Marlow, Comanche utility meters will be read remotely
People who live in Marlow and Comanche won't be seeing meter readers in the future, but will likely see more accurate bills for water and electricity provided by their towns.
In both Marlow and Comanche, officials made decisions recently to invest in new meters to install outside homes to gauge how much water and electricity is used by residents. The meters will feature technology that will allow them to be "read" remotely.
Marlow City Administrator Jason McPherson said there are several advantages to the new technology. City employees who in the past have had to dedicate at least four days each month to walking neighborhoods and checking meters will be able to spend that time in the future on other things instead, like line maintenance; and they'll no longer have to rely on residents who have outside dogs or yards that are otherwise inaccessible to read their own meters. The electronics involved are expected to more accurately measure consumption from month to month and should also help to cut down on waste due to leaks, McPherson added.
Comanche City Manager Chuck Ralls said another important benefit is that the new technology will help city workers to identify when and where power outages might occur as a result of storms and pinpoint where repairs need to be made. That likely will mean that power outages won't last as long.
The new systems also will allow power companies in Marlow and Comanche to turn electricity on for new customers remotely. City workers will still have to turn water on and off manually.
Comanche isn't quite as far along as Marlow in planning for the upgrade. Ralls said City Council members recently agreed to refinance some debt under more favorable terms, which made the anticipated cost of around $400,000 for the new meter system feasible. Comanche residents won't see any increase in their bills related to the investment. The town has sent out requests for bids on the work, and Ralls said a contract could be awarded soon if things go as expected. He said the work to change out meters across Comanche is expected to take about three months.