Meter system costs rise

Mar. 7—HIGH POINT — All High Point Electric customers' meters will be replaced as part of the city's switch to an automated utility billing system.

About 500 of the new meters will be pilot tested starting in May or June, with full implementation to begin throughout the city in the fall, said Electric Utilities Director Tyler Berrier.

The switch is part of the upcoming "advanced metering infrastructure" system that will enable the city's Customer Service Department to collect electric, water and sewer usage data from customers remotely without having to drive or walk by meters.

"The city has made a large investment for AMI ... of approximately $22 million," said Customer Service Director Jeremy Coble.

The City Council this week unanimously approved two changes to existing city contracts with vendors that are implementing parts of the new system.

The first was a change order with Tantalus Systems Inc. of Raleigh that will increase the city's cost by $789,032 to account for the addition of 4,089 new electric meters to the contract.

The initial contract approved in 2022 included 41,911 new electric meters, and the additional devices will accommodate the expansion of the electric system over the past two years as well as anticipated future demand, Berrier said.

The change order will increase the contract total with Tantalus from $6.19 million to $6.98 million.

The other action will extend the city's contract with software company E Source of Boulder, Colorado to continue providing consulting services until the AMI project is fully implemented.

The extension will cost the city an additional $570,144, increasing the contract total with E Source from $1.34 million to $1.91 million.

"Throughout the past two years, E Source has played a pivotal role in developing what I call the architecture of our future utility," Coble said. "They are ensuring a seamless progression of our AMI implementation."

This entails not only new meters and other components, but software and additional technology that will include a new customer portal through the city's website to provide real-time information about utility usage.