Wingo Water & Sewer: First to Install Fixed Network System in Kentucky

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Wingo Water & Sewer
When it came time to upgrade its meter reading system, Wingo Water & Sewer wanted a comprehensive water utility solution.

Utility Upgrades to ORION® Fixed Network (SE) System from Badger Meter

Located in rural Kentucky, the small town of Wingo may seem like an unlikely candidate to become the first city in the state to employ a complete Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system. However, when it came time to upgrade its meter reading system, the city wanted a comprehensive water utility solution. Wingo chose the ORION Fixed Network (SE) system from Badger Meter.

Nestled in the southwestern corner of the state, Wingo Water & Sewer is comprised of three people - its long-standing Mayor and water utility operator/superintendent, Charles Shelby; the police chief; and one licensed water operator. For many years, up until the summer of 2013, the city had been using the Recordall® Disc Series meters with a manual read operation. This system required Mayor Shelby along with the city clerk, Cassa Gossum, to manually collect reads from the city's 325 services each month. Over time, this method proved to be increasingly difficult and time consuming given the town's limited resources, rural location and weather extremes.

Trusted and Proven AMR/AMI Technology for Utility Optimization

After receiving a grant, Mayor Shelby turned to Steve Townsend, his longtime Badger Meter distributor at HD Supply Waterworks in Kentucky, to explore how an AMI system could improve his city's operations.

"From constructing a new water treatment plant and clear water tower to putting in a UV system for disinfection, we've made several improvements to our water system in recent years. Installing the AMI system was the natural next step. I knew radio reads would make our operations much more efficient," said Shelby.

Initially, the city considered implementing either a drive-by or fixed network system. Because of Wingo's small size, flat landscape and perfectly-situated water tower at the highest geographic elevation, one ORION network gateway transceiver could cover most of the city, making Wingo the perfect candidate for fixed network. Seizing the opportunity, Mayor Shelby selected the high-powered ORION Fixed Network (SE) system from Badger Meter to reduce data collection time, improve accuracy and enhance customer service.

Wingo's small size, flat landscape and  perfectly-situated water tower highest geographic elevation fixed network.
Wingo's small size, flat landscape and perfectly-situated water tower at the highest geographic elevation made it an ideal candidate for fixed network.

Preparing for Installation

Although the city's current positive displacement, nutating disc meters (Model 25 and LP residential meters) would easily transition to fixed network, the meter boxes dating back to the 1930s would not. To accommodate the radio frequencies and facilitate the signal strengths necessary in a two-way, fixed network, HD Supply Waterworks upgraded all meter boxes to a composite material. This critical step ensured the most accurate and effective gateway reads upon installation.

Simultaneous Fixed Network and Mobile Reading Capabilities Streamline Operations

Shortly after installation, Wingo Water & Sewer secured a firmware upgrade to its ORION Fixed Network (SE) system, allowing for simultaneous fixed network and mobile reading capabilities.

"The flexibility of the ORION Fixed Network (SE) system allows us to capture readings in mobile mode at any time," explained Shelby, "including those that are extremely difficult to read."

Blazing the Trail to Improved Utility Operations

Wingo Water & Sewer looks forward to continually improving its operations, enhancing its customer service and allocating the time it used to spend meter reading on its water conservation efforts - an increased focus for the utility.

"When we installed the AMI system, I didn't realize we were blazing a trail. I just wanted to streamline our operations and serve our customers to the best of our ability," said Shelby. "With Badger Meter and HD Supply Waterworks, that's exactly what we did - and more."

Badger Meter is exhibiting at AWWA's ACE14 expo in Booth 1911.

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