Council hears plans for new water meters


By Gary Budzak - gbudzak@civitasmedia.com



The latest on the roll-out of Delaware’s new advanced water meters was discussed at the City Council meeting on Monday

The new meters will eliminate the need for on-site meter readings.

“We’re very excited about this, ready to move forward,” said Brad Stanton, the city’s public utilities director. “We’re sure it’s going to be a great benefit to the city and its residents.”

“Before the contract was executed, we wanted to give an overview of how this system would work,” said City Manager Tom Homan.

Once installed, the AMI system will read the city’s water meters automatically, keeping more accurate records on water usage, and detecting if homes have leaks. Before full-scale installation, though, test readings will need to be done from 500-600 locations, staff will have to be trained, and a deployment sequence will be established.

Delaware will use AMI equipment made by Mueller Systems. Mike Storm, sales director for Mueller, explained how the equipment works.

“An AMI system is a communication network that we deploy throughout the city of Delaware that will communicate with the water meters of the residents and the commercial properties,” Storm said. “There’s going to be a series of collectors hung throughout the city, the collectors will communicate with a radio device that will be attached to water meters in the city of Delaware. Those radios read the meters hourly. They transmit that reading to the collectors. The collectors transfer the information to a server. At the server, the information is interfaced with the city of Delaware’s billing software, so meter readings and bills can be sent out.”

Customers will be able to monitor their own water consumption, set budget or conservation goals, and receive alerts from a web portal, Storm said.

Keystone Utility Systems will install AMI equipment for 8,000 outside meter pits; and city staff will install inside meters; for a total of 12,000. Mike Cutrone, Keystone vice president, said they can install 90-120 meters a day, usually taking 15 to 20 minutes each. Many of the meters will be retrofitted, and some will need replaced.

Council members asked questions about privacy, liability and if residents could opt out.

Homan said the city of Maumee has rolled out an AMI system, and only three residents have refused the service to date. There was talk of not allowing people to opt out, or charging them more for monthly manual meter readings.

The installation will be done in phases, and residents will be notified in advance. The city has said there is no cost to customers for the meter upgrade. For more information, call 740-203-1900.

By Gary Budzak

gbudzak@civitasmedia.com

Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.

Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.