The Herald Bulletin

Afternoon Update

Local Business

April 25, 2013

Officials: New devices will help city electric customers track electricity use

Project will take three years to complete

ANDERSON, Ind. — City officials are continuing their efforts to reduce costs and improve service for Anderson Municipal Light & Power customers.

Over the next three years, the city will implement a two-way automatic communication system, or TWACS, that will allow customers to track electricity consumption, helping them identify and cut back on expensive areas of usage.

“It will take three years to upgrade all the meters, but when finished, customers will be able to see their electric usage by the hour,” which helps people understand consumption, said Darren Grile, network administrator for the Municipal Light & Power.

Customers will be able to see what they’re using each day and use that information to identify appliances or trends that can cause high usage, he added.

Communication modules for the upgrade will be supplied by Aclara Technologies LLC, which is affiliated with the Utility Solutions Group of ESCO Technologies Inc., of St. Louis, Mo.

In addition to helping consumers monitor their own bills, the TWACS technology will make it possible for the utility to better understand usage patterns and identify programs that can reduce system peaks and keep costs low, according to a company press release.

“Aclara’s TWACS technology will give Anderson Municipal Light and Power more flexibility in instituting programs that will help customers save money,” said Mayor Kevin Smith in a prepared statement.

“For example, an additional benefit from TWACS is that the utility eventually could institute prepay systems with no additional fees, giving customers more choice in determining how their electricity is delivered.”

According to Grile, the city will have to spend less than $200,000 for the communication gear that will be needed in substations to communicate with new modules that have to be installed on each individual meter.

Anderson will not be charged for those modules, which will be installed by in-house meter and line crews, Grile added.

Find Stu Hirsch on Facebook and @StuHirsch on Twitter, or call 640-4861.

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