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Link to Article of Interest in the State Newspaper
Lowcountry Regional Water System Begins Advanced Metering Installation
Wireless water meter reading improves efficiency
February 12, 2018
Hampton, South Carolina
Lowcountry Regional Water System (LRWS) will begin installation of an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) system serving its customers in the Towns of Brunson, Gifford, Hampton, Varnville, Yemassee and the Hampton County Industrial Parks near Early Branch. The innovative system manufactured by Sensus, a division of Xylem, a global company headquartered in Raleigh N.C., will replace monthly manual meter reads with a wireless system that collects multiple remote reads per day, allowing for better leak detection, increased billing accuracy and improved customer service.
Advanced metering works via wireless technology to send water meter readings to regional collectors that transmit the usage data to LRWS. Regional collectors will be located on existing elevated water tanks. The innovative system replaces monthly manual reads with the wireless system that collects multiple remote reads per day, allowing for better leak detection, increased billing accuracy and improved customer service.
“Sensus is a global leader in utility infrastructure systems and supports our commitment to maintaining a cost-effective and high quality of service and reliability for our metering system.” said Brian Burgess, General Manager of LRWS. “Advanced metering technology also supports our commitment to preserving and protecting our environment by reducing carbon emissions by taking meter readers off of the road, enhancing our ability to quickly detect and stop leaks, and providing customers with daily information on water use so that they can improve their efforts to conserve."
Because changing out all of the meters will take approximately 6 months, customers will receive a letter prior to installation in their area. During installation, contractors working on behalf of the LRWS will interrupt water service. Before leaving the site, crews will test the new meter by running about 10 gallons of water from an exterior hose or faucet. Door hangers will be left at the main entrance to the property informing the resident or business owner of the status of the visit (installation complete, installation pending; water was being used, or unable to access water meter).
Contractors will, carry proper identification and have successfully completed a comprehensive background check; contractor vehicles will also be clearly marked. The contractor does not need access to your home or business and will be performing the work during regular business hours 8 am to 5 pm Monday thru Friday. Additionally, the contractor will never ask for any form of payment from the customers. If you have any questions about the contractor or the installation, or suspect a contractor is not a legitimate contractor, please contact LRWS at 803-943-1006.
Lowcountry Regional Water System and Southern Current Commission 1.4 MW DC Solar Farm In Town of Hampton
Southern Current invested more than $2.4 million in the project
February 1, 2018
Hampton, South Carolina
Southern Current LLC and Lowcountry Regional Water System today announced the commissioning of Hampton WWTF Solar, LLC, a 1.4MW DC solar farm, located at 641 Holly Street, Hampton, SC. The solar farm will produce approximately 2,106 MWh of clean electricity each year. That amount of emission-free electricity is the equivalent of powering 147 homes for an entire year. Southern Current invested more than $2.4 million into the project. The solar farm will be participating in the Solar Energy Non-Residential Bill Credit program with South Carolina Electric & Gas.
John Rhoden, Mayor of Hampton and Chairman of the Lowcountry Regional Water System, commented “This is a great investment in our community and our future. The solar farm will save our wastewater treatment facility over $25,000 per year in operating costs.”
Brian Burgess, General Manager of Lowcountry Regional Water System, commented “In our business, we are committed to protecting our environment, and by participating in this program we are supporting that commitment.”
“We are excited to see customers partnering with South Carolina solar developers to get some of the benefits of programs that were approved as a result of ACT 236, “said Danny Kassis, Vice President of Customer Relations and Renewables for SCE&G. “This represents another step towards a clean energy future for our state and the companies that do business here.”
Kent Trowbridge, Co-Founder of Southern Current, commented “I would like to thank Lowcountry Regional, the Town of Hampton and SCE&G for all working together to make this renewable energy project a reality. Southern Current is pleased to now be a long-term member of the Hampton community.”
Southern Current, a Charleston, SC headquartered company, is a leading developer and installer in the residential, commercial and utility-scale markets with hundreds of systems currently providing clean power to customers across the Southeastern US. Our integrated platform includes Project Development, Engineering, Construction, Maintenance, Finance and Asset Management.
For more information on Southern Current, visit www.southerncurrentllc.com or contact Alexa Gray at (724) 991-8595 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Lowcountry Regional Water System, a public water and sewer provider in Hampton County SC. Our mission is to provide the Lowcountry Region's water needs to improve quality of life, economic development, and improve the viability of providing safe, clean and reliable water service to the citizens of the region.
For more information on Lowcountry Regional Water System, visit www.lowcountrywater.com
South Carolina Electric & Gas Company is a regulated public utility engaged in the generation, transmission, distribution and sale of electricity to approximately 717,000 customers in 24 counties in the central, southern and southwestern portions of South Carolina. The company also provides natural gas service to approximately 362,000 customers in 35 counties in the state.
LRWS Debt Refinancing Saves Over $600,000
Hampton, SC, April 26, 2016– The Commission of the Lowcountry Regional Water System gave final approval to refinance two existing bonds at its recent commission meeting. These two bonds were original bond issues from the United States Department of Agriculture Rural Development program for water and sewer system improvements for the Towns of Brunson and Hampton. The refinanced amount of $2,417,000 at a 2.2% interest will result in nearly $625,000 savings over the life of the loan and $31,000 savings annually.
Chairman Rhoden stated, “These two loans were originally issued by USDA in the 1990’s at interest rates of 5% or more. We knew when we formed the Lowcountry Regional Water System that this was something we could do one day to save us money.” Brian Burgess, general manager of the Lowcountry Regional Water System stated, “We identified this as an area we could save our customers money. We worked hard to put ourselves in a position financially to make this happen.”
Carter Bank & Trust from Martinsville Virginia was the purchaser of the new bond. This bond will be paid over a 20 year period at 2.2% interest resulting in net savings to Lowcountry Regional Water System of more than $600,000.
The Lowcountry Regional Water System was formed as a joint water system in 2012 and became operational in June 2013. Its members consist of The Towns of Brunson, Gifford, Hampton, Varnville, Yemassee and Hampton County.
USDA Helps LRWS Save over $100,000
Hampton, SC, July 13, 2015– The Lowcountry Regional Water System is paying off several of its USDA loans early. The early payoff will result in a savings of interest charges in excess of $100,000.
The Lowcountry Regional Water System was formed as a joint water system and its members consist of The Towns of Brunson, Gifford, Hampton, Varnville, Yemassee and Hampton County. All members agreed to turn over their water and sewer assets along with their debts and liabilities and the system officially began its operations June 2013.
During the process for LRWS to assume several loans from some of the Towns, it was suggested by USDA Rural Utilities Services Director, Michele Cardwell that LRWS consider paying off several of the loans with its loan reserves.
USDA requires applicants to set aside funds into a reserve account equal to an annual payment of the loan. With the new consolidated system, LRWS was able to consolidate the reserve funds to pay off several of the loans with USDA approval. John Rhoden, Chairman of the Lowcountry Regional Water System stated, “This is a direct benefit of our towns working together to form this system. By pooling our resources we are saving our towns over $100,000. We certainly appreciate the folks at USDA and their commitment to Hampton County.”
LRWS General Manager Brian Burgess contacted Congressman Jim Clyburn’s office for his assistance. Mr. Dalton Tresvant of Congressman Clyburn’s office arranged a meeting with Ms. Michele Cardwell and Mr. George Hicks of USDA in May to review the loan assumptions status. “Mr. Hicks and Ms. Cardwell were there for us. They provided the guidance and assistance in making this happen. USDA supports us and is committed to improving the lives of people in Hampton County. ” Stated Mr. Burgess.
Mr. Hicks commented, “We are very happy to see the Towns come together and form the Lowcountry Regional Water System. Small communities face difficulties every day. I am glad we were able to assist LRWS and look forward to working with LRWS in the future in providing clean, safe water for the people of Hampton County.”
The Lowcountry Regional Water System will be paying off five loans from the Town of Brunson, Gifford and Hampton totaling approximately $199,708.57. All of the loans were original USDA loans with some dating back to 1977 and some with interest rates as high as 5.875%. This early payoff will save LRWS approximately $104, 250.15 in interest.
- 355 billion gallons per day - First of all, congratulations are in order to the United States: According to a new USGS report, water use in this country is at its lowest recorded level in nearly 45 years. In 2010, we used just 355 billion gallons of water per day. As immense as that number sounds, it represents a 13 percent reduction from 2005. It’s also the lowest number since before 1970.
- 45 percent - The largest use of water in the United States? Thermoelectric power, which is the process of generating electricity using steam-driven generators. The process used roughly 161,000 mgd in 2010, or 45 percent of total water use. Of that amount, most of it can be attributed to the East Coast, where 86 percent of thermoelectric-power water withdrawals originate.
- 5 percent - Although populations serviced by public water supplies have continued to grow, public water use decreased by 5 percent between 2005 and 2010. That number represents the first decline in public-use water since the USGS began reporting in 1950.
- One quarter - Four states — California, Texas, Idaho and Florida — accounted for one quarter of all fresh and saline water withdrawals in 2010. In California, which wins the Top Water User Award, the lion’s share of water goes toward irrigation. Florida takes the prize for saline-water withdrawals.
- 268 million - An estimated 268 million people relied on public-supply water for household use in 2010, which represents 86 percent of the U.S. population. The top four states for public water supply use were: California, Texas, New York and Florida.
- 42 percent - Maine holds the honor of “largest self-supplied population,” with 42 percent of the state’s residents relying on groundwater wells or other self-sufficient options. Other top states were Alaska and the Virgin Islands, with 37 percent and 35 percent reporting self-supplied water sources, respectively.
- 62.4 million acres - Irrigation withdrawals accounted for the second largest portion of overall use. In 2010, 62.4 million acres were irrigated, which was an increase of 1.5 percent from 2005. But the good news is that although total acreage increased slightly, irrigation use decreased by 9 percent.
- 1980 - Since 1950, when the USGS began keeping water use records, the greatest water-use year occurred in 1980, when the nation used 430 billion gallons per day. At that point, thermoelectric power accounted for 210,000 mgd compared to 161,000 in 2010.