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Cookeville To Begin Automated Electric Meter Readings In Next Year

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Cookeville To Begin Automated Electric Meter Readings In Next Year

Cookeville Electric will begin an automated meter reading program in the new fiscal year.

The city will also conduct a pilot program to test automated meters for gas and sewer as part of the rollout. The city has budgeted $250,000 in the new fiscal year budget for the test program as well as a first rollout.

Cookeville Electric Director Carl Haney said he estimates it will take several years to outfit the entire city, at an expense of some $1 million annually over the next three years.

“What we’ve seen and what other electric systems seen, it’s about a seven year payback on that,” Haney said. “And there’s quite a few things for the electric department both just doing read outs without sending a personnel on a truck out there cutting those services off or turning them back on.”

City Manager James Mills said city leadership has made it a priority to get the automated system rolling for the electric department. But Mills said the process is not as easy for the other utilities.

Right now, as with so many things, Haney said the challenge is getting the electronic equipment to hook up each home.

“When you start ordering those in large batches, the lead time on those are such that that’s the reason why you only see $250,000 in there for this year,” Haney said. “We don’t think we can get a whole lot more of those before the end of this fiscal year.”

Haney said the automated meter readings also help with better outage management, especially during major outages.

“We’ll be able to see when those meters go out of power and when they come back on,” Haney said. “Keeps us from sending somebody out to check those, especially during major outages, when we’ve got four or five people constantly running in vehicles, trying to check and see whose powers come back on and who’s not. So you save that.”

Mills said the city council will likely consider a contract to begin the process in the next several weeks.

The meter readings will reduce employee costs in the electric department. Mills said it was also stop city personnel being attacked by animals.

“We see quite a bit of savings,” Haney said.


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