In the US state of Indiana, Fort Wayne City Utilities have plans to upgrade its water metering system with an advanced metering infrastructure (AMI).
John Clark, deputy director of capital asset management at City Utilities, said upgrading the water reading and billing system will begin as from next year.
“Six, seven years ago, we started investigating what we needed to do, and just in the last three years the way the radios read and how compact they can be now has greatly improved,” said Clark.
The decision follows the success of an AMI pilot.
Since 2004, the city has been using an automated meter reading system which allowed a one way communication of water usage data.
City officials drive by neighbourhoods to collect consumer usage data.
The new system will enable a two-way communication between the city and consumers.
The AMI system will help reduce operational expenses incurred in driving by neighbourhoods to collect consumer water usage data. The system remotely reads meters, sends data to the utility’s head office as well as operational instructions to smart meters installed in consumer homes.
In addition, the AMI system will help consumers to improve their water efficiency through access to real time water usage data.
The AMI meters will provide usage data multiple times a day unlike the existing system which allows the city to conduct meter reading once every month.
“This new technology sends readings to a computerised billing system up to four times a day and will largely eliminate the need for estimated bills,” according to a statement.
Clark added that the new metering infrastructure will help reduce non-revenue water through quick identification of leaks and meter tampering.
The city is currently in the process of vetting AMI solutions companies to partner with in deploying the advanced water meters.