Utility Access with dogs

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solarix
solarix Solar Expert Posts: 713 ✭✭
I'm trying to find a solution to providing utility access when a dog is present. Our utility company here uses a special kwh meter with solar installations that require the meter reader to physically touch the meter and as such is a problem providing access with customers that have dogs and fences. I've tried the "moving the service entry outside the fence solution" once already and that sucks. Choosing between the dog and solar usually leads to the wrong choice in my opinion. The utility is awfully unreasonable about this policy and there is no wiggle room there. They have started using remote monitoring of meters in a few areas, but not here.
Does anyone have of a reasonable solution to this problem? Thanks

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  • mike95490
    mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,583 ✭✭✭✭✭
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    Re: Utility Access with dogs
    solarix wrote: »
    I'm trying to find a solution to providing utility access when a dog is present. Our utility company here uses a special kwh meter with solar installations that require the meter reader to physically touch the meter and as such is a problem providing access with customers that have dogs and fences. I've tried the "moving the service entry outside the fence solution" once already and that sucks. Choosing between the dog and solar usually leads to the wrong choice in my opinion. The utility is awfully unreasonable about this policy and there is no wiggle room there. They have started using remote monitoring of meters in a few areas, but not here.
    Does anyone have of a reasonable solution to this problem? Thanks

    In a couple years, the "smart grid" meters, will be read by RF. Maybe you can apply to be an early adopter. Or revert back to the old method.

    In the past, the readers found other ways (binoculars) to solve the problem. But if you want the electric co to give you power, they want to read the meter.
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  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,533 admin
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    Re: Utility Access with dogs

    Sounds like the Utility wants to use the IR data link with the meter...

    I would guess that they are not just after the kWhrs used--they are after the "extra logging" information available form an electronic meter. They may also be looking for any evidence of Power Theft (could be difficult to tell the difference between a working solar system vs bypassed meter without the "extra data").

    In our area, they would give dates (up to a year in advance) of scheduled meter readings... Short of putting the dog "away" on those dates, or asking or a waiver (reading every two months, estimate bill on "odd months", etc.), or making a "IR" repeater that can work with the meter... I am not sure where to go from here.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • hillbilly
    hillbilly Solar Expert Posts: 334 ✭✭
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    Doggie bisucit

    Perhaps you could supply the utility company with a HUGE box of doggie treats? I'm mostly kidding, but I will say this; our dogs go nuts whenever they see a man or woman in a UPS uniform because our delivery driver always has a biscuit or three for them (they get excited at the sight of one of those brown vans, and even recognize the sound of the van well before we can see it coming). Otherwise, as Bill said you would think that they could at least make their meter readings scheduled ahead of time so you could take the dog in?
    Good luck.
  • Jburgess
    Jburgess Solar Expert Posts: 130 ✭✭✭
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    Re: Doggie bisucit

    Solarix,

    The issue is not just meter reading, assuming SRP is your provider, it is access to the lockable disconnect they require for the solar system that they also require to be next to the meter.

    They have no issue with goats, just dogs, my meter is in the pasture.

    Yes to Bill, they log more than just the net KWH. They also log power back fed to grid as well as power factor. On a separate meter they log the output of the solar system as well as reverse power to the solar system.

    Also read is WH per revolution of the (imaginary) disk, and WH per pulse (24 pulses per revaluation of the disk) I guess there are creative people who reprogram their meters out there.

    The most common type of meter I have seen them use for solar metering is the Alpha plus type AIRL+ which host a variety other power quality measurements. They use the same meter for both the output of the solar system as well as the net meter for the house.
  • russ
    russ Solar Expert Posts: 593 ✭✭
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    Re: Utility Access with dogs

    I have trouble seeing the utility company as being 'unreasonable'.

    No reason for the reader to have to put up with nasty mutts to do their job.

    The meter needs to be in what they (the utility) considers a reasonable and accessible location.
  • hillbilly
    hillbilly Solar Expert Posts: 334 ✭✭
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    Re: Utility Access with dogs
    russ wrote: »
    No reason for the reader to have to put up with nasty mutts to do their job.

    Ouch, that's a tad harsh. Perhaps his dog is a very well behaved and sweet dog... or maybe not... dunno. Obviously the utility meter readers need to have the ability safely check the meter. Some dogs (many) would be a dangerous hassle to have to deal with, but there are plenty of dogs out there that would not be a threat, and furthermore if the utility company were "reasonable" I would hope that they would be open to some sort of creative solutions (that was my take on the OP's issue).
  • dwh
    dwh Solar Expert Posts: 1,341 ✭✭✭
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    Re: Utility Access with dogs
    solarix wrote: »
    I've tried the "moving the service entry outside the fence solution" once already and that sucks.

    That is, unfortunately, usually the only decent solution.

    Here is Los Angeles, we have to call the Department of Water and Power (DWP) to send out a "spotter". He's a field engineer and he decides where the meter will be. He'll do a diagram on an official form and give you a copy.

    If he thinks there will be a problem with access or sight lines or a pole drop over a swimming pool or whatever, he can and will require the meter to be where they need it...sometimes even on the FRONT of the house.

    If I were you, I would see if your utility has someone that does that job. Let them come out and decide where the meter should be, then do it that way. If the homeowner doesn't like it, you are covered because you are complying with the utility's requirements.

    If the utility doesn't require the meter to be outside the fence, then it's up to them to deal with the dog problem by making an appointment. I know for a fact that DWP *can* be finagled into evening or even weekend appointments.