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Mount Pleasant Waterworks moves to Advanced Metering Infrastructure

June 23, 2017

During a recent water meter system evaluation and pilot program, Mount Pleasant Waterworks (MPW) determined newer more advanced technology would better benefit both customers and the utility.
MPW’s current meter reading technology is an Automated Meter Reading system (AMR). The AMR system requires meters to be read through a radio frequency signal as a meter reading vehicle passes by each meter. This system is beginning to age which creates the need for meters to be replaced. 

In July, MPW will begin upgrading water meters throughout the service area to Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI). The upgrade to AMI will enable two-way digital communication from the meter to MPW using “smart meters”.  Data will be processed through three antennas       located on existing towers throughout MPW’s service area.  This technology forms the backbone of the utility for the future, which means more customer-focused and efficient service for everyone.

AMI technology provided by Sensus was selected as the best choice for this meter upgrade based on several factors. AMI will increase customer convenience, ability to track and manage water usage in real time, and enhance customer service. Once the smart meter is installed the need to visit a customer's home/business will be greatly reduced. MPW will be more responsive to customer inquiries based on better data, provide enhanced leak detection services, and improve timing between meter readings and billing.

The decision to install AMI technology is part of MPW’s broader goal of continuously improving the overall water infrastructure and customer service experience. This will allow for more effective system operations and cost savings, and improvement in data availability which will allow MPW to become more proactive versus reactive to customer issues.

From an environmental standpoint, MPW will reduce its environmental footprint due to reductions in vehicle travel to read meters.

"This technology is a critical step in enhancing our service to existing and future customers," said MPW Chairman Rick Crosby.

MPW General Manager Clay Duffie said "AMI technology will bring benefits to our customers, the environment, and our utility. MPW looks forward to keeping our customers informed and satisfied throughout this multi-year project. We want our customers to take full advantage of the many benefits AMI technology has to offer".

While the AMR system has provided MPW with the needed information to produce accurate monthly bills, the new AMI system will provide greater benefits to both customers and MPW. Those benefits include:

Benefits to Customers:
• track consumption – hourly readings available;
• manage cost;
• smarter decisions (service and usage);
• higher reliability due to timely readings;
• closer meter reading and billing dates;
• problem solving capabilities; and
• improved customer engagement and service.

Benefits to MPW:
• improve customer relationship;
• increase efficiency in billing and customer service;
• improve operations;
• reduced labor (allowing current meter reading employees to expand their skill set and increase technical knowledge) and travel for meter reading;
• improve non-revenue water analysis;
• improve workforce management;
• reduce carbon footprint; and
• improve safety and security.

The $15 million Advanced Metering Infrastructure project will start with an initial rollout to a few thousand customers in July 2017. Following the initial deployment phase, meter installation for the rest of the customers will occur in phases over the next two years.

MPW will be communicating with all customers as this projects moves forward. 

 

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