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Technology upgrade could lower New Bern utility bills

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NEW BERN, N.C. -

The city of New Bern is testing out some new technology that city officials say could your lower your utility bill.

Right now the city is ordering new electric and water meters for a nearly one million dollar pilot program that's being rolled out this summer, said Jon Rynne, New Bern electric utilities director.

The meters will let the city know whether you've lost power during an outage without you having to call and report it.

The city is also implementing new software that'll let you know how much electricity and water you've already used before you even get your bill. It would involve going the city's website and logging onto your account.

"For a family it allows me to take a look at the amount of power I'm using during the month, and then manage accordingly to the cost at the end of the month, so it just puts us in the driver's seat," said Brett Parkhurst, a New Bern resident.

About 1600 customers in Duffyfield, Taberna, Carolina Colours, and Pembroke will pilot the program over the next 12 months, Rynne said.

If the program is successful, the city will roll the program out for all its customers in five to seven years, a cost of $5 to $6 million.

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