Program's goal is to bring greater accuracy to meter reading.
Austin Water will be evaluating cellular-based smart water meters in a multi-phased program beginning February 2016 with the River Place community. The goal of the program is to bring greater accuracy and reliability to the meter reading process and eventually provide more timely water usage data to Austin Water customers.
Smart meters electronically transmit water usage data, rather than being visually read by a meter reader. This offers more timely data to encourage conservation and allow customers and the utility to monitor water use, including the ability to quickly identify water loss sooner and reduce the risk of meter-read inaccuracies.
Phase 1-- the evaluation process, meters will still be read visually. Austin Water will just be testing how well the device transmits information via a cellular network.
The River Place community was chosen because meters in that area were scheduled to be tested for accuracy and the rolling hills provide the greatest challenge for cellular communication. The evaluation stage involves 150 randomly selected addresses that will be phased in through this year.
Phase 2--customers get a chance to help the process. In this phase customers in the test groups will receive online access to their daily water usage, including leak notifications and statistics. Austin Water will then evaluate customer feedback about usability.
Phase 3--includes integration into the billing system. Austin Water will tie in the smart meter water usage data into the current billing system.
Smart meter technology is varied and costly when considering 200 thousand-plus meters and will take some time to fully implement into the current system. We are encouraged that a thorough evaluation process in cooperation with our customers will help make smart meters a reality that will provide us all with long lasting benefits.
Communications and Public Information Office
301 W. 2nd Street, Austin, TX 78701