Campground Orders Boost Utility Meter Makers’ Bottom Lines
This year has been a fairlyy good year for companies that provide utility supplies to the campground industry.
Parks are replacing old pedestals. They’re adding new sites. And they’re doing so in greater numbers than last year.
“I think RV parks this fall are really going to be expanding because we’re doing some really big quotes,” said Maggie Linnel, vice president of B & B Electrical in Lake Orion, Mich. “People are adding on and revamping.”
Paul Croteau, a principal with Electrical Professionals LLC in Lee’s Summit, Mo., said he is also seeing a lot of activity in Texas and Louisiana, where parks are being developed to temporarily accommodate employees in the region’s burgeoning oil and natural gas industries.
“Beyond that,” he said, “people are upgrading old equipment and adding sites here and there.”
Wade Elliott, president of Preston, Wash.-based Utility Supply Group Inc., said he had his best August ever and that this year is shaping up to be very good overall. “We’re not doing better than 2007, but we’re certainly doing better than 2009,” he said.
Other suppliers also said their business levels generally exceeded last year’s figures.
“Business was very good this year,” said Lisa Senior, general manager of Hialeah Meter Co. of Hialeah, Fla. “We have a really good sales team and they are knowledgeable about the parks,” she said, adding that the company is also preparing to post instructional videos on its website.
Hialeah is also offering a 10% discount to park operators who contact the company and reference coupon code SAVE10. The website also has a place where the coupon code can be entered for orders placed online.
Jamestown Advanced Products Corp. also expects this year’s sales to exceed last year’s figures. “We are seeing steady interest in power outlets and it grows every year,” said Robb Jones, sales manager for the Jamestown, N.Y.-based company, whose product line includes lighted pedestals as well as a wide variety of surface mounts and pad mounts.
Bob Dill, director of marketing for York, S.C.-based Vision Metering LLC, which supplies new and remanufactured electric meters, said his campground business has also been excellent this year. “We’ve had new parks call us to do their work from scratch,” he said.
Utility equipment suppliers also said rising utility costs of electricity and water have also resulted in increased demand for meters as well as coin operated shower controls to recoup some of their utility costs while encouraging their guests to avoid waste.
“Over the last four or five years, people have gotten the religion on metering,” said Elliott. “We’re even seeing that on water metering in RV parks.”
While the cost of electricity and water often warrant investments in metering, park operators also invest in meters after they encounter instances in which guests are simply wasting water and power.
Bo Scott, product specialist with Monarch Coin & Security Co. Inc. in Covington, Ky., said shower meters not only save water, but also help parks avoid wasting natural gas or electricity needed to heat water for showers in the first place.
Monarch’s product offering also includes push button shower controls, which help avoid waste by limiting the amount of time water is allowed to flow. The controls also give parks a way to control hot water consumption so campers can have hot showers.
Elliott of Utility Supply Group said he has had park operators complain to him about guests who leave their water running so that their pipes don’t freeze in the winter. Park operators can discourage that kind of water use by installing meters, he said.