Local power companies to install smart meters

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Power companies across the state are preparing to go digital after a recently awarded federal grant.

Power officials said Monday upgrading meters and grids will benefit both consumers and power companies.

The federal Smart Grid Investment Grant will allow South Mississippi Electric along with five of its 11 distribution members to install smart meters, said spokesman Kurt Brautigam.

"It will allow a lot more date collection, data acquisition and it will flow all the way from the generating plants - in terms of the information - all the way down to the meter at the consumer side of things."

South Mississippi Electric General Manager Randy Wallace said the meters will make is easier to catch thieves and "do remote connects and disconnects from the office to keep our trucks from rolling out."

Southern Pines Electric General Manager Don Jordan said the upgrade will keep customers better informed regarding their electricity usage.

The grant is funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 and will cover half of the more than $61 million dollar. Completion is expected by 2012.

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