Pagosa Springs, CO, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — July 24, 2008 – Pagosa Area Water and Sanitation District (PAWSD) in Pagosa Springs, CO, has commenced its project to install Datamatic’s advanced MOSAIC automated meter reading system throughout its service territory.
Set high in the San Juan Mountains, 480 km southwest of Denver, PAWSD’s service territory encompasses over 200 km2 and receives more than 2.5 m of snow each year. This makes accessing the water meter nearly impossible and has made it necessary for PAWSD to estimate bills for its 4,800 residential water customers nearly half the year.
According to customer service manager Lisa Dermody, “We’ve never been able to read our residential meters during the winter. So every spring, we’ve had five months of estimated billings to reconcile against that first reading we take in April. This means there are hundreds of bills to adjust, credits to issue and customer calls to handle. But MOSAIC will allow us to bill from actual usage, year-round and thus eliminate that entire ‘catch-up period’ and the additional time spent by staff dealing with the issues caused by estimating customer bills.
“Spring is also when we start finding all of the leaks that have started over the winter. We’ve never been comfortable with the fact that leaks could go on for months before we’d know about them. Our AMR system will notify us of leaks quickly. We’re really excited about that. It’s good for the environment and good for our customers.”
MOSAIC is a “mesh” network using FIREFLY Meter Interface Units (FF), which also function as repeaters for the transmissions of other neighboring units. The network “self heals” and if any path becomes unavailable it dynamically routes data via an alternate path.
“The self-healing mesh capability was key to our decision,” added Dermody. “It’s ideal for our service territory. We have mountains, dense forests and heavy snow. Getting line-of-sight between all of our meters and one or more towers was going to be difficult, and very expensive. MOSAIC doesn’t require that.”
PAWSD’s system installation is expected to be completed by October 2008.
“Using a conservative Return on Investment model, we expect the system to pay for itself in less than three years and to give us positive cash flow of $5-6 million over the life of the system,” Dermody concluded.