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The city of Anderson, Ind. has signed a $15 million performance contract with Johnson Controls, Inc. to update its water meters and integrate them with other communication technologies in the city. The upgrade will benefit residents and businesses as well as the city, and is made possible without a tax or rate increase associated with the project through a more accurate billing system and increased operational savings.
At a groundbreaking ceremony held in Anderson, Lt. Governor Becky Skillman and State Senator Brandt Hershman celebrated the project by replacing the water meter at the home of Rob Sparks, chairman, Board of Works.
“The city of Anderson is taking great strides toward enhancing the efficiency and technology available to area residents,” said Indiana Lt. Governor Becky Skillman. “I am pleased that Anderson is enhancing their municipal services without placing the cost burden on taxpayers.”
This project will allow the city to more accurately bill residents and businesses for actual water usage by replacing 23,683 meters with more precise equipment. A new Automated Meter Reading (AMR) system will improve operations by decreasing reading errors, avoiding trips to homes for readings, and catching anomalies far in advance of billing. By recognizing issues in real-time, the city will be able to identify water leaks at residences or businesses immediately, resulting in decreased response time and associated costs.
Additionally, the city of Anderson has also signed a second, $6 million contract with Johnson Controls to automate 37,000 electric meters. This second phase of the project will provide an updated customer service platform for Anderson Municipal Light and Power. The installation of automated electric meters will dramatically increase operational efficiency and emergency response time, as the technology will immediately communicate a power outage at a home or business to the utility. Through better communication, crews can target areas of outage rather than reacting to citizen calls.
The 15-year water meter contract was made possible through the recent passage of House Bill 1076, giving Indiana communities the right to utilize longer-term performance contracts to manage water and wastewater projects.
“As the first community in Indiana to utilize the newly extended 15-year performance contracting legislation, Anderson is excited to lead the state in forward-thinking innovation,” said Kevin Smith, mayor of Anderson.
The performance contract will fund the $15 million project over 15 years without tax increases, bonds or rate increases associated with the project. “Our team searched for the right technology timeline, coupled with our fiber backbone that would not result in a rate increase,” said Sparks. “The contract with Johnson Controls will meet all of our goals.”
“The benefits to the city and residents are really driving this project. But when you consider that the enhancements will pay for themselves over time and Johnson Controls is guaranteeing the results, there is just no reason not to make the upgrades,” said Brad Bateman, director of the public sector business at Johnson Controls.