Landis + Gyr smart meters. Photo courtesy of CPS Energy.
Landis + Gyr smart meters. Photo courtesy of CPS Energy.

Editor’s Note: The following letter was sent from CPS Energy’s Vice President of External Affairs Rudy Garza to Alamo Heights Mayor Louis Cooper in response to the Alamo Heights City Council’s request for a 12 month delay of installation of smart meters sparked by resident health and safety concerns. Read more about Monday night’s council meeting here: In Alamo Heights, Some Fear of Smart Meters.

Mayor Cooper:

Thank you for bringing to our attention the concerns of several of your citizens with regard to our Smart Grid Initiative and advanced (smart) meter deployment. Our team is committed to working with the Alamo Heights City Council to address the facts about smart meters and to determine the best path forward for smart meter education to continue the needed upgrades to our infrastructure. Safety and customer satisfaction are top priorities for us, and we are certain that we can fulfill both effectively.

Over the next several months our team is committed to continue our education/information efforts within your community. After review of our installation schedule, and in consideration of the discussion which occurred at City Council on Monday evening, we thought you should know that we do not plan to begin meter installations in Alamo Heights until the second quarter of 2015. This should provide more opportunity for education and outreach to interested citizens.

We will notify city officials 30 days in advance of any meter installations beginning in your community. We believe this time frame will allow our outreach team to meet with customers to answer questions and explain the modernization of our grid.

For our customer, this means:

  • Faster restoration following outages of all types;
  • Future programs/services that will be available, such as new payment options;
  • Information which will allow customers, at their option, an ability to better manage the energy they buy.

For our utility, this means:

  • Opportunities to offer a more efficient level of customer services;
  • Faster connection of service;
  • Opportunity to eliminate the need for billing estimates and potential meter reading errors.

We have been very methodical in the implementation of a smart grid in our service area, and comparatively, we are a late adopter within the industry, because we wanted to take a more thoughtful approach. We are the last major metropolitan area within Texas to implement smart grid technology.

We commit to work through these questions with your community in a proactive manner. Thank you for opening a dialogue that will provide an opportunity to engage your citizens and our customers.

Signed, Rudy Garza, CPS Energy

*Featured/top image: Landis + Gyr smart meters. Photo courtesy of CPS Energy.

Full disclosure: The Arsenal Group LLC, which publishes the Rivard Report provided consulting services to CPS Energy in 2012. Monika Maeckle, who co-founded the Rivard Report, worked for CPS Energy as director of integrated communications and has now returned to consulting.

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