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Edmund, Okla., Votes to Fund Smart Meter Overhaul

The $10.8 million advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) project is expected to break even in just under a decade. According to officials, roughly 80 percent of electric and water customers already have smart meters.

by James Coburn, The Edmond Sun / November 1, 2019

(TNS) — The City Council this week unanimously approved eight contracts supporting the implementation of the water and electric smart meter project. The vote was 5-0 for the $10.8 million advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) project.

Smart metering allows customers more access to current usage information for improved tracking and control in their water and electric usage, especially during high demand/high cost periods, said City Manager Larry Stevens.

“The total cost of the project would also include a third-party installation feature,” Stevens said. “That cost is estimated to be about $16 million. With the anticipated savings to our system, we anticipate the project will pay for itself within a period of roughly nine years. And that assumption includes no growth in customers.”

Several feasibility studies and public meetings have taken place on smart metering for eight years. About 80% of Oklahoma’s electric and water customers already utilize smart metering. AMI installation was completed by OG&E and the Public Service Company six and three years ago respectively, Stevens noted.

The recommendation is to pay for the project without issuing debt with funding to come from both the electric and water fund budgets. The Oklahoma Municipal Power Authority, Edmond Public Schools, and the University of Central Oklahoma are in support of AMI.

Additional data from AMI will enable Edmond Electric to examine additional up-front capital cost savings resulting from oversized distribution transformers.

“If we knock off 3% from our demand and energy chart — that’s about a $1.8 million savings (for electric) — that savings is basically passed directly to the customer,” said Glenn Fisher, director of Edmond Electric.

All of the savings will be for electricity, said Kris Neifing, director of Water Resources.

“We don’t have a huge system loss. We’re about 7-8% water loss between produced and what we build,” Neifing said. “So there’s not a huge margin there to make up. It’s going to be a net cost to our water customers.There’s no doubt about that, but the electric side makes up more than enough.”

City Councilman Josh Moore said the advantage of smart metering for water is that people will be able to see their water consumption the next day. This will promote conservation, according to city staff.

“It certainly would have helped us this summer,” Neifing added.

Additionally, smart metering will report power outages immediately to Edmond Electric, Fisher said.

“It will help with our response time and it will help pin-pointing where the problem is, and correcting it. It will help with our reliability as well,” Fisher continued.

Fisher anticipates the infrastructure placement will begin in December. AMI and software installation could begin as early as January, Fisher said. Interfacing about 800 water and electric meters on 15th Street for testing could begin in July before a major rollout, he added. Testing could last about a year.

“So if we started a system-wide rollout (for water metering) we’d roughly look at January 2021. Electric would be complete by January 2022,” Fisher said.

City staff will examine opt out recommendations based on policies of other municipalities. Future recommendations will be presented to the council’s consideration at a later date.

©2019 The Edmond Sun (Edmond, Okla.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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