Conference: Metering, Billing/CIS America
Location: San Diego, CA, USA
Presenter: Charles Kiely
Abstract: Presented by Charles Kiely at Metering, Billing/CIS America

In April 2002, the District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (WASA) began a four-year meter replacement and automated meter reading (AMR) project to replace the 130,000 meters that serve approximately 580,000 customers in the Nation’s Capital.  WASA selected Hexagram’s Star Fixed Network for its AMR solution. 

This presentation will examine the positive aspects of the AMR project implementation while highlighting many of the lessons learned that implementers need to consider before engaging in such a capital intensive project.  This is especially true in the water industry, where many organizations are examining AMR/AMI solutions for the first time.  These projects are difficult to sell given all the competing capital projects in many utility budgets; however, a solid business case can be developed if you think beyond the meter reading. 

WASA leveraged investments in AMR technology; voice and data technology, GIS and web enabled application development tools to deliver a host of process improvements and value-added services that made quick recovery of this significantly large investment in AMR/AMI.  Many process improvements resulted from successfully mining the data, changes not considered when the original project was proposed.  For example, the High Use Notification Application, developed and licensed by WASA, is a powerful call center tool that analyzes daily consumption against monthly and yearly averages at an account level.  Data is presented in graph form so that a customer care associate (CCA) can quickly analyze consumption patterns. 

This feature is available on the web for customers to use and the associated daily meter readings can be downloaded with a simple mouse click.  Other process improvements helped drive down WASA’s cost of service in meter operations, the call center, account investigations, billing and support services all major cost drivers for the industry.