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Some unhappy with installation of state-mandated meters

By Adam Klein, 69 News Photojournalist
Published On: Sep 23 2012 07:00:00 PM CDT
Updated On: Sep 24 2012 05:14:22 PM CDT

UGI said it's spending billions of dollars over the next 10 years to keep its customers safe.

READING, Pa. -

UGI said it's spending billions of dollars in its latest endeavor to provide safer and reliable natural gas service to customers.

The Reading-based company is replacing all of its older, non-contemporary pipes with newer ones in a project that is expected to take several years, said UGI spokesman Joseph Swope.

"By the time we're done replacing all of our infrastructure, we actually anticipate on spending over a billion dollars," said Swope.

One of the changes UGI customers will see are gas meters located inside homes.

"There is a proposed rule from the Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission that requires in most cases that residential meters be located outside," said Swope.

Gas meters located outside homes is not sitting well with UGI customers like Jesse Olmeda, who lives on North 12th Street in Reading. Olmeda said the meters stick out like sore thumbs right outside their homes.

"They're trying to make Reading look nicer, and then they put these metal boxes in front of everybody's house. It just looks ugly," said Olmeda.

UGI provides services to 45 counties in Pennsylvania. Swope said the new meters are much safer for their customers.

"In terms of an emergency situation, it provides us the opportunity to turn gas off much more quickly and get access to the meter. There's a number of safety provisions on the meters outside including excess flow limiter," said Swope. "So if the meter is damaged, the flow of gas will shut off."

UGI is currently looking at installing smaller meters for customers living in cities. That way, Swope said, the meters will not be as noticeable.