Smart water meters from Sensus to help Maine community detect leaks, improve operations

Kennebec Water District (KWD) in Maine is deploying Sensus technologies for its intelligent water management program...

RALEIGH, NC, Mar. 14, 2012 -- Kennebec Water District (KWD) in Maine is deploying Sensus technologies for its intelligent water management program. KWD, which serves a population of 22,500 with more than 1.2 billion gallons of water each year, will deploy the Sensus FlexNet™ advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) communications network across its service territory and replace existing bronze-body water meters with zero lead Sensus iPERL™ meters for an intelligent, efficient water management solution that is compliant with new low-lead initiatives being mandated by the National Sanitation Foundation (NSF) and Congress.

KWD installed two FlexNet base station collectors and 3,000 SmartPoints™ over existing meters in the first nine months of implementation; the utility estimates that SmartPoint installation will be complete by 2013. Over the next ten years, KWD will replace all residential water meters with the Sensus iPERL. KWD chose the FlexNet communications network to improve operational efficiency, as well as for customer service benefits such as leak detection.

"The Sensus FlexNet system was a clear choice for Kennebec as it provides a faster, easier way to collect more data with greater efficiency and benefits to the customer," said Jeff LaCasse, general manager at KWD. "The network also seamlessly supports our entire territory with only three transmitter units, a significant benefit that enabled us to control system costs. And by removing the vehicles associated with manual meter reads, the system will achieve a return on our investment even more rapidly."

Pending federal regulatory requirements taking effect in January 2014 impact materials that can be used in meter construction, which is one reason why KWD chose lead-free Sensus iPERL meters, constructed with composite materials, for their meter replacement program. In addition to complying with emerging standards, iPERL meters enable distinct technological advancements for KWD such as increased reliability due to no moving parts, greater sensitivity to flow changes for unprecedented low-flow measurement and decreased susceptibility to temperature impacts. The iPERL offers greater lifetime accuracy, regulatory compliance, two-way communications and a sophisticated suite of alarms.

The fixed-base AMI system communicates with radio transceivers installed over the original external touchpads on meters. The system collects consumption and pattern data and transmits it to the central processing unit in the KWD business office multiple times per day. This remote meter reading capability eliminates the need for personnel to physically obtain meter readings while also collecting data for consumption, diagnostic and status measurements.

In exchange for the quarterly monitoring customers once received from manual meter reads and assessments, each FlexNet unit transmits meter data and the system automatically issues "red flag" alerts if water usage is high or out of the ordinary. Through this system, KWD can identify leaks, backflow problems or potential meter tampering and help customers alleviate wasted water, excessive charges and possible property damage.

"The FlexNet system and iPERL are proven solutions for municipalities like Kennebec striving to be on the cutting edge of operational efficiency, customer service and regulatory standards," said Doug McCall, director of marketing for Sensus. "Kennebec is embracing the power of intelligent data and empowering customers to be effective stewards of their resources."

Learn more at www.sensus.com.

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