Duluth, MN, U.S.A. — (METERING.COM) — March 25, 2008 – The City of Duluth’s Public Works and Utilities Department and its project partners will begin installing modules to existing water and gas meters to automate the meter reading process next month; the project should be completed by the spring of 2009. The city has more than 58,000 meters that will be upgraded by three contractors.
Residents and businesses have been asked to be on the lookout for information in their city utility bills about when the meter upgrades will take place in their area. Customers will receive information about scheduling appointments before the contractors commence work in their neighborhood. If a customer does not schedule an appointment in advance, then a postcard with a prescheduled appointment time will be sent to them.
Nearly all water meters are located inside a residence or building and contractors will need clear access to the meter to make the upgrade. The contractors will attach a module to the meter that will collect readings and any tamper data. The modules work indoors or outdoors, and are powered by batteries with an average life of 20 years. In most cases this upgrade can be made without interrupting utility service to the customer.
There are also about 1,500 water and gas meters that must be replaced. In those cases a brief interruption to utility service will be necessary.
Data from the AMR meters will be transmitted by radio signal to a laptop computer with a radio receiver mounted in a vehicle driven near the meter to receive its data. This data will be downloaded to the City of Duluth’s computer billing system to generate customer bills. Meter reading data for the whole city can be collected in just three business days each month through this AMR system.
The city is not charging consumers for the meter upgrade; it believes the project will be paid for by savings arising from a more efficient and streamlined meter reading and billing process.