Maximizing utility resources by eliminating manual connects/disconnects
Today, remote disconnect/reconnect metering technology eliminates the need to send utility personnel into the field to turn service on or off manually. Many utilities disconnect an average of 5-10 percent of their customers each year. For an average utility of 20,000 customers, that amounts to 1,000 to 2,000 truck rolls per year. With an average truck roll cost of $50-$75 each, implementing remote disconnect metering can save such a utility $100,000 to $300,000 per year. Reducing truck rolls also limits situations where utility employees may encounter risks including unsafe plumbing, unruly customers, aggressive pets, or dangerous neighborhoods.
Utilizing Mueller Systems Mi.Host software, utilities can schedule bulk shutoffs in a way that is convenient for handling the customer service implications of dealing with non-payment. It can also quickly reconnect service while the customer is on the phone.
Mueller Systems designed the 420 RDM to utilize a proven positive displacement metering technology that features a 20-year battery and a nutating disc measurement chamber along with a pilot/diaphragm valve, all within the traditional AWWA 7.5” lay length for 5/8” and 5/8” x 3/4” water meters. This design allows for easy installation with no plumbing alterations or meter box changes. After an intensive review of all valve technologies including ball, gate, and butterfly valves, design engineers identified a pilot/diaphragm valve as an ideal choice for a remote disconnect meter in terms of reliable service and long battery life.
The pilot-operated diaphragm valve utilizes system water pressure to allow or stop the flow of water in the meter. Low power requirements make the 420 RDM a true on/off valve.
Other situations where remote disconnect is beneficial include high-frequency turnover of customers in high-rent areas like university or seasonal towns. Notifications of unexpected excessive flows allow utilities to contact customers to determine if the use is valid or possibly a leak, in which case they can remotely shut it off.
Additionally, utilities can proactively enforce “Do Not Use” orders with remote shut-off during a contamination event, reducing the chance of injury or death.
With fewer crews and vehicles making routine disconnects and reconnects, utility resources can be redirected elsewhere where maintenance or other work is needed. WW
Mueller Systems, a subsidiary of Mueller Water Products, is a manufacturer and distributor of advanced metering infrastructure and automatic meter reading technology, as well as residential, commercial and fire-line meters and related products. Learn more at www.muellersystems.com.