Thursday, December 3, 2015

Smart Talk: The cost for full small meter deployment

MLGW's proposed contract for full deployment of smart meters was brought before Memphis City Council’s MLGW Committee on June 2, 2015. Following a presentation by MLGW to the Committee, the floor was opened to members of the public. At that time, the IBEW spokesman alleged that the Electric Power Board (EPB) of Chattanooga spent $390 million to deploy smart meters in their service territory and that based on that cost, MLGW's cost to fully deploy smart meters would be $2 billion. The spokesman further alleged that the true cost of MLGW's proposed contract with Elster was $306 million.

The truth is that EPB's smart grid project was larger in scope and involved the deployment of video, Internet services and a fiber optic network, in addition to the installation of smart meters and the accompanying distribution automation equipment. The total budget for the entire project was $227 million of which $112 million was provided by federal government stimulus funds.

EPB's total cost to install smart meters was approximately $24.5 million.

The truth is MLGW is seeking approval to spend $240 million for full-scale deployment of approximately one million smart meters. As is typical for contracts of this nature and size, included in the $240 million is $12 million for contingency. 

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