Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Smart Talk: Phase 1 Project Update



MLGW began our Phase 1 rollout of smart meters in January of 2014. Our plan was to install electric, gas and water meters at about 24,000 households across Shelby County. We successfully completed the task in October of 2014; as well as completing the installation of the telecommunications wireless network in the designated zone which was necessary to support the smart meters. We accomplished some early successes such as excellent daily read rates, tamper alerts which have resulted in a significant drop in meter tampering and theft of utilities, and voltage alerts which notify MLGW of emerging issues at customer sites before customers are aware.

Additionally, smart meters have identified water leaks on the customer side of the meter at approximately one-third of the sites where smart meters were installed, thereby enabling customer notification and awareness. Customers in Phase 1 can now log onto "My Account" to view their daily consumption for all three meters and utilize this information to become more energy- and water- efficient if they so choose. Or, they can use the information to get a better idea of how much their impending bill will be. Only 3.6 percent of the customers identified in the Phase 1 installation zone chose to opt-out.



To learn more, go to mlgw.com/smartgrid.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Smart Talk: Cybersecurity


Smart meters use secure wireless communications to send daily meter readings to MLGW, eliminating the need for employees to drive to every customer site and manually obtain meter readings each billing period. By adopting this smart meter technology, MLGW is virtually eliminating estimates, lowering operational costs and improving services—all while keeping smart meter data safe.

· Smart meters are secure. Meter manufacturers use proprietary meter and radio frequency transmission protocols to defend against the unauthorized access of the customer’s meter readings. Encryption is used at each step of the data transmission process: at the meter, during transit from the meter to MLGW and then again at MLGW. Your encrypted meter readings are received through secure gateways and associated with your account for billing.

· The data contains read times, consumption values and communication module numbers, not customer-identifying information like addresses or names. It is virtually impossible to associate transmitted meter readings to an individual customer prior to matching the data in our secure Customer Information System.

· Like many U.S. electric utilities, MLGW is mandated by the North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) to comply with cybersecurity standards which requires conducting regularly scheduled audits of its facilities and operations. Compliance with NERC standards has greatly raised the security awareness and commitment of MLGW to protect its assets and the data associated with these assets. MLGW is implementing smart meter technology with the necessary cybersecurity requirements that will protect MLGW and its customers.

Meters are MLGW’s cash registers, enabling us to accurately measure and bill for the amount of electricity, natural gas and water consumed at each customer site. As a result, cybersecurity continues to be a major component of MLGW’s smart meter implementation plan.

To learn more, go to mlgw.com/smartgird.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

GAS CONSTRUCTION PROJECT TO IMPACT TRAFFIC

Gas projects to impact Stage and Altruria Roads, starting May 21

MLGW crews will be working a gas maintenance project at Stage and Altruria Roads starting Thursday, May 21 at 6 a.m.  This will be on the west bound side of Stage Road. The work should be completed on Friday, May 22.  

Play It Cool Giveaway Continues Today

Almost 50 residents showed up early Tuesday morning at the Neighborhood Christian Center during the first day for signing up for a free window air conditioner.
 
Furnished by Memphis Light, Gas and Water, the window units are for residents 60 and older who own their homes. Once MLGW workers inspect the homes of those who are eligible, installation is expected some time in June. 
 

Frances Hawkins, 64, arrived just after sunrise at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday to be the first in line. "I came before they opened the gates," for the parking lot she said. She has been using window box fans since her air conditioner recently quit working. "This is a really good thing and I need an air conditioner. I think we need more of these (giveaways). You have people dying because of the heat," she said.


Frances Hawkins provides documentation to NCC's Director of Operations Renee Crayton as Tammie McKuhn, Director of Compassionate Ministeries looks on.  

Over 100 air conditioners remain. Neighborhood Christian Center is hosting the screening and application process for the free units from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. today.

Applicants for the “Play It Cool” Program may also contact the Neighborhood Christian Center’s hotline number at (901) 881-6013 for a pre-recorded message detailing the necessary qualifications and credentials for eligibility.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Play It Cool

MLGW is donating 200 window air-conditioning units to qualified low-income seniors and disabled residents of Shelby County.

Neighborhood Christian Center will host a screening and application process for the free units at 785 Jackson Avenue today and tomorrow from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Applicants for the “Play It Cool” Program may also contact the Neighborhood Christian Center’s hotline number at (901) 881-6013 for a pre-recorded message detailing the necessary qualifications and credentials for eligibility.

Friday, May 15, 2015

ABC Trimming is Hiring

ABC Trimming, the contractor handling tree trimming service for MLGW, is hiring. Interested applicants can to go to https://abctree.com/employmentapplications.html. Field positions pay $13.60/hour and require no experience.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Smart Meters benefit all customers, especially those financially challenged


Smart meters bring operational cost savings to MLGW, which get passed on to our customers through lower fees, faster service and new options. For example:

· Smart water meters detect continuous water use, which is often a sign of a leak. More than 33% of homes that received smart meters during phase 1 had leaks in their homes. Alerting customers to leaks that may not be apparent enables them to correct the issue before it becomes a major problem—both in damage and utility costs.

· Smart meters enable residential customers to adopt PrePay service, a pay-as-you-go plan similar to pre-paid phone service. PrePay eliminates security deposits (currently $200), late fees, and electric reconnect fees. For customers who have difficulty paying their MLGW bill in full, PrePay also enables customers to pay off existing debt transferred into their PrePay account. In addition, PrePay encourages conservation by making customers more aware of utility use and costs. In fact, Salt River Project, the Phoenix area utility with the nation’s largest prepayment program (at 13%), cites a sustained average 12% electricity reduction among their participating customers.

These customer savings help reduce the amount of unpaid bills, lowering bad debt write-off, which helps keep rates low for all customers.

To learn more, go to www.mlgw.com/smartgrid.
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