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ST. CROIX SMART METER DEPLOYMENT BEGINS TUESDAY

(Monday, June 08, 2015)

Having completed the installation of smart meters to about 98% of its customers in the St. Thomas-St. John district, the Virgin Islands Water and Power Authority today announced that the deployment of the smart meters on St. Croix will begin on Tuesday, June 9.

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The deployment on St. Croix marks the next phase of the installation of smart meters, a part of the Authority’s implementation of Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) territory wide. “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,” said WAPA Executive Director, Hugo V. Hodge, Jr.

“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,” he added.

Hodge said that against the backdrop of attempts by some in the community to malign the safety of the smart meters, by spreading misinformation about these sophisticated electrical consumption recording devices, WAPA is well on its way to completing a project that has proven successful and will bring about increased efficiency in the system. “The AMI system, of which smart meters is a part, will facilitate among other features, meter reading from the office and allowing customer service representatives to have real time customer account information.”

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.” Additionally, 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. 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. In the event that 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 ill-placed 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.

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