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Weights and measures agencies working to stay on top of latest technologies 

March 1-7 is National Weights and Measures Week

SLO County department celebrates National Weights and Measures Week

National Weights and Measures Week, March 1 -7 commemorates President John Adams’ signing of the first United States weights and measures law on March 2, 1799. This law ultimately led to the establishment of today’s enforcement framework assuring consumer protection and equity in the marketplace, reports San Luis Obispo County Department of Agriculture and Weights and Measures.

The theme for 2021, “Measuring Up to the New Norm” addresses the ongoing challenges that come with new technological advancements in the areas of commercial measuring and weighing devices, methods of sale, and quantity control activities. This past year with the pandemic, many have taken to alternative methods of shopping through online transactions including the expansion of grocery delivery services, curbside pick-up, and direct home deliveries through e-commerce transactions. These are just a few examples of the many online experiences, accelerating e-commerce activity throughout the country. Many of these transactions are completed without ever interacting with business personnel, relying on computer software and store employees for transactional accuracy.

Advancements in alternative fuels provide consumers options from electricity as a motor fuel to untraditional blends of biodiesel. Alternative ways of traveling, including those such as Uber or Lyft use advanced GPS and timing software to charge for distance and time traveled. These alternatives require software testing and approval for accuracy and performance standards. Many of these new technologies are discussed at the National Conference on Weights and Measures (NCWM) level where standards professionals, industry members, and regulators meet to develop future specifications and tolerances for consumer protection activities.

These type of devices and services offer exciting new opportunities for customers to explore. With these new technologies, weights and measures officials face the challenge of applying basic principles to complex technologies to protect consumers and ensure equity in the marketplace amongst competing businesses. San Luis Obispo County weights and measures officials are active members in NCWM, regularly attending annual meetings and trainings to gain insight on new technologies impacting state and county jurisdictions. County weights and measures officials continue to collaborate with officials nationwide to share experiences and knowledge on developing technologies and challenging technical issues.

From shelf to scanner, pump to vehicle, Weights and Measures Inspectors make certain customers get what they pay for. If you have been overcharged or have a complaint about the accuracy of a device, we would like to hear from you. Please contact a Weights and Measures Inspector at (805) 781-5910.

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