In Hardeman County, about an hour drive east from Memphis, customers of Bolivar Energy Authority (BEA) will soon be able to pay for their electric service much like they fill the gas tank in their car.
"Pay As You Go" is a service offering that BEA plans to expand to its more than 11,000 customers this fall - thanks to its electric smart meters.
One fills up a gas tank as it empties. With smart meters, customers can pay for electric service as they use it, which gives them more flexibility to manage their household budgets.
BEA, which also serves parts of Fayette, Chester, Madison, and Benton (Miss) counties, joined the growing number of Tennessee utilities offering smart meters when it awarded a $2.7 million contract to Elster in November 2011.
About 10 months later, BEA, which has 11,114 meters, essentially reached full implementation. (Only nine meters have not yet completed the transition as BEA works on system automation.)
For BEA, the benefits of smart meters are evident: employee safety, remote access to voltage readings, and eventual integration of digital maps with an outage management system as well as the ability to remotely connect and disconnect meters.
To learn more about MLGW’s smart meter project, www.mlgw.com/smartgrid.