Posts tagged “AMI

Live Blog: Monday’s city council meetings (Feb. 10)

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

Welcome to our live blog from the College Station City Council’s workshop and regular meetings on Monday, Feb. 10. It’s not the official minutes.

The meeting can be watched live on Suddenlink channel 19 or online. An archive of previous council meetings is available on the website.

5:29 p.m.

The workshop has started. No action was taken out of the council’s executive session.

5:35 p.m.

Consent Agenda Discussion

The council pulled this item for discussion from the regular meeting’s consent agenda:

  • Fitch/Wellborn Interchange: The $1.34 million contract is for the preliminary design of the Fitch Parkway/Wellborn Road Interchange and the Wellborn Road Widening Project. The contract’s scope includes the feasibility study of an interchange at Fitch and Wellborn that would include a separated grade crossing of the Union Pacific railroad tracks and connect into the city roadway network west of the tracks. The scope also includes the feasibility study and schematic design for widening Wellborn Road from Graham Road to Greens Prairie Road.

5:47 p.m.

Consolidated Plan for Federal Grants

The council discussed the 2020-24 Consolidated Plan for federal grants received from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. The process includes a community needs assessment, housing market analysis, and housing conditions survey.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

6:05 p.m.

Smoking Ordinance and Vaping

The council discussed health concerns about vaping and possibly adding electronic cigarettes and vaping to the city’s smoking ordinance. The consensus of the council was for staff to bring back an ordinance for consideration.

Here’s the PowerPoint Presentation:

6:09 p.m.

After the council discussed its calendar, Mayor Karl Mooney adjourned the workshop. The regular meeting starts after a short break.

6:19 p.m.

The regular meeting has started.

6:26 p.m.

United Way 2-1-1 Day

Mayor Karl Mooney proclaimed Saturday as United Way of the Brazos Valley 2-1-1 Day

6:28 p.m.

Fun for All Playground

The Fun for All Playground Committee presented an $875,000 check to the city for the second phase of the playground’s construction. 

6:32 p.m.

Hear Visitors

One person spoke during hear visitors, when citizens may address the council on any item that does not appear on the posted agenda.

  • Denise Snyder spoke against CSU’s implementation of advanced digital electric meters.

6:33 p.m.

Consent Agenda

The council voted unanimously to approve the entire consent agenda:

  • A $1.34 million contract with Halff Associates for the preliminary design phase services for the SH 40/FM 2154 Interchange and FM 2154 Widening Project
  • A law enforcement mutual aid agreement with Texas A&M, Blinn College, the Brazos County Sheriff, Brazos County Precinct 1-4 Constables, and the City of Bryan.
  • A $180,575 contract with Jamail & Smith Construction to replace CSU’s warehouse lift/freight elevator.
  • The second and last renewal of the annual meter reading contract not to exceed $560,000 with Alexander’s Contract Services.
  • A contract for a not to exceed $123,190 with Ramtech Building Systems for the purchase, delivery, and installation of a modular building for CSU.
  • A contract not to exceed $250,000 with DIJ Construction for annual pavement striping and markings.
  • The first reading of a franchise agreement with Texas Commercial Waste for the collection of demolition and construction debris, recyclables, and organic waste from commercial, industrial and multifamily locations.
  • The first reading of a franchise agreement with Maroon Dumpsters for the collection of demolition and construction debris, recyclables, and organic waste from commercial, industrial and multifamily locations.
  • An inter-local cooperation agreement and a resolution of support and consent for the City of Bryan Municipal Setting Designation Application.

6:38 p.m.

FY 20 Budget Amendment

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve a $6.25 million amendment to the city’s FY 20 budget. For more details about the amendment items, see page 291 of the agenda packet. 

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:40 p.m.

Yellow Tanager Court Right-of-Way

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve the abandonment of a small portion of right-of-way west of the Yellow Tanager Court-Cinnamon Teal Drive intersection in the Bird Pond Phase 2 Subdivision. The abandonment allows the development of the nearby Waterford Estates.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

6:44 p.m.

Mission Ranch Easement

After a public hearing, the council voted unanimously to approve the abandonment of a 15-foot wide portion of an unused public utility easement in the Mission Ranch development. The abandonment allows for development.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:10 p.m.

Advanced Electric Meter Contracts

The council voted unanimously to approve contracts of $6.8 million with Landis+Gyr Technology and $517,000 with IPKeys Power Partners to support the implementation of CSU’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and Meter & Operational Data Management (MODM) System.

The item wasn’t a public hearing, but resident Denise Snyder spoke about what she claims are the negative health effects of the meters.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:15 p.m.

Data Backup and Recovery Contract

The council voted unanimously to approve a five-year agreement not to exceed $517,118 with Freeit Data Solutions for data backup and recovery.

The IT Department is replacing internet firewalls, desktop antivirus software, and email protection systems. Enhanced data protection is necessary to combat the increasing sophistication of cyber attackers and in preparation for disasters.

Here’s the PowerPoint presentation:

7:17 p.m.

Board and Commission Appointments

The council approved the appointment of Linda Harvell to the Spring Creek Local Government Corporation, Mayor Mooney to the Architectural Advisory Committee, and John Nichols to the Compensation and Benefits Committee.

7:20 p.m.

After the council discussed future agenda items, Mayor Mooney adjourned the meeting. The council meets again Thursday, Feb. 27.

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as the associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!


		
	

5 things to watch at Monday’s city council meetings

By Colin Killian, Public Communications Manager

The College Station City Council gathers Monday at city hall for its workshop (about 5 p.m.) and regular (6 p.m.) meetings.

Here are five items to watch:

  • Plan for Federal Grants: The council will have a workshop discussion about the 2020-24 Consolidated Plan to receive federal grants from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.
  • Smoking Ordinance and Vaping: Another workshop item is a discussion about health concerns regarding vaping and adding language to the smoking ordinance to include electronic cigarettes and vaping.
  • Fun for All Playground: At the start of the regular meeting, the Fun for All Playground Committee will present an $875,000 check to the city.
  • FY 20 Budget Amendment: The council will consider A $6.25 million amendment to the city’s FY 20 budget. For a detailed listing of amendment items, see page 291 of the agenda packet.
  • Advanced Electric Meter Contracts: The council will consider contracts of $6.8 million with Landis+Gyr Technology and $517,000 with IPKeys Power Partners to support the implementation of the electric utility’s Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and Meter and Operational Data Management (MODM) System.

Related Links:                                                           

 


About the Blogger

Colin Killian has been with the City of College Station since 2010 after serving 23 years as the associate media relations director for the Texas A&M Athletics Department. Killian has also worked as a reporter and editor for the Corpus Christi Caller-Times and Lewisville News. A native of Hobbs, N.M., he graduated from Texas Tech with a bachelor’s degree in journalism/political science.


If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!


		
	

CSU’s smart meters will be safe and secure

By David Coleman, College Station Interim Assistant City Manager

College Station Utilities customers have grown accustomed to workers entering their backyards to read the electric meter. No one looks forward to the monthly intrusion on their privacy, but the work is necessary to get an accurate measure of your electricity usage.

The situation is as uncomfortable for our readers as it is for our customers. You don’t like the invasion of your privacy; our readers don’t like encountering startled Rottweilers. If only a better, less intrusive way existed to check your monthly electricity usage.

Well, it does. And CSU and its electric customers will soon have access to it.

Last month, the College Station City Council directed CSU to move forward with implementing Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI), commonly called smart meters. The process will take about three years to complete. The change will apply only to electric meters, while water will continue to install AMI-ready meters for future implementation.

Smart meters record energy usage just like traditional meters but send and receive the data through wireless communications technology. That eliminates the need for us to enter your property on a regular basis. The new system will not reduce our workforce, either, since we’ll hire meter and system technicians to replace the readers.

Since 2010, AMI use has doubled with about half the nation’s electricity customer accounts now using smart meters. In 2016, Texas added the most residential smart meters of any state. Bryan Texas Utilities (BTU) successfully implemented its AMI system more than six years ago.

The council’s decision has raised some questions about the pros and cons of smart meters. Even though the city hasn’t yet requested proposals from potential contractors, we can still address many of the issues.

In addition to being less invasive, the meters will provide timely data that helps us generate more accurate utility bills by reducing human error. We’ll be able to better monitor system performance, control energy theft, provide greater reliability, and pinpoint and respond faster to outages. The system also will make it easier for you to identify ways to save energy and trim your monthly bill.

Since College Station is home to one of the nation’s largest universities, our electric utility handles an extraordinary number of service connects and disconnects. Because of the transient nature of much of our growing population, College Station Utilities processed about 70,000 connection and disconnection work orders last year.

During the peak move-in and move-out times in May and August, what should be a simple service can take several days. We’ll soon be able to handle those 70,000 annual connects and disconnects remotely, which will significantly improve our customer service capabilities and recover about 700,000 miles logged by our service trucks each year, providing substantial savings and environmental benefits.

Privacy and Security

Our top priority has always been providing reliable and safe electric service, which includes safeguarding your privacy and protecting your data. Since we must know how much electricity you use to bill you accurately, that’s all the smart meters measure — not how you use the electricity. Only consumption data is transmitted, nothing more. At the same time, the system’s firewall protects us against external hacking threats.

Moreover, privacy laws require us to protect consumer data. We can’t share that information without your permission, so rest assured it won’t end up in the hands of marketers.

Radiation

Our most likely communication system would use radio frequency, which produces no microwave radiation. Research shows that standing next to the AMI meter exposes you a fraction of the electromagnetic radiation produced by cell phones or baby monitors.

The Public Utility Commission of Texas recently concluded that “decades of scientific research have not provided any proven or unambiguous biological effects from exposure to low-level radio frequency signals. In reviewing all available material, (PUC) staff found no credible evidence to suggest that smart meters emit harmful amounts of Electromagnetic Field (EMF) radiation.”

Costs

For several years, the leadership of our electric utility has prudently set aside adequate funds in CSU’s budget for potential capital projects such as an AMI system. That means the new meters won’t cause an increase in electric rates. The up-front, one-time cost of implementing the AMI system is expected to be about $9.2 million, with annual operations and maintenance costs of about $660,000.

If the meters have a life of 11-12 years, we’ll likely break even on the costs and benefits of the new system. Any shortfall would simply be the cost of doing business and providing better service.

We encourage CSU electric customers to participate in the discussion when an AMI contract is presented to the city council early next year.

 


About the Blogger

David Coleman serves as College Station’s interim assistant city manager after 14 years as the director of water services at College Station Utilities. He also served 21 years as a civil engineer corps officer in the U.S. Navy. Coleman earned a bachelor’s degree in civil engineering from Texas A&M in 1981 and a master’s in construction engineering from Stanford.


 

If you found value in this blog post, please share it with your social network and friends!