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City of Harrison | Water Meter Upgrade Project

Frequently Asked Questions

City of Harrison | Water Meter Upgrade Project

What is AMR/AMI?

Automated Meter Reading (AMR) and Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI), allows water utilities to gather utility usage data from its customers, both residential and commercial, without manually reading meters. The utility improves services and saves money by minimizing the costs associated with reading individual residential and commercial meters while allowing more time to do other required maintenance activities. In addition, Automated Meter Reading/Advanced Metering Infrastructure improves data accuracy and helps identify anomalies.

 

How does it work?

The City of Harrison has chosen a Hybrid System that will allow the City to read the water meter either by way of Fixed Base Stations or by way of Drive By Handheld units. The City is replacing the water meters throughout the service territory with new meters equipped with a meter transceiver. The meter transceiver is used to collect and transmit meter reading data, unique identification numbers, operating status and various alarms at regular intervals to the Base Stations or Drive By Handheld units.

 

Why is the City undertaking this effort?

Automated meter systems are quickly becoming the standard for utilities around the country. The City has used the drive-by version of this technology for a small section of meters in the service territory. The efficiencies gained in that area will now be upgraded and shared across the entire City’s service area. These new devices allow for more accurate and faster collection of water usage readings than the current manual method and improve safety conditions for City staff. Currently, the meter readers must open every meter box to obtain a reading from the meter. Introducing automatic meter reading as the standard for Harrison is one of the ways we can better serve our customers and improve the overall efficiency of the water department.

 

How many meters will be changed?

The City is replacing the majority of the meters that have not previously been installed with meter transceivers.

 

Will the electronic device on the meter interfere with other electronic equipment?

No. The radio transmission operates in compliance with FCC regulations to avoid interference with other electronic devices.

 

Do I have to be home for the meter replacement work?

No. Since the water meters are located outside of the home in the City right-of-way, you will not need to be home for the replacement work.

What happens if I have a problem after the installation?

If you have a leak, low pressure or some other problem after the installation, or at any other time, you will be provided contact numbers that you can call to report your concern.  Because your water will be turned off temporarily during the meter change process, you may experience a brief period of air or discolored water. In most cases, briefly running your cold water will clear this situation.

 

Why is the water meter being replaced?

To upgrade the meter to one capable of communicating with the AMI equipment, and as an extension of an existing program to replace aging meters after they have reached the end of their life cycle. With the introduction of newer technology, the existing meters are not able to communicate using the AMI technology. The newer meters will save labor time, prevent recording errors, minimize wear and tear on vehicles, and minimize the need for City employees to access the meter pit.

 

Does the meter have to be replaced?

Yes. All meters will be changed to be read by the automated metering infrastructure technology.

 

Has this new AMI equipment been tested for accuracy
and reliability?

Yes. Meters come pretested along with results directly from the manufacturer. The radio device will be tested for accuracy during the meter collection process regularly.

 

How does AMI benefit customers?

  • Improved customer service by increasing accuracy of meter readings.
  • Minimized need to access meters at the property.
  • Reduction in estimated bills.

 

Will my water bill go up?

Possibly. Older meters tend to lose accuracy as they age and therefore do not measure all the water going through them. The new water meter will accurately measure the water that you use. All new meters are tested prior to delivery by the manufacturer to ensure that they register properly. If you see a higher bill immediately upon the new meter installation, it is likely the old meter was running slow.

 

Can I cover up the meter after the installation?

No. Access needs to be available at all times. There will still be occurrences when meter technicians will visit the meter on site to perform routine maintenance or verify high readings. Obstructions to the meter box are subject to removal by City personnel.

 

What if there is something blocking or in front of the meter?

Please keep access to the water meter available at all times to ensure it is accessible for any potential emergency that would require the meter to be turned off. Be careful during the leaf season to not cover your water meter with leaf piles.

 

Can I read the meter?

No. Only City staff are authorized to open the meter lid. Plumbers are not authorized to open meter lids.

 

How will I know that you have my reading & not someone else’s?

Each radio frequency device has a unique identification number, which is transmitted along with the meter reading. The unique number is compared to your account record to ensure a match.

 

Does this mean no more meter readers?

Yes, the number of meter readers will be reduced and retrained for other jobs some of which will become Meter Maintenance and Repair Technicians. The Meter Technicians will be inspecting all water meters periodically to assure they are still assessable and in proper working order. City staff will continue to visit your property for routine service, maintenance or repair. We will continue to respond to water emergencies.

 

How It Will Work

City of Harrison | Water Meter Upgrade Project

As part of the City of Harrison's efforts to continually improve its infrastructure, it has contracted with Energy Systems Group (ESG) and Republic Metering Group to upgrade the City's water meters.

  • With this new Automated Meter Reading (AMR) System, City employees will not need to manually take readings required for billing. This will significantly lower meter reading costs and will provide you and the City with better usage data.
  • Work will be done by installers wearing "Republic Metering" company badges and orange shirts with "Meter Crew" on the back. Trucks will also be marked with Republic Metering.
  • Most work will be done Monday through Saturday between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 6:00 p.m.
  • Water interruption is expected to take less than 30 minutes.
  • The Republic Metering team will knock on your door to notify you of the meter change out. If there is no answer, they will temporary turn off the water and change out the meter.

 

If your meter is not accessible or if you have special needs, please contact Republic Metering to schedule an appointment. For questions about your meter upgrade, contact:

Project Overview

City of Harrison | Water Meter Upgrade Project

The City of Harrison has selected Energy Systems Group (ESG), a leading energy services provider, to implement a $2.5 million Automated Meter Reading (AMR) and Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) project, whereby it will replace 4,651 city water meters with new meters and install an Itron fixed base meter reading system to allow for remote reading of water meters. The project will also include the installation of new billing software by BS&A Software to allow for accurate and efficient billing. The City previously replaced approximately 2,500 water meters with Itron radios and has been utilizing drive-by meter readings for those. Underscoring its commitment to efficiency and infrastructure modernization, the City will implement a hybrid AMR/AMI system to further advance its operational efficiency and meter accuracy, such that approximately 99% of the system will be read by fixed base collection devices with the remainder being read by drive by collection devices.

 

The economic benefits include more accurate meter readings for end users and the City as well as operational savings of more than $3.4 million over the 15-year term of the project, for the City’s utility department. City employees will not need to manually take readings required for billing. This will significantly lower meter reading costs and will provide the City and residents better usage data.

 

Improved and more efficient meter reading operations utilizing AMR/AMI technologies can help municipalities conserve water, improve customer service and reliability, maximize capital budgets, protect property, preserve system capacities, and reduce operating costs.

 

The water meter upgrades will commence on May 18, 2015.

 

 

Water Meter Upgrade Project

Innovative.Efficient.Conserving Resources

Address: City of Harrison, Arkansas

P.O. Box 1715

Harrison, AR 72602

 

Phone: 830.221.7400

 

Energy Systems Group Logo

Address: Energy Systems Group

4655 Rosebud Lane

Newburgh, IN 47630

 

Phone: 812.471.5000