Water Meter Replacement Program and Automated Meter Reading (AMR) Project
Genesee County Drain Commissioner Division of Water and Waste Services (GCDC-WWS) is implementing an Automatic Meter Reading (AMR) system to collect meter readings remotely and make meter reading more convenient for our customers. The conversion program will include replacing old water meters and installing remote meter reading devices. Commencing in July 2016, Genesee County Drain Commissioner, Division of Water & Waste Services (GCDC-WWS) in conjunction with your local Township, will begin installing new water meters in homes and businesses in the GCDC-WWS service area. This process will require a representative of Vanguard to enter your home or business for a short period of time to change out the meter and install the AMR on the outside of your home or business.
To set up an appointment please call Vanguard Utility Services, Inc. at: 810-513-1737 or go on line: www.vusinc.com
Please read Sensus, Understanding Radio Frequencies(RF) and Smart Meters
Meter Change-Out Project 2016-2018
Fixed Base Automatic Meter Read System
The Division is initiating a water meter change-out program for meters that have reached or exceeded their useful life. As water meters age they become less accurate due to wear and tear on the internal parts of the meter. The entire process is expected to take approximately two years to complete.
There will be no charge to the communities for this program as it is a normal cost associated with operating the water system. The individual customer will not be charged for a normal meter change out. If there has been any alteration to the meter, or the plumbing associated with the meter, and additional plumbing is required the customer may have to bear some of the cost of correcting the plumbing. This will be evaluated on a case by case basis but we anticipate that the vast majority of customers will have no cost associated with this program.
In conjunction with the meter change-out program the Division is developing a Fixed Base Automatic Water Meter Reading System that will replace the existing manual read system. The Fixed Based System will read meters remotely from a series of antennas that will be placed on existing water towers. The system will be populated over the next three years and when completed the antenna system will provide coverage for the entire GCDC-WWS water system service area. (See Attached) The system is designed to read either Sensus meters or Neptune meters through the use of a Sensus “smart point” that is attached to the outside of the building and connected to the meter via existing wires in most cases. The smart point communicates with the antenna which then routes the meter reads to a secure hosted server. The meter reads are then transmitted to the GCDC-WWS billing system when requested. The system has the capability to provide a number of features that will increase our ability to better manage the water system and improve customer service.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Will I be charged for this upgrade?
A: No. All meters being upgraded will be done so at no charge to the owner. In a very few cases, where alterations have been made to the plumbing or the meter the building owner may be charged for the additional plumbing. We anticipate that this will happen in very few cases.
Q: What is a fixed-base water meter network?
A: A fixed-base water meter network is one that sends water meter data back to a central collection point wirelessly utilizing low frequency radios. The transmitter will be located on the exterior of the building. This will eliminate the need for water department employees to enter onto private property to take water meter readings.
Q: What kind of meters will be installed?
A: GCDC-WWS will be working with Etna Supply and Sensus USA to install Sensus meters and “smart points” that will transmit the meter reads back to a central location. There are a variety of meters that will be used in the process depending on the size and anticipated usage of the building. Residential meters will be Sensus SR II Bronze, no lead, meters that are anticipated to provide a 20 year life cycle.
Q: Will everyone be receiving a new meter?
A: Approximately 60-70% of the meters in the system will be replaced during this two year project. This replacement process is based on the age of the meter. In cases where a new meter is not required a “smart point” will be attached to the existing “touch pad” on the exterior of the building. Meters that are not replaced during this project will be replaced as they reach the end of their useful life.
Q: What are the advantages of the new meters and smart points?
A: As meters age, moving parts within the meter casing begin to deteriorate and wear out, forcing the need for replacement. Also, the new meters being installed read at a higher resolution than most existing meters. This higher resolution permits leak detection and other customer service benefits unavailable by conventional and older style analog meter reading devices.
Another advantage to the new system is that it will have the ability to detect unusually high or abnormal flows. These are usually indications of leaks in a homeowner’s water system. Oftentimes, toilets and other fixtures can run excessively without a homeowner knowing it, resulting in a higher quarterly bill than intended. The new meters give the Division the ability to detect higher than average flows and assist a homeowner in troubleshooting maintenance issues.
Finally, and perhaps most significantly, the new remote readers send meter reading data back to the Division via radio frequency, thus eliminating the need for Division employees to enter onto private property to take meter readings. Additionally, with the remote reading capabilities, the Division can read up-to-the-minute flow data to help a homeowner detect unusually high flows without sending an employee to the home, which aids in leak detection and customer service.
Q: What kind of data will be sent out from my new meter?
A: The new meters and smart points will send the meter ID and flow data back to the GCDC-WWS, as well as information that will allow the division to detect potential problems, such as leaks or reverse flow. This data is retained and a water use history can be developed if necessary.
Q: Do I need to make an appointment with GCDC-WWS to have my new meter installed?
A: Yes. A GCDC-WWS representative will be contacting customers that will be included in the program. The representative will try to schedule the meter replacement for a time that does not interfere with customers schedules.
Q: Will the meter and smart point transmitter be powered from my electrical system?
A: No. The meter does not require source of power and the smart point has a twenty year battery pack.
Q: What is the life expectancy of the meter and smart point transmitter?
A: The meter and smart point are expected to have a twenty year life cycle. There is a battery in the smart point that also has a twenty year life cycle.
Q. Will the GCDC-WWS need to enter the building?
A: In most cases the Division will need to enter the building to replace the meter and install the smart point. The water will be shut off for a brief period of time while the technicians replace the meter. In cases where a meter change-out is not required, the smart point transmitter can be installed without entering the building.
Vanguard Utility Services Employees Working on WWS Project
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Title: Regional Manager
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