Refurbished Meters/Receptacles Gain Traction
This year — 2010 — has generally been a good year for private campgrounds and RV parks, with most reporting occupancies and revenue at least on par with last year’s figures, if not better.
It’s also been a good year for companies that supply electrical equipment as many of the nation’s older parks continue to replace pedestals and meters and upgrade their electrical hookups to include 50-amp connections.
Electrical equipment vendors also report that private parks are adding electrical hookups to campsites that haven’t had electricity before. “Business is great!” said Lisa Senior, general manager of Hialeah Meter Co. in Hialeah, Fla. “It’s been a better year than last year. We can’t produce meters fast enough.”
Senior said most of her customers purchase Hialeah’s remanufactured electrical meters, which are about a third the cost of new meters and come with a two-year warranty. Hialeah is also selling lots of pedestals, she said.
“I think parks know it behooves them to have a nice pedestal that the RVers can plug into and to meter the electricity so they can recover those costs,” she said, adding that she is seeing quite a bit of sales activity in Arizona, Oklahoma, Texas and Wisconsin.
Bob Dill, marketing manager for York, S.C.-based Austin International, is also seeing brisk sales activity. “We’ve had kind of a spurt this year from the Midwest to the Northeast primarily for our E-Z Read meters,” said Dill, whose company is the world’s largest manufacturer of remanufactured electric meters.
Rick Linnell, co-owner of B & B Electrical in Lake Orion, Mich., said his company has been very busy this year selling electrical wire as well as conversion kits and meters. “You’ve got a real problem if you don’t have 50 amp service,” Linnell said of park owners, adding that many parks have been upgrading entire sections of their campgrounds at one time.
Norman Boucher, co-owner of LCN Outdoors in Windsor, Conn., said his electrical business has been consistent with last year’s figures, with strong sales of pedestal boxes, meters and meter kits.
Jamestown, N.Y.-based Jamestown Advanced Products Corp. is also seeing rising demand for electrical products from public parks. “Right now, there are some big projects for 50-30-20 (pedestals) for government work,” said sales manager Rob Jones, adding, “We’ve seen some for rest areas that are going to be opening up soon.”
But while parks have been making considerable investments in electrical equipment, some have also been opting to purchase replacement parts rather than invest in brand new equipment.
“The big thing we saw over the summer, which continues actually, is that people are repairing or refurbishing boxes and pedestals rather than replacing them,” said Wade Elliott, president of Utility Supply Group in Issaquah, Wash, adding that his sales of replacement receptacles have been double last year’s figures.
“They’re doing this as a way to save costs,” Elliott said, adding that he believes park operator frugality is driven in part by continuing uncertainties about the economy.
“A lot of campground operators are doing OK this year, but they don’t know what’s going to happen next year,” he said.
Utility Supply Group is also continuing to sell pedestals and surface mount boxes, but the biggest increase has been in the company’s sales of replacement receptacles.
Campground operators are also looking to save money by investing in a variety of meters and timers to control everything from electricity to water and natural gas consumption, said Charles Robertson, corporate administrator for Monarch Coin & Security.
The Covington, Ky.-based company sells meters and timers and push button controls for pumps, sports court lighting, heaters and showers. “We’re seeing (parks with) tighter budgets,” Robertson said. “The things (park operators) would give away in the past they now meter.”
Here’s a sampling of companies that supply electrical equipment to private park operators:
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COMPANY: Austin International Inc.
OVERVIEW: Austin International describes itself as the world’s largest remanufacturer of electric utility meters.
PRODUCT SPECIALTY: Low-profile E-Z read meters as well as socket and mounting kits.
MANAGEMENT: Randy Austin, owner
CONTACT: 7 Ross Cannon Street, York, SC 29745; (803) 628-0035; www.electricalconnector.com.
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COMPANY: B & B Electrical
OVERVIEW: B & B Electrical has been providing electrical products for RV parks and mobile home communities since 1968.
PRODUCT SPECIALTY: B & B’s product lineup includes pedestals, surface boxes and accessories, electric wire, as well as electric meters and conversion kits. The company also offers light posts, water and gas meters and pre-construction meter mounts.
MANAGEMENT: Richard Linnell, president and owner.
CONTACT: 2737 Browning Drive, Lake Orion, MI 48360; (888) 391-3802 or (248) 391-3800; http://bbelec.com/index.php.
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COMPANY: Eaton Corp.-RV Park Hookups
OVERVIEW: RV Park Hookups, acquired by Cleveland, Ohio-based Eaton Corp. in March of this year, has been supplying pedestals and other equipment for campgrounds and RV parks since 2000.
PRODUCT SPECIALTY: Pedestals, marketed under the Powerhouse, Power Tower, Park Light and Newport Camp Mate brand names.
MANAGEMENT: Greg Nailler, manager.
CONTACT: 149 Warwick Court, Williamsburg, Va. 23185; (800) 723-8009; or visit the company’s website at www.marinapower.com.
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COMPANY: Hialeah Meter Co.
OVERVIEW: This company has been providing high quality, remanufactured watt-hour meters since 1954.
PRODUCT SPECIALTY: While it’s best known for its remanufactured meters, Hialeah also provides a full line of power outlets, pedestals, sockets and socket accessories.
MANAGEMENT: Eugene Bixby, president and CEO.
CONTACT: 450 W. 28th Street, Hialeah, Fla. 33011; (800) 654-0821; www.hialeahmeter.com.
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COMPANY: Jamestown Advanced Products Corp.
OVERVIEW: Jamestown Advanced is a custom steel manufacturing company with 196,000 square feet of manufacturing space and over a decade of experience in custom design fabrication. The company began producing campground and RV products in 1995. Its customer base includes state parks, municipalities, federal properties and privately owned RV parks and campgrounds across North America.
PRODUCT SPECIALTY: Campsite amenities, including pedestals, campfire rings, grills, picnic tables, lantern holders, benches and mailboxes.
MANAGEMENT: Wendi Lodestro, president.
CONTACT: 2855 Girts Road, Jamestown, N.Y. 14701; (800) 452-0639 or (716) 483-3406; www.jamestownadvanced.com.
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COMPANY: LCN Outdoors LLC
OVERVIEW: LCN is a nationwide distributor of products for campgrounds and RV resorts.
PRODUCT SPECIALTY: LCN provides a broad range of products for campground and RV park operators, including electrical boxes, cabins, canoes, kayaks, pedal boats, apparel and giftware. It has been serving since 2004 as a distributor for the electrical products of Milbank Manufacturing Co.
MANAGEMENT: Norm Boucher owns the business with his wife, Linda Lee.
CONTACT INFORMATION: 55 Mechanic Street, Windsor, Conn. 06095; (800) 552-2267; www.lcnoutdoors.com.
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COMPANY: Monarch Coin & Security Inc.
OVERVIEW: Monarch was founded in 1905 and has become one of the nation’s leading providers of coin operated devices that control the use of washing machines, dryers, showers, door locks and other devices.
PRODUCT SPECIALTY: Monarch’s specialties include the Monarch Key Kop, the AquaMiser shower timer and universal bathroom lock.
MANAGEMENT: Stephanie Hall, president and CEO
CONTACT INFORMATION: P.O. Box 427, Covington, KY 41012; (800) 462-9460; www.monarchcoin.com.
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COMPANY: Utility Supply Group Inc.
OVERVIEW: Utility Supply Group is a nationwide distributor of electrical products for campgrounds, RV parks and manufactured housing communities.
PRODUCT SPECIALTY: Pedestals, power outlet boxes, meter socket kits, digital and clock type electronic meters. Its latest pedestal is the ParkRanger, made of GE Lexan plastic. The company also provides water and gas meters as well as refurbished boxes and pedestals and replacement parts and accessories.
MANAGEMENT: Wade Elliott, president.
CONTACT: P.O. Box 2428, Issaquah, Wash. 98027; (800) 800-7082 (West Coast Office) or (800) 800-2811 (East Coast Office); www.go-usg.com.