Atlanta, GA, U.S.A. --- (METERING.COM) --- March 17, 2011 - The majority of Atlanta’s automated meter reading (AMR) water meters are accurately transmitting water usage data from the meter to the handheld or mobile data collector, but in around one quarter of the meters the antennas are not optimally placed in the meter head and in just over 13 percent the antennas are not correctly oriented.

These are among the findings of the Meter and Billing Accuracy Assessment: Phase One, which was undertaken by the City’s Department of Watershed Management, in response to the large number of complaints over high bills over the past three years.

The assessment was based on a study of 9,193 randomly sampled residential and irrigation accounts, amounting to approximately 7 percent of the total 127,000 AMR accounts in the city. Of these more than 96 percent successfully transmitted reading to data collection devices.

Overall, the study found no evidence of problems with the functionality of the meters that were installed properly, and with no external damage to meter components. Further, it concluded that there are no errors in the billing system. However, in the cases where the antenna is not installed in the lid or is not correctly oriented, the meter reading range is much reduced, leading to delays in the reading process. In addition in around 2-5 percent of the cases there was missing critical customer account information, meter/register match issues, incorrect meter interface unit numbers, and estimated reads, all of which directly impact the billing process.

Approximately 2 percent of meter lids were also found to be broken.

As a result of the assessment the Department of Watershed Management is planning an independent audit – to be performed by an outside contractor – of all 127,000 small residential meters, in order to correct data related issues in the billing system and to identify those issues with the meter. Among the 22 recommendations the Department also commits itself to speeding up repairs to damaged meters and to allowing no more than one estimated read per account in a 12-month period. It will also complete AMR installation on the approximately 5,000 non-AMR accounts.

The meters were supplied by Neptune Technology and installed by K & V Meter Automation.