An advanced metering project for retail customers of Wisconsin public power utility Evansville Water & Light is close to the finish line.
“For a small utility such as we are, undertaking a project of that size is a formidable task. As Chair of the Municipal Services Committee, I had to make sure our team had access to all the expertise we could call on before beginning,” said Jim Brooks, a City Council member for Evansville and incoming Chair of the American Public Power Association’s (APPA) Policy Makers Council (PMC).
The committee worked with the City Administrator and WPPI Energy staff “to make sure that training was in place and we were confident to get started. Our staff worked diligently to make sure that transition was successful,” Brooks said.
Evansville Water & Light is a member of WPPI Energy, which serves 51 locally owned electric utilities in Wisconsin, Iowa and Upper Michigan.
“Of course, the COVID-19 pandemic came with unanticipated workforce and supply chain issues that disrupted best-laid plans for people and organizations around the world. In terms of our advanced metering project, Evansville Water & Light is no exception.”
As a result, “we still have a few dozen water meters to replace before we can bring full function to our new meters, but we’re closer every week.”
“AMI will give customers real-time information that will allow them to take better control of their energy use,” Brooks noted.
He also praised the frontline workers who did the heavy lifting to properly install all new metering correctly.
He highlighted the “top-to-bottom effort that it takes to complete the process. No single part of the enterprise is more vital than any other.”
“I also want to acknowledge the role of APPA and WPPI in providing support and logistics that we would never have the resources to develop on our own,” Brooks said.
Evansville Water & Light notes on its website that use of advanced meters will help it operate more cost-effectively.
The utility currently meters over 3,700 electric meters and 2,200 water meters, “and our old system required sending workers out in trucks and on foot to complete monthly readings, conduct regular testing, and perform disconnections and reconnections,” the utility said.
Among the benefits from the project is that advanced meter data will enable the utility’s customers to analyze their electric and water consumption and take advantage of efficiency programs that will provide customers with more control over their usage and bills.
Advanced metering will also allow faster detection of service-related problems such as electric outages, power quality issues, water leaks, and potential sources of water cross-contamination. “Transitioning to the new meters also helps ensure that our electric and water systems will stay in good working order for the years to come,” the utility said.