Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI)
City Council Approves Agreement To Replace Water Meter Reading System
The Buda City Council recently approved an agreement with Siemens Industry, Inc., to install and replace the City’s water meter system. The new “Neptune” system will replace 3,806 City of Buda water meters located throughout the City. The Neptune system was selected because it offers a no moving parts meter for meters up to 2”. This results in more accurate reads and a longer lifespan of the meter. With the new system, citizens can proactively manage and monitor their consumption data. The new system will enable customers to see their consumption data in real-time as opposed to having to request their consumption data from the City. This will also give citizens control over their consumption by enabling customers to set usage alerts and leak warnings.
Installation is slated to begin this spring. Please help us save time by cleaning up and pruning the landscape located near your meter box.
Frequently Asked Questions
Does my meter have to be replaced?
Yes. All meters will be changed in order to be compatible with the new advanced metering infrastructure system. Customers cannot choose to remain on the older automated meter reading system.
What is AMI?
AMI stands for Advanced Metering Infrastructure. It is a method of using communication technology to read meters remotely without having to access the meter located in meter boxes in the ground.
How is AMI different from our current metering system?
Our current metering system also automatically reads the meter and sends the information back to the Utility Billing department. The current system was installed over 10 years ago and is no longer supported. Customers also can't view there consumption on a daily basis. Some of the benefits of AMI include:
- Empowers the customer to have direct access to their data so that they can better manage their usage.
- Improve customer service by increasing accuracy and frequency of meter readings.
- Minimize need to access meters at the property.
- Allow customers to detect leaks allowing for quicker repairs which will save them money.
- Allow customers to set usage alerts on their account before high bills are received.
- Helps the customer and the City achieve water conservation goals.
Will the electronic device on the meter interfere with other electronic equipment?
No. The radio transmission operates in compliance with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations to avoid interference with other electronic devices, and is similar to the current system already in place for the past decade.
Is the electronic device and data encrypted?
Yes. Data transmitted from the meter through the system is encrypted through the entire process.
Can I access daily readings online?
Yes, when the system is fully implemented in the summer of 2019, water customers will have the ability to access their daily water consumption online in one hour increments. The City intends to do a public awareness notice and publish instructions for online account access nearer to the completion date of the meter installation process.
Do I have to be home for the meter replacement work?
No. Since the water meters are located outside of the home in the City right-of-way, you will not need to be home for the replacement work. It will take 20-30 minutes to change a meter. Technicians will check to see if anyone is home before starting the installation process.
What do I need to do to prepare for the installation?
Please keep access to the water meter available at all times to ensure it is accessible for any potential emergency that would require the meter to be turned off. Be careful during the fall foliage season to not cover your water meter with piles of leaves, and trim back any vegetation around the meter box throughout the year.
Can I cover up the meter after the installation?
No. Access needs to be available at all times. There will still be instances when meter technicians will visit the meter on site to perform routine maintenance or verify high readings. Obstructions to the meter box are subject to removal by City personnel.
What happens if I have a problem after the installation?
If you have a leak, low pressure or some other problem after the installation, or at any other time, you will be provided contact numbers that you can call to report your concern. Because your water will be turned off temporarily during the meter change process, you may experience a brief period of air or discolored water. In most cases briefly running your cold water will clear up this situation.
Has this new AMI equipment been tested for accuracy and reliability?
Yes. Meters come pretested along with results directly from the manufacturer. The radio tower component will be tested for accuracy during the meter collection process regularly. Several dozen meters will be randomly selected each year and tested to see if performance standards continue to be achieved.
How will I know that you have my reading & not someone else’s?
Each radio frequency device has a unique identification number, which is transmitted along with the meter reading. The unique number is compared to your account record electronically to ensure a match.
Will the new device affect my bill?
Older mechanical meters have a tendency to under report usage. Installation of the new meter will allow for more accurate readings throughout the lifespan of the meter, so your bill may change to reflect the accurate measurement of your water use. Having access to hourly water consumption will allow customers to better manage their water usage and to quickly find leaks and repair them before their usage (and water bill) increases.
How long will this new device work?
The life expectancy of the device installed in the field is 20 years. Periodic inspection and maintenance will occur to ensure all devices are performing as expected. The meters contain no moving parts which will greatly increase the lifespan and accuracy of the meters.