Managed Solution Improves Efficiencies, Customer Service for Pittsylvania County Service Authority

When Chris Adcock became the executive director at the Pittsylvania County Service Authority (PCSA) in 2013, he found an aging water system.

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When Chris Adcock became the executive director at the Pittsylvania County Service Authority (PCSA) in 2013, he found an aging water system. Against a backdrop of customer service concerns and rising costs, Adcock started his search for the best water metering solution and found the BEACON® Advanced Metering Analytics (AMA) managed solution from Badger Meter.

Expanding Service Area Requires Upgraded System

PCSA, which was established in 1973 to supply water service for 3,200 accounts, was facing extra difficulties due to the 900-square-mile, low-account-density service area. In 2009, PCSA began installing the ORION® Classic endpoint AMR mobile read system on all new services and repairs. “Due to the nature of our systems, a network with antennas was not feasible, so mobile read was the obvious choice,” said Adcock. With increased refunds being issued due to leaks and maintenance calls on the rise, Adcock knew the remaining 20+ year old system needed an upgrade.

Ron Lilley, territory sales manager from Carolina Meter & Supply, a Badger Meter distributor, offered two solutions: continue installing the ORION Classic endpoint AMR mobile read technology over the entire service area, or deploy the new BEACON AMA managed solution with ORION Cellular endpoints. Although Adcock and the board of PCSA were already happy with the ORION AMR mobile read system that was in place, they decided to go with the BEACON AMA managed solution. “The functionality of the BEACON system was the real draw,” Adcock said.

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PCSA staff using the BEACON AMA software suite.

Saving Time, Money with Proactive Intelligence

The ORION Classic endpoint AMR system provided a solution to having to constantly stop for a meter read on busy highways, but the BEACON AMA managed solution eliminated the need to send out employees for a meter read all together. Other distinct advantages stood out to Adcock as well, including the ease of getting daily reads and the ability to quickly determine if a leak occurred in the system. The ORION Cellular endpoints use commercial cellular networks and eliminate the issues PCSA initially faced with its system. When combined with the easy-to-use BEACON AMA software suite, PCSA was able to start saving time and money with near real-time data while improving customer service. In November 2015, 100 percent of the system was switched to the BEACON AMA managed solution, and the positive impact was instantly noticeable.

“We have seen an immediate ability to provide better customer service,” said Adcock. “We monitor our system daily for leak alerts and notify those customers of the issues, potentially saving them hundreds of dollars in lost water.” For one customer, this meant that PCSA was able to notify them of a leak and within an hour the customer found that a toilet was running in their house and fixed it. After the toilet was fixed, PCSA was able to determine the issue had been resolved because they could see the water usage drop from 300 gallons per hour to less than 0.1 gallons per hour, all without a single employee being dispatched to the account.

More to Come for the Future

PCSA is already seeing potential changes for its systems moving forward that it hadn’t considered before the BEACON AMA installation, including changing from bi-monthly billing to monthly billing. “Having a monthly bill, as is normal with most services, may help our customers with the ability to better budget their expenses and reduce the number of late notices we issue and subsequent turn-offs,” said Adcock. Since the beginning of the installation, PCSA has projected a 9-10 percent increase in annual revenues.

Badger Meter is exhibiting at AWWA’s ACE16 expo in Booth 1315.

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