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Metering infrastructure to headline council workshop

by Minden Press-Herald

The automatic metering infrastructure will top the agenda for a Minden City Council workshop set for 9:30 a.m. Thursday.

Mayor Tommy Davis says the council will further discuss the company they intend to choose to install new electric and water meters throughout the city, both residential and commercial.
“We’re meeting with them getting ready to actually implement it,” he said, “but the council has to ultimately approve it. And that’s what the workshop is for so that we can talk about it and everybody can understand how we’re going to pay for it. This will be all new electric meters, all new water meters.”

Out of three requests for proposals, Aqua Metric, of Brady, Texas, is the company that came in with the lowest bid, at $2,640,813.

If approved by the council, it will then take four months to install the electronics of the system, the repeater towers, the equipment needed inside city hall and the software for the program. Once that is complete, Davis says it will be up to a year before all the meters are replaced. Until then, meters will be manually read and billing will continue as is.

One of the biggest advantages of having automatic meter reading is all the meters will be read in one day, he said. This will not only streamline meter reading, but it will also increase the accuracy of the reading.

“Right now, the meters are not being read at the same time, because it takes time,” he said. “Meter readers are reading meters every day somewhere in town. Sometimes your bill might be a 27-day read or it might be a 33-day read. Your bill will fluctuate since the last reading. On the automatic meters, everybody’s meter can be read at the same time within a matter of minutes. It’s all done by radio.”

It will also show customers where they might have leaks or the date and time of their highest water or electric usage.

Any drawback to the automatic system will be increased bills, Davis says, due to increased accuracy.

“We have meters that have been in the ground for 20 years or more,” he said. “Water meters are mechanical and the longer it reads, the slower it gets. So when everybody gets a new meter, it’s going to be read more accurately.”

Davis says the second item on the agenda, the tax increment financing, has been pulled from the agenda and will be addressed in January.

The meeting will be in the Pelican Conference Room at City Hall.

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