“I came away with the idea, ”Healy said, “that we all agree that currently the contract that we have is satisfactory to both parties, we may not like the contract, either side, but it is being administered properly and legally."
Speaking to the commissioners’ desire to move forward, Robert Jungers said, “For a specific target of a Puget Island water system, I would like us to consider increasing the base rate $6.20 a month for every meter and isolating that increase in a dedicated fund for capitalization of a water plant."
PUD commissioners will continue to explore potential water sources and storage.
PUD employee Lia Sealund recently attended an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) conference in northern California and presented her findings to PUD commissioners.
According to Sealund, AMI’s more sensitive equipment could capture more specific information, assisting in departmental calculations, in watching for spikes or leaks, and in capturing usage that may have been lost in the event of tampering. It could reduce bad debt for the PUD by allowing consumers to pre-pay, create savings in fuel use and reduce overtime with a remote shut off.
The remote shut off could create a safer working environment for the crew as well; the potential for being confronted by angry customers on site would be minimized.
AMI allows for two-way communication between the meter and a central system, which would be located at the PUD offices. An Automatic Meter Reading system or AMR requires a hand held device to pick up data. This requires some travel to each area to pick up the data from multiple sites at once, but crews would no longer need to stop at each home in order to collect the data.
“I’m thinking the radio read (AMR) is probably the way to go for this utility, “General Manager Dave Tramblie said. “But I think we need to gather more info before we go too quickly, also, I think it would be in our rate payers' best interest to have that substation debt paid off before we commit to a large capital project.”