Two meter readers bring Exelon's spirit of innovation to life.
Meter readers Jerald Fitzpatrick and Victor Beltran thought there must be a smarter, easier, and safer way to do their jobs. They work for ComEd, an Exelon subsidiary.
They decided to replace stacks of paper with a modern, hyper-efficient, smart phone app.
Jerald explains why: "We used to spend time looking up locations on a map, trying to find codes to cell towers, going through paper handouts we were given. We'd have to ask other readers about fastest routes, and wasted a lot of time calling each other about exchanges and damaged meters."
The two men built a prototype of the app on their own time. When they presented it to Supervisor Bruce Douglas and Manager Bill Walsh, they received immediate support.
According to Victor, the reaction was the same at every step in the process: "Whether it was legal, IT, or management, they were all huge fans of the idea and eager to lend their expertise so we could have it company-wide as soon as possible."
ComEd President and CEO Anne Pramaggiore said Jerald and Victor "represent the best of what can be achieved when you combine creative thinking, a solid skill set, and a willingness to add value."
The Smart Meter Reader app is a powerful tool for workers in the field.
The smartphone app speeds up the learning curve for new meter readers and significantly reduces the possibility for delays and errors. It displays relevant meter reader routes and turn-by-turn instructions via Google maps. Of course, there are safety bulletins and rules, and a list of Frequently Asked Questions.
But it goes far beyond the basics, with a breakthrough suite of capabilities.
The app serves up job-relevant information about homes and businesses along the route, like the location of the meter: Is it outside? In a basement? Is there a dog on site? Most importantly, does the dog bite? The app also supplies direct links to every police department in the service territory, as well as Exelon's own security officers.
Perhaps most impressive is this: the app even helps workers in the field communicate with customers who don't speak their language. The app has multiple language translations of "I'm from ComEd and I'm here to read your meter." Employees just select the customer's language, and press play.
This innovation won the two meter readers the ComEd "I Power Lives" award.
Jerald and Victor received one of ComEd's very highest honors. "I Power Lives" recognizes creative problem solving, out-of-the-box innovations, and contributions that make ComEd a more efficient, high-performance organization.
These two employees personify the spirit of innovation at Exelon, and both have advanced their careers. Victor is now a substation mechanic and Jerald is now a materials handler. We can't wait to see what comes next.