$2.1 million project will replace 80% of city’s meters with smart technology
By Pat Pratt
Troy residents may soon be getting a “smart” water meter, part of a $2.1 million replacement of about 80% of all units in the city.
The city said this week the new Sensus meters are equipped with a radio transmitter that will eliminate staff hours spent gathering readings. That will also reduce the city’s carbon footprint, as staff will no longer have to drive through town to gather usage information.
“On top of the meter sits a small radio head,” City Administrator Jay Keeven said. “That radio head is what sends the signal back-and-forth to our tower. Then we no longer have to hire meter readers to go out and check the meters once a month.”
The work is expected to be complete in about four to five months. In total, more than 5,000 meters will be replaced. In addition,1,600 smart meters already in place will be equipped with radio transmitters. The meters being replaced have reached the end of their service life and need to be replaced anyway, the city said.
“Meters fail as they get older, the life expectancy is about 10 years,” Keeven said. “We will see substantial cost savings and they will be more accurate meters.”
As the new technology provides readings automatically, it will also serve as an early leak detection system. Keeven said with the older meters, it could take a full billing cycle for abnormal usage to be detected. The new meters transmit a reading about every eight minutes, allowing the city to call residents to ascertain if there is a problem.
“If there is a water leak on our side, before the meter, that’s our responsibility,” Keeven said. “If the water leak is on your side, say a running toilet or a broken line dumping into a sump pump, you won’t know that until you get a $300 bill. With this system, it will automatically notify us that there is inordinate usage.”
Residents should not see any inconvenience during the replacement process, Keeven said. The meters in most cases are outside the customer’s home. A door hanger will be left after the replacement is completed by MB Construction, who is contracted with the city to complete the work.
“Most people do not have an indoor meter,” Keeven said. “The meter is in a pit outside of their property. The company that’s changing it out, or adding a radio receiver to it, will put a hanger saying they have been on the property and swapped out the meter.”
The only case where a resident would need to take action is if they have a meter inside their house, business or structure.
“If they have their meter inside the house, they will get another door hanger that says please contact the company because they are going to be coming out. They will have to make an appointment if the meter is inside their house. Or inside their property, like with some of the commercial properties.”