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June 27th, 2008
Mayor hosting presentation on new ‘smart’ utility meters

SUBMITTED PHOTO by MELISSA MILLECAM

Mayor Susan Narvaiz displays the water and electric “smart meters” that will improve customer access to their accounts and allow the City to read meters remotely.


From the city of San Marcos

San Marcos residents are invited to a sneak preview of the city’s new “smart” electric and water meters at a special display Tuesday, July 1, from 2-4 p.m. at City Hall , 630 E. Hopkins.

The preview will be part of Mayor Susan Narvaiz’s monthly “Coffee with the Mayor” in the foyer of City Hall.

“We invite our residents to visit with our staff and contractors about this important project,” Narvaiz said. “The advanced meters we are installing will give residents access to their utility accounts and help them keep tabs on their water and electric use throughout the month.”

On hand to visit with residents will be Tom Taggart, Water Utility Director; Bob Higgs, Electric Utility Director; Dale Pennington, Managing Director for UtiliWorks Consulting, and M.B. Anand, Chief Technology Officer for Eka Systems, the company installing the metering technology.

They will have on display a new electric and water meter, an “EkaNode™,” a radio device used to transmit data, and a “gateway,” a device that sends meter information to the city.

The city of San Marcos will begin the deployment and testing of the new Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system for the city in July. The first test sites will include 50 meters installed in part of the downtown area and an apartment complex.

The second test program will include 500 meters installed at different locations throughout San Marcos.

The pilot will test the entire system, including meter readings, transmission of data, billing software, meter voltage, on demand reads, leakage reports and meter tampering, Customer information on the web will be also be tested on the city web site in early 2009.

The pilot program is scheduled to run through the end of November 2008, providing the city the ability to completely test the system and train all appropriate city personnel.

Four separate areas have been selected for testing the new system. Upon passing and completing the test program, the city anticipates deploying the system within the utility service areas in 2009.

San Marcos has a community-owned water/ wastewater and electric system with 9,200 water customers and 19,500 residential, commercial and institutional electric customers.

The new system includes only those metered services supported by the city’s Electric Utility and the Water Utility. It does not include electric services provided by Pedernales Electric Cooperative and Bluebonnet Electric Coop or private water systems.

— MELISSA MILLECAM

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