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WM Utilities move to automated metering

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New meters will streamline monitoring, improve accuracy for customers, city

[email protected] How much do those Christmas lights impact your power bill? What about the increased bill for summertime water consumption for the lawn, gardening or the kiddie pool?

What are the times of day heating and air conditioning run the most at your home?

West Memphis Utilities customers can soon enjoy tracking their water and power consumption as the city utilities announced a move to automated metering. Utilities commissioners undertook the move to automated metering during its November meeting.

Ultimately city council must approve the automation through three readings at its meetings in March and April for full automated deployment by the end of next year.

Commissioners heard the advantages of automated metering infrastructure (AMI) for both the city utility and for its cus-

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Photo courtesy of the City of West Memphis METERS (cont.)

tomers. The utilities company would reap savings with reductions of in-person meter reading and in billing office time.

Reconnects and disconnects happen promptly though remote control when customers announce moving though the automated system. Customers would enjoy more accurate meter reads along with constant metering access through a personal portal to make water and electric consumption decisions.

Cyber security concerns expressed by commissioners for the cloud based AMI system would be handled through encryption and signal hopping to prevent

Commissioners picked a consulting contractor, Tantulus, selected to organize the move to AMI, from a list of competitive bidders. Almost 3,000 electric meters were set for retrofitting in the city which carried a fifteen year expected lifespan.

'This could be paid for by the bond issues, the capital expenditures for this thing,' said Utilities General Manager Todd Pedersen.

West Memphis Utilities representatives toured the Poplar Bluff Utility that already used Tantulus to guide them through the move to AMI.

'When we visited, everything

heard,' said Pedersen.

'Billing is so much cleaner and and accurate. Several cities have moved to this.

We have the money in this year's budget to move forward with a pilot project.'

The city undertook a $30 million construction bond issue to pay for all the utilities upgrades mandated by the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality.

The bond money remained on track to be cash-on-hand

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