By Randy Harvey, Superintendent, Auburn Water Department
This May, Auburn Water Department (AWD) will begin upgrading to smart water meters for our 5,000+ customers throughout town. The new meters will be connected to the Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) that Auburn Electric has been leveraging for the past several years. Now, thanks to the AMI technology, we’ll be able to provide accurate meter reading remotely, detect leaks earlier and monitor usage in real time—among other benefits (keep reading for those). Most of all, I think moving to smart water meters will ensure higher quality, greater efficiency and quicker service from AWD.
The AMI water meters are part of a bond-funded project we told you about a year ago. The meters will be integrated into Auburn Electric’s existing infrastructure and give both ratepayers and AWD many benefits:
- Enhanced tracking of water usage
- Early leak detection
- Fewer meter re-reads and service calls
- Real time and on-demand reads
- Remote monitoring
- Improved billing
- Lower operational costs, which help maintain low user rates
- Detailed customer consumption/history, including specific times of high usage
- No estimating of monthly consumption due to adverse weather conditions or lack of access to the meter
How the Upgrade Will Work
The meter upgrade is mandatory and impacts all water customers—though there is no cost to customers for the upgrade. AWD has contracted with Professional Meters Inc. (PMI) to install the new smart meters. With extensive experience in water meter changeouts, PMI is an ideal partner to help to help us execute this project efficiently and as unobtrusively as possible for our customers.
Because the upgrade requires a PMI technician to access the water meter INSIDE your home, you will be asked to schedule a time for the installation. Someone age 18 or older must be present during the installation (approximately 30 minutes). In the coming weeks, water customers will receive a postcard from PMI that includes information on how to schedule an appointment via phone or online portal.
How to Prepare
- Watch your mail for information from PMI on how to schedule an appointment for your upgrade.
- Schedule a time for PMI to come inside your home to upgrade your water meter.
- Check your water supply shutoff valve to make sure it is working properly. (If not, get it repaired before your appointment.)
- Clear the area in front of your water meter for the technician.
Things to Be Aware Of
There may be changes in water pressure during the installation process. This could result in discolored water, air in the water lines or small particles of sediment. So, prior to using your water, we recommend that you flush your lines by turning on your bathtub’s cold water faucet or use an outside faucet. Also be careful to avoid flushing from faucets that have aerator attachments or hot water faucets—these could draw sediment into your hot water tank.
AWD—Your Water Stewards
At Auburn Water Department, we consider ourselves to be stewards of the community’s water delivery system—not only do we take that very seriously, we take great pride in providing our customers with the best possible services. We’ve worked hard to plan out the steps of this process so if you have any questions, please call AWD at 260.925.5711.