July 6, 2021
Starkville Utilities has fully transitioned its manual electric/water meter-reading systems to automated metering infrastructure, or AMI — a step into the future that delivers the benefits of smart-grid technology to customers’ fingertips along with a variety of service enhancements.
“We are pleased with the performance of our system and the value it provides to our customers,” said Terry Kemp, general manager of Starkville Utilities. “Upgrading to smart-grid technology is part of our Future FOCUS initiative to ensure that Starkville’s utility infrastructure continues supporting the community’s growth while delivering safe, reliable and affordable utilities.”
From their phones and computers, customers can now track water and electricity usage and better manage their utility consumption. AMI is also helping Starkville Utilities improve customer service by reducing response times. The next step is to add system enhancements that allow workers to detect issues before they lead to serious problems and to restore services faster when outages occur.
Starkville Utilities began upgrading most electric and water meters to AMI technology three years ago and added usage monitoring tools for water and electricity to the customer portal during the upgrade period.
Meters are equipped with transmitters that communicate system data to Starkville Utilities over a secure network. By accessing their data in the online portal, customers can view daily and hourly usage statistics going back three years. This allows customers to identify ways to lower bills through efficiency and conservation strategies.
“AMI technology gives our customers a direct window into their utility services along with tools to track and trend their usage over time,” said Russell Hamilton, manager of billing and technical services for Starkville Utilities. “They can see how hot and cold weather affects electricity use and how efficiency improvements, like adding insulation, can make a difference in lowering energy bills.”
AMI technology facilitates earlier detection of problems such as water leaks and transformer failures so that service issues can be quickly resolved or avoided. Starkville Utilities is in the planning process to add outage-management tools such as automatic outage reporting and outage maps to the customer portal.
“AMI technology gives us the flexibility to provide even more services while improving our customer engagement and responsiveness,” Kemp said. “I encourage customers to use our online portal and app to take full advantage of new service offerings provided by AMI metering.”
In addition to providing usage data, Starkville Utilities’ online portal allows customers to check account balances, view billing history, pay bills and sign up for alerts to know when bills are due or past due. For more information, call 662-323-3133.
Starkville Utilities is a public utility serving 14,000 residences, businesses and industries in Starkville, Mississippi as well as Mississippi State University. Its mission is to supply safe, reliable, and cost-effective electric and water service of superior quality and value that improves the lives of its customers.