.
This is more convenient for customers who do not have to be present to allow DTE employees access to their property for meter-reading purposes. The advanced meters also eliminate the need for estimated meter reads and provide more accurate data.
DTE began installing advanced meters in 2010 throughout its West, Central and Northern Michigan service territories as well as the Upper Peninsula. The new meter program, known as Automated Meter Reading (AMR), is about 94% complete in those regions. Grand Rapids customers were added to the program this year. DTE expects to complete this final phase of AMR installation in 2018.
Since 2010, AMR has provided significant savings to DTE, which helps the company control costs and maintain affordability for its natural gas customers. As meters are upgraded, they undergo a safety inspection to ensure proper operation.
DTE is also increasing the pace of natural gas pipeline upgrades this year, including work in Muskegon, Belding and Grand Rapids. Overall, the company plans to modernize 140 miles of main pipeline and 320 miles of service lines.
Under DTE’s Gas Renewal and Meter Move Out programs, customers in southeast Michigan are also receiving upgraded natural gas meters.