LP&L to roll out smart meters

LP&L to roll out smart meters

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LUBBOCK, Texas -

"The meters that Lubbock Power and Light has right now are really based on technology that was relevant about 30 years ago," LP&L spokesman Matt Rose said. 

The first step to updating the meters, is updating the 16 year old billing system, which comes with a price tag of about $38,000,000. 

"That began last budget cycle, that's already underway, we are bringing on board a billing system that has the capability of working with advanced meters," Rose said.

There are three reasons for the meters, first it will create a more efficient system maintenance and secondly it will greatly improved outage management. 

"Right now if a customer has an outage, they are required to call us and let us know that they are out of power," Rose said. "That's not a very efficient system and when you have a large outage affecting two to three thousand people, you can imagine the constraints that puts on the phone system and just the ability for folks to get in touch with us."

Lastly, you wont have to wait for your billing statement to see your usage.

"We have to give our customer the ability to see on a bi-monthly bases, bi-weekly bases, weekly bases, on a daily bases exactly what they are using in terms of their energy," Rose said.

"It gives power to LP&L customers, to have control over their usage," Rose said.

There are still a few more steps before you see them

"It normally takes about two to three years to fully roll out a product like this, because you have to put in all of the communication backbone throughout the city, there are a lot of things that have to happen before the meters can go live," Rose said. 

LP&L is currently waiting on budget approval and then must select a vendor in mid fall for the meters.

"You are still looking at a couple of years before this gets rolled out, so it would be around the 2020 time frame before we can turn these on," Rose said.

If you do not want to have the meters replaced at your home, due to health risk concerns or the possibility that your bills will rise due to the accuracy of the meters, Rose said options are available.

"We've said from the very beginning that if there are customers for whatever reason have an objection to this and do not want to have an advanced meter on their home that there will be an opt out option," Rose said.

Parts of Lubbock have had automated meters since the 1990's, through the South Plains Electric Cooperative.

South Plains Electric Cooperative communications manager Lynn Simmons said, "The biggest benefit to members is cost savings and we do feel the accuracy of the meters are better just because you almost have a two step process with reading it and then someone in the office taking a second look at it."

"LP&L customers shouldn't have to miss out on this technology, just because they are in Central Lubbock," Rose said.

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