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By next Christmas, you may be able to track just how much hosting family members will cost you with water and electric utilities. That’s because the City of Altus is currently installing new electric and water meters that will eventually allow you to log on to your account and see precisely how much those visiting family members are costing you.
In fact, Altus City Chief Financial Officer Jan Neufeld said you will be able to pinpoint your electric usage within 15-minute periods and your water usage within an hour. Neufeld gave a presentation of the new systems to the Rotary Club of Altus on Tuesday.
The city is replacing all water and electric meters to update its capability of gathering instant information from each site. It should minimize electrical outages because the city can pinpoint the location of the outage and restore service faster.
Neufeld said the city has about a $350,000 annual budget for seven meter readers who currently have to go to each property to read the meters on a monthly basis. Sometimes, water meters are buried and they have to dig them out or estimate their usage.
Neufeld said it may take two to three months to switch out all of the electrical meters, but she couldn’t give a timeframe for the water meters because the city doesn’t know what problems it might encounter when it replaces a decaying city water infrastructure.
Texas Metering Device, or TMD, is changing out electric meters across the city. The company will have technicians wearing picture ID badges as authorized City of Altus contractors.
Ditto for JAG Underground, LLC, the company that is replacing water meters, starting with the north end of the city. Neufeld said some water meter cans — the containers around the meters — will be replaced as needed.
A complete profile of how you use water and electricity will be available as soon as your meters are installed. But that will only be available at the city offices until both projects are completed. At that time, the city will launch a portal where you can log on to find data about your property and usage down to when those relatives came to town for Christmas.