Texas Roadshow 2 

Please start by telling us something about yourself.

I have been married for 23 years and have 2 stepsons, 1 daughter, and 4 grand children. I have done Electric work in one way or other for 26 years full time. I worked my way up from a Groundman to the Utility Distribution Manager. I was born in Jackson Alabama and was raised in a lot of different states in the USA. My stepfather travelled to different jobs and moved the family with each one. So it was natural for me to do the same thing from 1980 to 1985 until I hired on at Bryan Texas Utilities.

History of career with company

I have been with the City of Seguin since January 14, 2002. I started as the Electric Superintendent and was promoted to the Utility Distribution Manager February 2004. I worked at Bryan Texas Utilities in Bryan Texas from October 1985 to January 2002 as a Lineman, Crew Leader, Forman, and Supervisor. From 1980 to 1985 I worked with numerous contractors in both Transmission and Distribution.

How did he/she become involved in the utility industry

I grew up in the electric industry my stepfather worked in the Transmission side for 40 years and is now retired. I helped lace my first 500 kV tower (on the ground of course) when I was 14 years old.

Interests

Golf, Fishing, and Hunting.

Education

High School, On the Job Training, and numerous technical training classes with TEC, TEEX, and Blinn College.

Give a brief history and current overview of your utility

We are a City owned utility that answers to an Assistant City Manager, City Manager, Mayor, and eight council members. We interact financially, physically and mentally with a lot of other departments such as Police, Fire, Streets, Brush, and Parks. In the Electric Department there are a total of 19 employees that deal with everything from reading the meters to restoring power during a storm. 10 Lineman, 3 Meter Readers, 1 Meter Technician, 1 Service Technician, 1 Dispatcher, 2 Supervisors and 1 Manager.
The Water/Sewer Maintenance Department has 11 employees the deal with everything from reading the meter to repairing busted lines and it consist of 7 Maintenance Workers, 2 Crew Leaders, 2 Operators, and 1 Supervisor that answers also to the above mentioned Manager.

When did it start operations?

  • Number of customers – domestic and commercial
    8,000 electric and 7,600 water. These are approximate numbers please see Sharon Strains for a more accurate count.
  • Territories/areas that your utility services
    For the most part just the City limits of Seguin we have very little service territory outside of our city limits and actually have a co-ops service territory in some of our city limits.
  • Services offered? (i.e. water, electricity, gas)
    Electric, Water, and Sewer.
  • Type of utility (i.e. co-op, municipality, investor owned etc)
    Municipality

How has deregulation impacted your utility and your customers?

Other than seeing ads and asking a few questions our customers have not changed in any way. As a municipal we are not required to Deregulate yet.

What are some of the key challenges your utility faces? (i.e. keeping track of transitory customers, ensuring customers conserve energy, water etc)

Keeping up with new technologies, load growth and needs of the growing a growing customer base.

Please give us a short overview of the metering operations.

We have 1 Meter technician who test, organizes and numbers all of our meters. We have 3 Meter Readers who read all of the electric and water meters. We have 1 Service Technician that does turn on's, turn off's, and cut off's for non-pay on the electric and water meters. We have 1 Supervisor that oversees all of the metering operations as well as the Dispatcher.

Type of meters in the field (electromechanical, electronic, smart meters etc)?

We have all types of meters in the field electromechanical, electronic, and smart meters. We also use turbine and combine meters for the water.

Stats on above (i.e. number of meters in the field etc)

Most of the meters being purchased now are electronic. We have approximately 14 smart meters on our system at present. I would say 80% of our meters are electromechanical at this time but we are continuing to change these out to electronic as they fail, need to be upgraded or at a customers request.

Vendors that supply the meters?

Hughes, Priester Supply, Wesco, Texas Metering Device for electric meters. We use Hughes, ACT, Ferguson Municipal, and Morrison for the water meters

How do you disconnect them if necessary?

The electric meters are disconnected by installing a plastic device that plugs into the top and bottom lugs of the meter can, which allows you to turn the meter 1/4 turn and plug the meter back into the plastic device without contacting any energized parts.
The water meter are disconnected by simply turning off the curb stop at the meter.

How are meters read and please give an overview of this process (i.e. if using AMR, which systems, no of installations etc).

Walking and entering into hand helds. See David Glenewinkel's for a more accurate description.

What procedures do you follow when doing upgrades/replacements, and what are the key factors you consider when reviewing different meters? (e.g. local vs. imported)

Everything thing is based on the customers load and requested voltage. The different types of meters are chosen based on the capabilities, cost, and quality.

What is the potential for AMR and more advanced technologies such as smart metering at your utility?

Very good were are presently looking at different types of AMR solutions and hope to have one installed for water and electric meters within the next two years.

How does your utility manage customers who do not pay their accounts? Is there a legal process?

See Sharon Strains.

Do you outsource any business processes or operations (such as meter reading, billing etc?)

Not on meter reading but see Sharon's for billing.

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

  • How do you distribute bills and how many are produced a month?
  • Are customers billed monthly?
  • Do you offer online bill payments, IVR systems etc – please mention the vendors involved).

See Sharon Strain's for all of 11.

Where do you see metering and billing operations going at you utility in the future

Hopefully we continue to improve on different technologies and continue to grow.

What (if any) R&D activities are being undertaken by your utility? (does not have to only be metering and or billing related)

Not sure what R&D activities are?

What is your vision for your utility?

To continue to maintain, and distribute electricity through the utility delivery system in a safe, economical and efficient manner and distribute a safe, economical, and adequate supply of water in an efficient manner as well as provide quality service for all of the City of Seguin Customers.