Wednesday, May 6, 2015

MLGW Votes on Buying One Million Smart Meters Over Next Five Years

The MLGW Board of Commissioners voted 3-0 and approved a vendor who will supply about a million smart meters during the next five years for the utility’s 421,000-plus customer base. The board’s action still requires a final vote by the Memphis City Council.
Smart meters measure utility use for electricity, gas and water. Currently, about 55,000 electric, gas and water smart meters are in operation at roughly 24,000 homes.

                                                MLGW Smart Meter FAQ

Who? Vendor: Elster Solutions, LLC, of Raleigh, N.C. The utility metering company supplied electric, gas and water meters for Phase 1 (55,000 meters) installation in 2014.

What? 1.14 million meters

Cost? $240 million over a period of five years

When? Once the Phase 2 project gets final approval from the City Council, plans call for installing roughly 50,000 meters each quarter for the next five years until 2020.

Where? Workers must first put in place a county-wide telecommunications infrastructure on existing utility poles. Once that is finished, MLGW will finalize exactly which areas will get smart meters first. As workers move into a new area, customers will be notified by letter 30 days in advance. If a customer wants one, no action is required. If they don’t, they can opt-out. Opt-out instructions will be explained in the notification letter.

Background: The utility company first ran a three-year test pilot program that ended in 2012 with about 1,000 electric smart meters. Once that proved successful, MLGW bought 60,000 meters and systems for $14.1 million in 2013 from Elster that are now installed outside the homes of 24,000 customers. About 3.6 percent of 24,000 customers opted out of the program.

Procedure: Once MLGW Board of Commissioners approves the minutes May 20, the project goes to the City Council’s MLGW Committee and then for a full vote of the Memphis City Council.
 Smart Meter Myths & Realities

Myth:  Smart meters will spy on me.  Reality:  Like your existing utility meters, smart meters measure how much electricity, gas or water has been used. It sends that information to MLGW. That’s it. A smart meter doesn’t know which room you are in or when your toaster is on.

Myth:  MLGW will share my smart meter data without my knowledge or consent. RealityTennessee state law doesn’t allow it. Only MLGW and contracted vendors who provide data analysis will have access to that information.

Myth:  Hackers can steal my meter data and use it for criminal purposes. Reality: Meter manufacturers use proprietary meter and radio frequency transmission protocols to defend against such illegal access. It is virtually impossible to match meter readings to an individual account.

Myth:  Thieves will use my smart meter signals to know when I’m not home. Reality:  Even if someone hacks into MLGW’s system, it doesn’t make your home any more vulnerable than when a thief cases your house, a stranger knocks at your unanswered door, you turn on your cell phone’s GPS feature or you post vacation plans on social media.

Myth:  Smart meters can be altered to change my meter reading. Reality:  With smart meters, the system will alert MLGW within minutes if someone is tampering with your meter.

Myth:  Smart meters cause health problems due to wireless communication signals. Reality: Like millions of devices in today’s tech-driven world—including cell or coreless phones, microwaves and wireless routers—smart meters use radio frequency (RF) signals to communicate. Smart meters operate well within the allowable RF emission standards and in no way do they cause health problems.

Myth:  Smart meters are less accurate than old dial-faced meters. Reality:  Analog or dial-faced meters are far more likely to be inaccurate, as they slow down over their lifetime. 

Myth:  Smart meters cause fires. Reality:  Poor electrical connectivity causes fires — not smart meters. When lights flicker or fade, it is often the result of a building owner’s electric socket. Smart meters are an asset because they send an alert when temperatures or voltage reach certain levels. We have and will continue to send crews to investigate to keep customers safe.

Myth:  MLGW will use smart meters to raise my rates and charge me more. Reality:  Smart meters will allow new rate options, such as the optional and voluntary electric Time-of-Use rates. Customers with TOU rates pay less during low demand periods (weekends) and more during high demand periods (weekday afternoons). This gives customers more control over their utility bill and provides the customers with a real opportunity to save a substantial amount of money.

Myth:  Smart meters eliminate jobs. Reality: About 175 positions will be eliminated through attrition. Some workers are currently being retrained for other jobs. MLGW will continue to retrain displaced employees. Eliminating positions through attrition will substantially reduce operating costs.

Myth:  MLGW will use a smart meter to control how much utilities I use and to turn off service if they think I'm using too much. Reality:  MLGW does not monitor smart meter data in real-time, nor do we control or allot how much electricity, gas or water a household uses. 

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...