Customer Service Technology Strikes Back

Customer Service Technology Strikes Back

Gulf Power Co. introduced a program which allows customers to reduce their monthly bills by purchasing electricity at off-peak hours when it is less expensive. The customer-service technology is called the Automated Energy Management (AEM) System. Customers control purchases by programming their HVAC system, pool pump and water heater through a computerized thermostat connected directly to the utility`s computers.

Located in an area recognized as having the third most lightning strikes in the world, Gulf Power decided it needed to safeguard its investment in this technology from the potential damage of electrical surges. This has been accomplished with the installation of the Meter-Treater, a whole-house, meter-based surge protector designed to protect household electrical appliances, equipment and computers.

Customer service satisfaction and ease of installation are just two of the reasons such “value-added” products have caught the attention of utility customers. Other important factors include:

protecting customers from potential damage resulting from surges;

improving equipment life span by reducing insulation breakdown; and

increasing productivity by reducing equipment downtime.

According to Steve Higginbottom of Gulf Power, “We included Meter-Treater as part of our program because the AEM systems can be damaged by lightning surges.” Another benefit to safeguarding the automated utility system is the protection of the customer`s personal electrical equipment. Higginbottom said the company has had no reports of damage to electrical appliances or AEM systems that are protected by the Meter-Treater.

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The Clarion Energy Content Team is made up of editors from various publications, including POWERGRID International, Power Engineering, Renewable Energy World, Hydro Review, Smart Energy International, and Power Engineering International. Contact the content lead for this publication at

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