US town plans to upgrade its water billing process

The US town of Carmel in New York state is planning to replace its existing 4,000 analogue water meters with smart meters to improve the accuracy of billing.

According to a local publication, engineers in the town of Carmel are currently developing a framework and specifications to use in deploying the Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system.

The new smart meters will enable the town’s water department to optimise its revenue collection through accurate and timely meter reading.

The decision to implement the project follows the inefficiency of the current system in which consumers read their water consumption data on their own and then send that data to the town house via post for processing.

Ken Schmitt, supervisor at the town of Carmel, said: “Right now, the majority of homeowners are not reading their meters. So, we are issuing estimated water bills and, in a lot of cases, they are wrong. So, with the new radio-read water meters, the signal will be sent right to a data terminal and the information is read right off that. We are actually going into the 20th century as far as water meters are concerned.”

The project is expected to be deployed and completed by the end of this year and will include the installation of some 4,000 smart water meters.

Smart water meters pilot

Meanwhile, the Indian Wells Valley Water District (IWVWD) in California, launched an AMI pilot to understand the benefits of smart water meters.

The smart meter pilot will include the participation of 3,000 consumers and is part of the utility’s efforts to reduce costs associated with manual meter reading as well as improve its accuracy in billing consumers.

The smart meters are expected to help customers of IWVWD improve their water efficiency by having access to hourly, daily, weekly and monthly water usage records.

The system will also enable IWVWD to reduce its non-revenue water and increase the life span of its water infrastructure through quick identification of water leaks. [Massachusetts town approves smart meter budget].

The decision by IWVWD to deploy the pilot is in line with recommendations set by the California state government, following an increase in the company’s technical water losses.

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Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.