CT water authority to improve customer billing with advanced AMI upgrade
The South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority has taken the first steps to upgrade its meter reading system, enabling customer water meters to be read through a radio network that will allow the Authority to use collected data to issue bills monthly, rather than three-month intervals.
NEW HAVEN, CT, Sept. 29, 2014 -- The South Central Connecticut Regional Water Authority (RWA) has taken the first steps to upgrade its meter reading system, enabling customer water meters to be read through a radio network that will eventually allow the Authority to use collected data to issue bills monthly, rather than at current three-month intervals. This will potentially make it easier for customers to budget for their water bill.
In the spring of 2016, RWA will begin contacting customers to arrange appointments for workers to install the necessary meter modifications. In the interim, the Authority will build the network and software system needed to support the new metering system. Further, the new electronic meter reading system is planned to be fully operational in 2019.
Customers will be able to review their water use online through their home computers and be able to detect leaks in their water service lines and home plumbing systems quickly. They will also be able to observe the savings from their conservation efforts.
Information on water consumption will flow at regular intervals to RWA, regardless of obstacles that have prevented meter reading in the past, such as dogs, fences that limit access to meters or inclement weather. This advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) will also streamline the final bill process when a property closing takes place, enabling the Authority to obtain an actual reading for the final bill. Larger customers implementing conservation programs will be able to track their programs to see if they are producing desired results.
RWA's Representative Policy Board approved the Authority's management's application for the AMI project on Thursday, Sept. 18. The Board's approval was based on the benefits to RWA customers, the Authority and future savings the project is expected to provide to the organization and its customers.
The AMI project will translate into savings for the customer through longer-term efficiencies. RWA currently has four separate meter reading systems; replacing them with one unified system will allow more efficient readings, take vehicles off the road and reduce overall operating expenses associated with the current meter reading process.
AMI will allow early detection of theft, which will enable RWA to promptly investigate instances of theft that may have gone undetected previously for months. Recapturing this lost revenue helps to mitigate future rate increases for customers. AMI will also provide data for the Authority to help determine the right size for future system improvements and reduce water loss through early detection of leaks in the distribution system.
The entire project is expected to cost $28 million and take five years to fully implement. The AMI project is part of RWA's capital budget and will be funded along with other capital budget projects through the sale of revenue bonds and through low-interest loans and grants from the Connecticut Drinking Water State Revolving Fund (DWSRF). The DWSRF is a program established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to make funds available to states for drinking water system infrastructure improvements.
RWA supplies water and related services to about 430,000 consumers in 15 communities in the region. It owns and protects over 27,000 acres of watershed land and provides a wide array of educational and recreational opportunities to the community.