Troy Utilities talks new electric, water meters

Published 3:00 am Thursday, July 14, 2016

Mike Davis, assistant general manager for utilities in Troy, spoke to residents at a utility committee meeting Tuesday about how they could use changes to their electric and water meters to save money.

Davis said that the city finished replacing the electric meters about two months ago and will begin working on replacing the water meters Monday, July 18.

“The new meters can be read from city hall so we can monitor citizens’ electricity from city hall instead of going out to have to check the meters physically,” Davis said. “What we’re really excited about is the customer portal, which will allow citizens to see how they are using electricity in real-time. This will allow customers to tweak the way they use appliances to save money.”

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The customer portal will be an online access point for customers to do real-time cost analysis. Davis said that they hope to launch the portal this fall.

Davis said the new meters will also save money by cutting back the workforce required to check the meters. Councilman Greg Meeks clarified that workers would not be fired, but reassigned to other positions.

Davis also reassured residents at the meeting that there would still be representatives to help customers who do not wish to use the Internet.

The meeting ended with a few tips from Davis about ways that residents can conserve energy.

“One way to reduce your energy bills is by using LED light bulbs,” he said. “They’re more expensive than incandescent bulbs, but they save money long-term. What we noticed when we made the switch from traditional bulbs to LEDs at Bush Memorial was the change in temperature. We weren’t expecting that, but the LEDs allowed our air conditioner not to work as hard because the bulb’s temperature is lower.”

Another way Davis said residents could save power is by setting the temperature about three degrees above or below 72 degrees, depending on whether it’s summer or winter. “If you’re like me, you grew up in a house where we’d turn it up and down and up and down,” he said. “Don’t do that. Set it and leave it alone. It costs more to cool off a room than it does to keep it stable.”

Davis gave a final tip of making sure to wash dishes in the dishwasher instead of by hand. He cited a study that he said showed that hand-washing dishes uses up almost twice as much water as putting dishes in a dishwasher.