The industry continues to debate the costs and technology of automated meter reading, even as some regulators insist on immediate implementation.
Utilities Share Trenches and Costs
Idaho Power Co. (IP) has joined with Intermountain Gas Co., U S WEST, and TCI Cable in the Joint Utilities Trench Program, which places electric, gas, and telecommunications, wires, cables, pipes, and conduits into a single trench rather than individual trenches for each service provider.
The arrangement applies to new residential and commercial subdivisions, apartment complexes, and residential services. By using a single, joint trench, developers expect to reduce overall installation time for electric, gas, and telephone service in a new subdivision by as much as 70 percent.
IP estimates it could save more than $1 million annually through reduced trench costs. A demonstration program saved IP $121,000 on 93,000 feet of trenching.
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