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Damon FisherPlease tell us something about yourself and your career.

I have been at LCRA for 16 years and in the metering field for 12 years. My mom worked here and I knew it was a good company! I’m glad to be a part of it, LCRA looks after its employees.

On the personal side, I have an associate degree in electronics technology. After hours I enjoy anything in the outdoors – hunting, fishing and spending time with my family.

And tell us a bit about your utility.

LCRA was formed in 1934 to control flooding along the Colorado River. Building dams along the Colorado River formed the highland lakes, which allowed LCRA to provide electricity to rural central Texas. LCRA now provides wholesale electricity to approximately 43 cities and co-ops in a 53 county area in central Texas. We are also involved in several wind generation farms in west Texas. 

The company consists of five separate business units – Transmission Services, Wholesale Power Services, Water Services, Community Services and Corporate Services. Through these business units, LCRA provides low cost electricity, water supply and flood management, water and wastewater utilities, public parks and community and economic development support to its customers.

LCRA is an agency of the state – its board of directors is appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Senate.

How has deregulation impacted your utility and your customers?

We’ve had to increase our staff and change systems and processes. It’s an ongoing challenge – ERCOT (Electric Reliability Council of Texas) is new in its role and we try to keep up with them. There is a tremendous amount of paperwork involved to meet their demands. 

What are some of the key challenges your utility faces?

Our challenge is keeping up with our customers’ electricity and water needs, especially with the I-35 corridor running through our service area. This area shows a lot of growth.

What types of meters do you have in the field?

In Transmission Services, our billing meters are at the substation level. We use solid state high-end meters, which are interrogated via landline. We cannot take advantage of AMR because of the distance between substations. We are looking into Ethernet possibilities at this time.

We currently support five different types of solid state high-end meters in our transmission system, mainly supplied by Siemens, Transdata, Power Measurement and Scientific Columbus. We do the installing, testing and verification of data. 

We re-evaluate our metering needs and what manufacturers have to offer at a minimum of every five years. We gather input from our meter technicians, translations technicians (MV90) and LCRA engineering personnel to select the best meter for our needs. At the end of the evaluation, we enter into a long term agreement with the selected vendor.

Please give us a short overview of your billing operations and some of your customer management/service initiatives.

All of our billing is done in-house at LCRA. It is accomplished by several different departments across business units. The group I support is responsible for acquiring the substation meter data and verifying it for accuracy before forwarding it down the line. We interrogate all of these meters daily and verify the loads and data daily. We then bill our customers once a month.

What is your vision for your utility?

The mission of the Lower Colorado River Authority is to provide reliable, low-cost utility and public services in partnership with our customers and communities, and to use our leadership and environmental authority to ensure the protection and constructive use of the area's natural resources.

Thank you for your input.