The V.I. Water and Power Authority has installed smart meters to about 98 percent of St. Thomas-St. John customers and will start on St. Croix this week, according to WAPA. The meters save time and money for WAPA, help the utility react faster to changes in usage and to faster identify, locate and fix problems with the grid.
“As of May 29, WAPA’s meter installation contractor, Apex CoVantage, completed installations in the St. Thomas-St. John district. WAPA personnel are now deploying smart meters to commercial customers and, in addition, we expect that up to 500 net metering customers will receive the smart meters by the end of July,” WAPA Executive Director Hugo Hodge Jr. said in a statement.
“The contractor is mobilizing to St. Croix to begin the installations next week. Mailers were sent to St. Croix account holders last week advising them that installers will be making their rounds to replace the current electrical meters and we will be publishing notices in the territorial newspapers to increase the awareness of St. Croix residents regarding the meter change out,” Hodge said.
When completed, customers will have the ability to control their consumption methods and costs by monitoring the real time energy usage in their homes and businesses, Hodge said. An added benefit of the smart meter is the ability to know, within seconds, if an individual customer is experiencing a service interruption, without that customer having to call the line department, he said, adding that the system will also serve to reduce meter tampering, quickly identify faults and lay the foundation for the full implementation of a smart electric grid.
“As the installation of smart meters commences next week on St. Croix, it is important for residents to know that Apex CoVantage and WAPA employees will display proper identification when accessing residential or commercial properties to replace the meters and will be moving about the island in appropriately marked vehicles,” Hodge said.
Customers are asked to cooperate fully when these individuals come to the homes or businesses to work on this project. If a meter is not accessible and the resident is not at home, notification will be left indicating that the service man was there and will return to complete the installation.
Over the next few weeks, WAPA will be promoting the implementation of smart meters including messaging about the meter’s safety and addressing concerns about the meters having the capability to record more than a customer’s electrical consumption. “Our overall goal at WAPA is to increase our system’s efficiency and reliability, all while reducing the cost of electrical and potable water service for our residents and business owners. We are well on our way to achieving both objectives,” Hodge said.