New advanced water meters will be installed at 12,000 Delaware homes at a cost of $1.6 million this year.
Residents will be receiving advanced meter infrastructure (AMI) this year that will provide more accurate readings of water usage, according to city officials.
Although the project is expected to cost $1.6 million, city officials have said the benefits outweigh the costs. For example, the equipment will be able to detect leaks; and bills will reflect actual usage instead of estimates. Also, knowing the flow rates and demand for water will help the city understand the supply and capacity of the resource at the treatment plant.
Last year, seven vendors — Aclara, Badger, Itron, Mueller, Neptune, Sensus and Zenner — submitted proposals for the project to the city. Badger, Mueller, Sensus and Zenner gave presentations in September, and the city’s AMI committee and consulting firm CH2M Hill evaluated the finalists.
In its recommendations, CH2M Hill said the “key functional priorities” of an AMI system are: Multi-meter compatibility, support for monthly billing without additional staff, reducing manual reads, tamper and theft detection, customer leak detection, customer web portal, and using existing city infrastructure if possible.
Mueller Systems was the recommended choice, ranking second among the vendors from a technical standpoint and first in terms of price.
Following the selection and prior to contract negotiations, city staff met with utility staff in Maumee, Ohio, which implemented a Mueller AMI system in 2013. They were told there was a 99.9 percent successful read rate among the 6,400 customers in Maumee. The system was installed in about nine months.
“The city of Maumee is very pleased with the Mueller AMI system and the customer service that Mueller provides the city,” states an AMI project update issued by Delaware city staff.
“Maumee’s customers are provided the ability to access a customer portal via the city’s website to view their individual water usage and set up alerts,” the AMI update said. “Mueller will also provide the city of Delaware with a customer portal.”
The contract is currently being prepared and requires the approval of City Council before the project can move forward, said Brad Stanton, director of public utilities. After that, there will be open houses to explain the technology to the public, and the meters will begin to be installed in the spring.
The update on the meters was given during the city’s Public Works/Public Utilities Committee meeting on Tuesday.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.