Beginning in 2018 and extending into 2021, the City will be implementing a program to replace all manually read water meters with a wireless, automatic read system. This is following a three-year program from 2014 to 2016 that converted the City’s gas utility meters to an automatic read system.
The City has already received benefits from the gas meter replacement and should receive the same benefits from the conversion of the water meters. The automatic meter reading reduces the labor costs to the utility, which improves efficiency. As the utility and the City are expanding, we are now doing more work with essentially the same labor force as 15-20 years ago due to this increased efficiency. At the same time the automatic meter reading system will streamline the meter reading process and have added benefits including advanced leak detection.
This advancement will do things like detect serious leaks or valves unintentionally left open that can significantlyincrease water bills. The automatic meter reading provides usage data and enhanced reporting and customer use information such as the ability to read a meter from the office for account close out or starting service with real time information.
The 2018 program work was completed in July, replacing approximately 1000 of the 5500 manual read meters in the water system. Many customers converted to a new meter will have additional consumption in their July bill due a shift in the meter read date from earlier in the month to the end of the month. This is a necessary change to coordinate meter reads on the auto read system to the same day at the end of the month. This shift means there will be more consumption charged for that month than normal.
A credit will be applied to customers that would have had an incremental increase in their bill from being bumped into a higher rate step due to the longer billing period. Customers with a usage of less than 8 ccf (hundred cubic feet) or more than 20 ccf based on a calculated 30 day average will not see a credit as the additional consumption would not have changed their rate step. There is about a $1/ccf difference between rate steps.
If you have questions regarding your water bill, please contact the City Utility Billing office at 360-825-3591.