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Advanced meter systems are quickly becoming the standard for utilities around the country. 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, meter reading is completed by driving around town and collecting the reads through an AMR system (ie., computer read from a vehicle) once per month. Most of our existing meters are 15 years old and as batteries weaken, it requires more manual reads each month. Introducing automatic meter reading as the standard for Terrell is one of the ways we can better serve our customers and improve the overall efficiency of the utility department.
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AMI stands for Advanced Metering Infrastructure. It is a method of using communication technology to read meters remotely without having to access the meter located in meter boxes in the ground.
The City of Terrell has chosen a fixed-based network that provides two-way communication from the meter box to strategically located Base Stations. The City is replacing water meters throughout our system with new meters equipped with a meter transceiver. The meter transceiver will collect and transmit meter reading data, unique identification numbers, operating status, and various alarms at regular intervals to the Base Stations.
The City has contracted with Aqua Metric to perform the replacements.
No. Since the water meters are located outside of the home and mostly in the City right-of-way, you will not need to be home for the replacement work. Any specific requirements for scheduling can be coordinated with the crew performing the replacement.
All of the City's 6,000 retail meters will be replaced with new Sensus AMI meters. Completion is schedule around February 2023.
No. The radio transmission operates in compliance with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations to avoid interference with other electronic devices.
Yes. Data transmitted from the meter through the system is encrypted through the entire process. No personal data is transmitted over the radio sytem.
Yes. The fixed network will collect readings at fixed data collection points and transmit them electronically for billing purposes without staff needing to go to the location of the meters.
In the future, "yes". The City of Terrell will make a Customer Portal available once the system is fully implemented, around the Spring of 2023. Water customers will have the ability to access their daily water consumption online. Additional information will be provided through public awareness notice and published instructions for online account access nearer to the completion date of the meter installation process.
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 up this situation.
To upgrade the meter to one capable of communicating with the AMI equipment. With the introduction of newer technology, the existing meters are not able to communicate using the AMI equipment. The newer meters will save labor time, prevent recording errors, minimize wear and tear on vehicles, minimize the need for City employees to access the meter pit, and decrease the need to estimate accounts due to severe weather conditions.
Yes. All meters will be changed to be read by the automated metering infrastructure technology. Customers cannot choose to remain on the older manual reading system.
Yes. Meters come pretested along with results directly from the manufacturer. The radio device is calibrated during set up to insure linking with the meter and AMI equipment to insure accuracy.
Any annual rate increase will cause the bill to increase. Additionally, it is likely the new equipment will be more accurate in recording the volume of water used. Since older mechanical meters tend to lose accuracy as they age, they may not accurately measure all the water being used. All new meters are tested prior to delivery by the manufacturer to ensure that they register properly. If you see a higher usage than normal immediately upon the new meter installation and you have not changed your water use pattern, it is likely the old meter was running slow, or you have a minor leak in the system that wasn’t registering correctly through the old meter.
No. Access needs to be available at all times. There will still be instances 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.
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 fall foliage season not to cover your water meter with piles of leaves.
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 electronically to ensure a match.