In January 2016, Austin Water launched its Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Steering Committee, charged with the responsibility of evaluating, recommending and directing actions to implement AMI for our service area. Austin Water is utilizing various technologies and innovative methods in managing the utility’s infrastructure and continues to monitor several AMI pilot programs in leak management as well as meter data management systems to find the best quality AMI meter and data analytics software for the utility and its customers.
Even though all water meters are still being manually read for billing purposes, Austin Water has been conducting several AMI pilot projects to study how AMI will change the behavior of utility customers and how to use AMI to improve Austin Water’s customer services. The ability to try these new technologies in a low-risk situation and identify some of the issues that need to be addressed before Austin Water can transition to AMI meters is invaluable.
Through these initial pilot programs, Austin Water has gained experience and knowledge in working with AMI meter installation, communication, and data management. At the same time, we are tracking and learning from the experiences of other utilities as they also explore AMI meter programs.
At the start of 2018, Austin Water began contract negotiations with consultant company, West Monroe Partners to provide consulting services for advance meter infrastructure program management, to guide the utility on developing a business case for meter upgrades.