City Builds 'Bridge to AMI' to Boost Water Conservation, Improve Customer Service
The city of West Jordan, Utah, is nestled in the valley near the Oquirrh Mountains, just southwest of Salt Lake City. One of Utah's fastest growing cities, West Jordan blossomed from a population of 4,221 in 1970 to over 111,000 today - and is still growing.
The city of West Jordan, Utah, is nestled in the valley near the Oquirrh Mountains, just southwest of Salt Lake City. One of Utah’s fastest growing cities, West Jordan blossomed from a population of 4,221 in 1970 to over 111,000 today - and is still growing.
The city’s water system is operated by the Public Works Department, which maintains over 23,000 water meters, of which 3,000 are commercial accounts.
Like most cities in the western United States, West Jordan has been especially concerned about water conservation. Considered a high desert, the region has had a reduction in snowpack over the last few years. “We’re really aware of how we use our water, and conservation is at the forefront of everybody’s mind in Utah,” stated Craig Frisbee, West Jordan’s Utility Director.
West Jordan purchases wholesale water as a primary source, with some of its own wells for backup. The wholesale provider set a goal of 25 percent reduction in water consumption by the year 2025. West Jordan adopted that same goal.
The city implemented Master Meter’s Automated Meter Reading (AMR) system around 2008, and the staff has been very pleased with the drive-by system. The meter reading accuracy and drive-by technology increased billing revenues and reduced operating costs. Detailed data also allows the city to better answer customers’ questions about billing or consumption.
Yet, to meet West Jordan’s strong conservation goals, the utility department staff wished to further engage customers by providing information to help them budget their water use. And Frisbee had a personal goal to not only give citizens a tool to manage consumption - but also help them reduce their water bills.
|While Master Meter installs the hardware and transitions the utility billing software, customers can access real-time consumption information via WaterSmart on their mobile phones or through the web.|
Frisbee and his staff met with Master Meter to discuss their desire to move towards AMI. “We’ve worked with Master Meter for quite a few years. We like their product and their approach to customer service. They have a good customer service philosophy,” noted Craig.
The main concerns for West Jordan’s City Council were funding and ensuring a smooth transition for the upgrade. With Master Meter’s help, West Jordan developed a five-year program to upgrade the metering system while staying within the city’s budget.
West Jordan is now in the process of upgrading its 3G AMR system to Master Meter’s 4G Allegro Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Network. Master Meter is also helping West Jordan with changes to the billing software.
In the meantime, West Jordan conducted extensive research to find a best-in-class customer engagement system. They were introduced to WaterSmart Software and began working with them in 2015. Frisbee explained, “WaterSmart had a great track record for conservation, good data analysis, and a portal that was easy to use and customer friendly.” WaterSmart helps customers enjoy some of the benefits of AMI - like detailed consumption information by use category and leak notification - ahead of AMI installation.
Frisbee met with WaterSmart and Master Meter to see if there were benefits to having the two companies work together. This led to a strategic collaboration the team refers to as the “Bridge to AMI.”
While Master Meter installs the hardware and transitions the utility billing software, WaterSmart fosters relationships with customers. As the new meters are deployed, WaterSmart relays real-time information to customers, such as leak resolution workflows and water-use tracking, on their mobile phones or through the web.
“We weren’t aware that both companies’ systems would work together so well to help customers manage their water spend, to increase water conservation and improve customer service,” noted Frisbee. “That was an aha moment for us.”
By working together with Master Meter and WaterSmart, West Jordan’s customers are enjoying a seamless transition to an improved system.