Located in central Florida, the City of Auburndale is a thriving and steadily growing community that boasts great spaces to live, work and play. With more than a dozen lakes and ponds within its borders, a crucial component of the city’s appeal can be found in its abundance of water. Auburndale’s Public Utilities Department, which serves approximately 11,700 residential and 1,100 commercial water customers, is continually working to provide the best water to residents and their families.
Addressing an Aging System
In 2016, the Public Utilities Department saw a need to upgrade aging infrastructure across its water system. The city’s water meters and endpoints had provided many years of reliable service, and it was an opportune time to investigate how more advanced technology could benefit the utility and its customers.
To start the process, utility department leaders initially met with the manufacturer of their current water meters, Badger Meter, to discuss options. Badger Meter and the City of Auburndale had worked together since 2005, and the water utility team was currently using the company’s ORION® Classic (CE) endpoints and AMR system.
“AMI technology offered us a chance to reduce time in the field spent reading meters manually, and the automation would allow us to efficiently monitor the system so we could devote more time to other utility and customer service projects,” said Ryan Williamson, deputy finance director for the City.
Identifying a Solution
To explore new technology options, Williamson and other Public Utilities Department leaders spoke with numerous metering manufacturers over the course of four to five months. They ultimately chose a managed solution from Badger Meter, combining the BEACON® Advanced Metering Analytics (AMA) cloud-based software suite with proven ORION® Cellular endpoints.
With the decision made, the City of Auburndale’s Public Utilities Department turned its attention to financing. Williamson and the other department leaders initially thought the project would take three to four years to complete. However, the utility was able to refinance previously purchased bonds to free up the money needed for a rapid installation of its meter upgrades.
A Rapid, Successful Deployment
With funding in place, the Public Utilities Department began its installation of BEACON AMA, ORION Cellular endpoints and new Recordall® Model 25 Disc Series meters. Several new E-Series® Ultrasonic meters in 1.5- and 2-inch sizes also were implemented for small and mid-sized businesses.
To support installation of the new technologies, the Public Utilities Department hired a third-party installer, which managed the hands-on deployment. The full water utility distribution team also helped to manage the process.
Enhancing Customer Support
The City of Auburndale is just beginning to see how BEACON AMA and ORION Cellular endpoints, along with the Recordall Model 25 meters, are helping to catch leaks more quickly and provide up-to-date data, which is especially helpful when managing customer service issues. As part of the BEACON AMA solution, the City also has access to the EyeOnWater® consumer engagement portal, enabling customers to take a hands-on approach to monitoring their water usage. When using the mobile application or any Internet-enabled device to log in, customers can see and understand their water use — which helps identify leaks quickly and supports conservation efforts.
Leading the Way to Smart Water
The City of Auburndale completed its implementation of Badger Meter’s AMI technologies in winter 2018, except for a handful of commercial meters. City staff is thrilled.
“I heartily believe that every city should do this. The data available and how we can help our customers is great,” concluded Williamson. “I am proud to know that the City of Auburndale is leading the way to smart water for our region.” WW
Badger Meter is exhibiting at ACE20, booth 3506. Learn more at www.badgermeter.com.