DPU to seek OK for smart meters contractor

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The Los Alamos Department of Public Utilities will seek approval from the Board of Public Utilities to award a contract for the purchase and installation of Advanced Metering Infrastructure for all of Los Alamos County.

Advanced metering is a method of using communication technology to read meters remotely without having to physically access the meters on customers’ properties.

DPU will take the contract to the BPU at 5:30 p.m. Wednesday in Council Chambers, 1000 Central Ave.

If approved, the contract would then go to the Los Alamos County Council for approval.

If approved by council, crews would switch out approximately 8,000 existing electric meters for electric smart meters and attach communication modules to 14,000 existing gas and water meters. 

DPU’s contractor would start in Pajarito Acres, possibly as soon as spring 2019. From there, work would move on to La Senda and then the remaining neighborhoods in White Rock, before moving to the townsite. 

DPU’s electric linemen would switch out the commercial electric meters. 

Both DPU’s contractor and electric linemen would give customers advance notification of the meter changes outs.
The project could take up to 18 months to be fully installed.

Once the advanced metering is fully deployed and integrated into the billing system, near real-time information on consumption of electricity, gas and water will be made available to both DPU and its customers through the advanced metering network.

Customers will be able to proactively monitor their usage online or on mobile devices with the advanced metering system, allowing them to better manage consumption and take control of utility bills.

DPU will no longer need to send a meter reader to customers’ properties every 30 days to read DPU’s meters. Bills will be issued more consistently, and their accuracy will be improved, according to DPU officials.

The new system would also alert DPU and customers of unusual usage patterns, such as water leaks, in advance of bills.

Another advantage, subject to BPU and county council adoption, is that DPU could make a variety of pricing options possible through the advanced metering network, such as Time-of-Use rates.

If implemented, this would allow customers to have even more control over their monthly utility bills, by choosing to use electricity when rates are lower.

Frequently Asked Questions and additional information is available on the DPU website at rebrand.ly/DPU-AMI.