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State buildings to be retrofitted with “smart” electric meters

More than 1,000 state-owned buildings in Mississippi, including those on the campuses of community colleges and state universities, are being retrofitted with “smart” electric meters as part of a $3.75-million grant through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) of 2009.

The Mississippi Development Authority (MDA) allocated $3.75 million in stimulus energy funds to the Mississippi Department of Finance and Administration (DFA) for smart metering state-owned buildings. MDA spokeswoman Sally Williams said a portion of these funds is for actual installation of smart meters on state-owned buildings, and the remainder is for software systems to monitor these smart meters.

“DFA has awarded a contract to Johnson Construction in Brandon for the actual physical installation of the meters, and has awarded a contract to Siemens for the software portion of the program,” Williams said.

The energy savings are not in the smart meter devices themselves. The meters are simply an information-gathering tool.

“The benefit comes from the information gathered by the devices,” Williams said. “The energy usage information provided through the meters will allow the state to determine energy inefficiencies in real time and, as a result, will enable building managers to take steps to appropriately address the issues.”

Johnny Johnson, president of Johnson Construction, said the company is very pleased to have the opportunity to partner with Mississippi in the state’s efforts to cut spending by expanding their energy savings efforts throughout the state.

“Energy efficiency is at the forefront of everyone’s thinking these days and we are certainly glad to be able to play a part here in our home state and save taxpayer dollars along the way,” Johnson said.

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