Texas utility, City of Raymondville, partner with Schneider Electric to upgrade infrastructure

July 31, 2017
Utility savings captured from high-precision water meters.
Representatives from the City of Raymondville and Schneider Electric don hard hats at a City Council meeting on July 25, 2017: (L to R) Andres Chavez, Public Works Supervisor; Uvaldo Zamora, Chief of Police; Clifton Smith, Commissioner; Chris Tamez, Commissioner; Lizzy de la Garza Putegnat, Account Executive; Gilbert Gonzales, Mayor; Yolanda Alexandre, Commissioner; Eleazar Garcia, City Manager; Eziquiel Cavazos, Commissioner; William Wepfer, City Attorney; and Joel Soto, Public Works Director.

ANDOVER, MA, JULY 31, 2017 -- Energy and sustainability expert Schneider Electric has announced it is partnering with the City of Raymondville, Texas, to implement a city-wide water meter upgrade to improve city services, increase meter accuracy and reporting and address the city's critical infrastructure needs.

The City of Raymondville provides water for a population base of approximately 11,000 people within its service area. Currently, all 2,791 meters within the system are manually read by meter readers once every month. This labor-intensive process can result in bills with estimated charges, not actual charges, when the meters can't be accessed due to parked cars and other obstructions. Additionally, human error during meter reading may cause billing problems and requires significant effort in meter re-reads. It also doesn't allow for water leaks to be quickly detected, which can result in more expensive monthly bills. Accurate meter operation, reading and billing is essential. For sites using large volumes of water, even small errors in measurement can add up to significant financial losses.

"The City of Raymondville pursued the project as part of a long-term economic growth and sustainability plan," said Eleazar Garcia, City Manager, City of Raymondville. "We are constantly looking for ways to improve infrastructure and operational efficiency to provide the best value for our residents while preparing for future growth."

Today, municipalities are constantly looking for better solutions for their water meter systems. The City of Raymondville has embarked on a unique energy savings performance contract (ESPC) encompassing advanced metering infrastructure (AMI), also known as "smart meters." The project is expected to increase the City of Raymondville's water revenue by nine percent, with no new taxes or additional fees to residents. Throughout the life of the project, these improvements will generate over $4 million in revenue for the city, enough to fully fund the project as well as leave additional net savings to be used for other city needs, projects or initiatives.

Other key benefits of this project include: water loss mitigation, improved performance and efficiency, improved billing accuracy, reduced costs in meter reading and field visits, better outage and leakage information and response and guaranteed performance and savings. In addition, the new advanced meter system will provide the community daily access to see their water usage in their homes and businesses through a web-based customer portal. Overall, the project will have a substantial environmental and economic impact on the local community.

“Maintaining public works without placing additional tax burden on residents is a common issue faced by many cities around the country,” said Lizzy Putegnat, Account Executive, Schneider Electric. “We are excited to partner with a proactive, forward-thinking city like Raymondville to help address critical infrastructure improvements that will allow the city to focus more time and resources on serving their residents, while providing a source of revenue to support the community.”

Implementation of the new water meters will commence in September and reach full implementation by December 2017. Residents will receive notifications regarding the date and time for meter replacement work in their neighborhood. The estimated time to switch out an old meter and replace with the new AMI meter is about 25 minutes. Schneider Electric's construction team will be working closely with the city to mitigate any disruption or inconvenience during the meter replacements.

Over the past 23 years, Schneider Electric has successfully implemented more than 660 ESPC projects across the nation, saving its clients nearly $1.7 billion. This project delivery method helps publicly funded entities make capital improvements over longer payback periods and offers many long-term benefits such as improved facility efficiency, occupant comfort, financial management and environmental protection.

For more information on how Schneider Electric helps cities tackle energy and water efficiency, please visit http://www.enable.schneider-electric.com.

About Schneider Electric
Schneider Electric is the global specialist in energy management and automation. Learn more at www.schneider-electric.us.

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