Managed Solution Transforms City’s Water System

BEACON® Advanced Metering Analytics helps city improve its data accuracy and reliability, as well as meter-reading efficiency.

Dec 1st, 2018
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Once a small town not far from Cleveland, the city of Avon is now one of the fastest growing communities in northeast Ohio. The city is situated near Lake Erie, and its distribution system serves approximately 10,500 residential and 1,000 commercial accounts. With a history of obsolete accounting records and meter-reading technologies, the city of Avon’s water system was not keeping pace with its changing needs.

Over the past decade, Avon’s water utility team had been using several different meter-reading technologies that were not the most efficient means of determining its customers’ water consumption.

“We were estimating,” explained Anthony Lorenzo, utilities superintendent for the city of Avon. “Using our old system, we could only read one-third of the city’s meters each month. So, we had to estimate the reads for the other two-thirds. That meant every account was only read accurately once a quarter. We lost time and money, and our customers were upset. We needed to make a change.”

The City of Avon’s water utility team.

Transforming the System

In February 2016, the city’s water utility team began putting together a request for proposal (RFP) for a fixed-network meter-reading solution. After a brief search, the city’s utility team selected Badger Meter’s BEACON® Advanced Metering Analytics (AMA) managed solution with ORION Cellular endpoints and Badger’s E-Series® Ultrasonic meters. BEACON AMA is a cloud-based software analytics platform, which allowed Avon to utilize both the new ORION Cellular endpoints as well as its traditional fixed-network technologies.

Avon’s old, infrastructure-based meter-reading solution required utility technicians to spend more than 160 hours (or two weeks) every month monitoring the water meter-reading system, manually rechecking meters and acting on the data. By implementing the BEACON AMA managed solution, Avon cut that time down nearly 88 percent to about 20 hours (or one day) per month.

Finding the Right Meter

Before the city of Avon installed Badger Meter’s E-Series Ultrasonic meters throughout its system, the utility faced a series of challenges surrounding meter locations known by individual utility technicians rather than stored in a central database that the accounting department could access for billing purposes. “The legacy data system was not always accurate or did not always contain important information on the meters and their locations,” said Lorenzo.

With BEACON AMA, Avon was able to utilize both the new ORION Cellular endpoints as well as its traditional fixed-network technologies.

After selecting Badger Meter, Avon spent almost two years overhauling and installing new billing software and meters to replace the many varieties of meters previously in the ground. Utility staff was also able to find and map the locations for the new E-Series meters and incorporated them into a new geographic information system (GIS) so that meter readers could easily obtain meter readings, even during Ohio’s snowy winter months.

Prior to implementing E-Series, Avon found that some of its water meters were reading flows at 60- to 80-percent accuracy. With the E-Series meters, accuracy improved to nearly 100 percent, making Avon’s one of the most successful hybrid systems in the nation.

Building a Successful System

“This solution has been transformative for the city of Avon,” said Lorenzo. “We now know that we will receive timely and accurate data every day.” It has also helped the utility improve accountability with its customers and rate payers. “And with the scale of Avon’s growth, this will be especially critical for our future,” Lorenzo added. “Working with the Badger Meter team has been highly successful, and we know we can trust this technology to be effective for years to come.” WW

Badger Meter is a leading manufacturer of products using flow measurement and control technologies. To learn more, visit www.badgermeter.com.

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