San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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February 20th, 2009
City’s ‘smart meter’ program awarded for innovation


The project that will install “smart meters” for every water and electric customer in San Marcos has won the “AMI Project of the Year” award at a national conference in San Diego.

The Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project in San Marcos was selected for the top award by Utility Automation and Engineering T&D Magazine, a division of PennWell Corporation. Eka Systems, a global provider of smart grid solutions and AMI infrastructure, will begin installing the smart meters in San Marcos this spring after completing two pilot phases of the project in recent months.

The city of San Marcos, Eka Systems and UtiliWorks Consulting were recognized at DistribuTECH 2009, a national conference in San Diego for the industry. Tom Taggart, Director of Public Services for the city of San Marcos, and Richard Stankiewicz, Chief Technology Officer, received the award on behalf of the city.

The award was presented to the city Council on Tuesday, February 17, by the city’s AMI team.

“The city of San Marcos is honored to win this award for our venture into smart metering,” said Mayor Susan Narvaiz. “The AMI project reflects the city Council’s policy commitment to streamline government, make our services more accessible and encourage conservation. Advanced metering will give our citizens ready access to information about their water and electric use and the ability to better manage their consumption.”

The project will replace water and electric meters with modern technology on new meters that can communicate to the Utility Office. The “smart meters” will use radio transmitters to send frequent readings to the Utility Office. Installation of the system citywide will begin in April. Meter change outs will take about six months for electric meters and 18 months for water meters. The project has a cost benefit payout of 5-7 years, due to labor savings, reduced water and electric line loss and increased operational efficiencies.

When complete, customers will be able to access their accounts online and track their electric and water consumption, enabling them to monitor and adjust use throughout the month.

The AMI system will provide more accurate meter readings, faster connects and disconnects, identify water leaks and power failures more quickly, and provide better tracking of customer demand and system loads for the city water and electric utilities.

“Public Services, Eka Systems, and UtiliWorks have worked hard on this project,” said city Manager Rick Menchaca. “The city of San Marcos continues to raise the standard in resource conservation and environmental stewardship, with plans for all city electric and water customers on the grid by the end of 2010.“Winning this award reaffirms our belief that AMI and Smart Meters are a very good investment for the citizens of San Marcos.”

The city contracted with UtiliWorks Consulting to plan the new system and Eka Systems for the installation of the network.


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