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ST. LOUIS (KSDK) - No doubt things aren't the way they used to be and Ameren Missouri doesn't read meters like they used to.

"As a leader in the industry we saw a chance to evolve back in the 1990's we partnered with a company to come up with a way to remotely read the meters," explains John Herron, Supervising Engineer Metering and Revenue Protection.

So these days no one has to carefully step through your yard or battle the barks and hope there's no bite, it's all done through a tiny transmitter.

"This gray box right here is the transmitter and this transmitter sends out the usage data over a wireless network very similar to how a cell phone works," Herron goes on to explain.

And before any of the meters go out they're tested here to make sure they're 100 percent accurate.

Of course, what these meters are reading determines how much your bill will be and there are several things you can do to make sure that bill is a little less.

"A lot of people don't understand the value of a tune-up for their air conditioning system, but it really makes sense to do that this time of year because it not only makes the life last longer, but it runs more efficiently and costs you less money in the summer time," Cara Dolly, Manager Energy Efficiency points out.

Changing the light bulbs which seems rather simple is actually a pretty big deal.

"11 percent of the households energy costs are in lighting and on the personal energy report right now we have a four pack of LEDs they can order online with free shipping and it's only $19.95 which is a really great deal," Dolly adds.

If you have an old refrigerator in the basement as a back-up it's also adding about 100 dollars to your bill each year and in case you didn't know Ameren will take it.

"We'll give you $50 and we pick it up that's the great thing," Dolly says.

But here's the best tip of all.

"Energy not used is the cheapest energy," Dolly goes on to say.

So turn off and unplug when possible the pennies saved will add up.

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