The city has established a smart utility network by deploying a two-way communication system for its water, gas and electricity distribution lines.
Julie Bryce, former business services AMI administrator for the City of Safford, said: “Our infrastructure was old and ageing badly.
“This included all of our utilities, but it was especially true of our water infrastructure.”
Some smart water meters were deployed to provide consumers with real-time data regarding their water usage, a development that has helped to reduce leaks and non-revenue water.
“Informing customers of leaks used to take 30 or 40 days. Now we can do it within a couple of days, sometimes even a couple of hours,” said Lorie Pedregon, lead business services representative for the city.
“With our new system, we reduced these adjustment costs by 40% based on the data we received.”
The City of Safford used to review consumer water leaks and adjust their bills based on estimates on yearly basis.
“Our field crew has grown from meter readers to AMI specialists.
“We’re not rolling trucks out anymore to gather meter data and we have managed to reduce our field budget by $8,000 a year, which is huge for a small utility,” reiterated Pedregon.
The City of Safford implemented the project with the help of the Sensus Partner and Advisor Network , a group of customers that exchange ideas, solve challenges and provide valuable feedback on product development and relationship management.
The city has plans to deploy analytics to make use of more in-depth analysis of its water data.