Thursday, May 31, 2012
Remote meter reading coming
By SUE WATSON
The Holly Springs Utility Department got the nod at the May 15 board of aldermen meeting to complete installation of automatic meter readers over the electricity side of the utility.
The board approved $1.325 million in bonds to finish purchasing and installing the meters over the system to residential and business customers.
The Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) system helps increase operational efficiency, improve customer service, reduce the cost of collecting data, and is useful to help customers understand their electricity consumption, according to D. Miller, office manager at HSUD.
AMR remotely collects consumption data from the customer’s utility meter using a number of technologies such as telephone, radio frequencies, and power-line. Eventually, the water and gas meters can be modified to transmit consumption data to the AMR devices, but that is further down the road, according to Billy Mack Kinard, who is heading up HSUD’s program to install the new automatic meter reading system. HSUD already has the software to read AMR meters remotely, Miller said, and is using that technology to read and monitor usage for customers whose old meters have been replaced.
Miller said the AMR meter for residential and commercial customers can be read daily to help the customer pinpoint exactly when a high usage of electricity started.
“These AMR meters are especially helpful when a customer has a question about a high bill,” Miller said. “We can pinpoint higher usage days or perhaps a period where high usage begins. For example, if a customer’s water heater or heat pump is malfunctioning, the customer may not immediately realize that there is a problem.
“By being able to review usage on an account, we can help our customers identify these types of issues and resolve them.”
Kinard said, “When a customer understands what he did to increase this power consumption, it can be corrected and a customer has more control over his power usage. Eventually customers may be able to look at their daily electricity usage.”
Kinard estimates that AMRs will replace all old meters in three to five years. The job could be completed sooner, he said.
“This system will allow our operations to be more efficient, billing to be more accurate, and will also provide our customer service employees access to more efficient information,” Kinard said. “It will also allow us to expedite our power outage response time.
“In addition to these previously mentioned benefits, we will also be able to reduce cost for manpower and fuel, which will allow us to lower our carbon emissions by reducing the number of times a customer-service truck visits a location.”
The ultimate goal of installing the AMR system is to better serve our customers, Kinard said.
HSUD general manager Don Hollingsworth is pleased with the progress in switching out old meters for the digital ones.
“When we hired Billy, he came on board and took the ‘bull by the horn’ and is working to implement these meters,” Hollingsworth said. “As with anything new, the problem we are facing today with the new meters is we have to store all the data. We had one reading a month for the last 60 years to store. Now the meter is read every 15 minutes, or 2,880 times a month. Therefore, we are reviewing different meter data management programs to handle and store all the data.”
Water expansion bids
In other action, bids were opened on the construction of a well, water tower, water storage tank, and expansion of the water system all included in the Highway 4 water project.
Contract A - water supply well
Donald Smith Inc., Shannon - $382,134
Parks and Parks Well Service, Houston - $330,300
Layne Christenson Co., Memphis - $264,400
Contract B - elevated tank
Phoenix Fabricators and Erectors, Avon, Ill., $646,917
MaGuire Iron Inc., Sioux Falls, S.D. - $798,000
Caldwell Tanks Inc., Louisville, Ky. - $626,700
Contract C - ground storage tank
Caldwell Tanks - $218,000
Southeastern Tank Inc., Lebanon, Tenn. - $140,068.60
Contract D - water system improvements, extensions
Brocato Construction, Batesville - $1,157,616.60
J Beard Construction, Richmond, MS. - $1,105,414
R Jones Underground Inc., Henderson, Tenn. - $1,165,596.16
Delta Constructors Inc., Jackson - $1,093,347
J-Mar Construction Co., Oxford - $1,357,739.75
Cleveland Construction Co., Hernando - $948,302.60
Mark Johnson Construction LLC, La. - $1,078,600
The board voted to take all bids under advisement.
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