Advanced Metering Infrastructure is coming to WaterOne!
Your WaterOne meter reading services are getting a major upgrade. The enhancements will allow us to give you, our customer, more real-time information and tools to manage water use.
What is AMI?
Providing exceptional service at a great value is essential to WaterOne’s mission to serving you. Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI is a multi-year project to upgrade WaterOne’s meter reading technology. Instead of “walk-by” manual meter reading, new technology will automatically relay readings to WaterOne.
Beginning in 2019, a small wireless relay device known as a “SmartPoint” will be connected to the existing water meter in the meter pit located in your front yard.
As a result of AMI, customers will soon have access to their own daily water consumption data, monitor usage online, and set up personal alerts which can help prevent leaks or avoid surprise high bills. It will also give WaterOne employees better data to help troubleshoot customer concerns. We will follow-up with further information when that aspect of the project is ready.
This upgrade will not affect water bills or charges – it simply allows the existing meter to be read remotely instead of manually.
What do I need to do?
No further action is needed from you at this time. The installation takes approximately 15 minutes and will not interrupt water service. All work should be done in the meter pit in your front yard, which is located in the public easement.
There is no need to enter the home for most installations. If you are among the handful of customers who still have an indoor-mounted meter, WaterOne and its contractor Utiliuse will reach out to you to set up an appointment to upgrade your meter as well as install the wireless reading technology on it.
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE AMI PROJECT
This project does not change the way water is consumed or metered. Only the way we read meters is changing – for the better.
WaterOne is changing the way it reads meters from a manual, labor-intensive process to a remote network that communicates to and from the customer meter. WaterOne will be installing an add-on device to each meter that securely transmits meter readings back to WaterOne. Once the project is fully implemented, customers will be able to access their own daily water consumption. You can monitor your usage online and set alerts which will help you prevent leaks or avoid surprise high bills.
In addition, WaterOne can better operate its system and provide services to customers at greater convenience and value such as confirmation readings, move out readings, and finding stuck meters.
Customer devices will be installed between 2019 and 2021, depending on your location. At a designated time after we have completed your installation, you will receive a postcard in the mail inviting you to log-on to enhanced online customer tools.
Once the project is fully implemented from 2019 to 2021, we will begin contacting customers and inviting them to log on to their new consumption portal online. You will have access to detailed water consumption information through your secure online account. You will also be able to monitor usage online and set alerts which may help you identify leaks more quickly and prevent unintentional high water consumption.
We too will be better equipped to help you understand your consumption when you contact us with questions, resulting in a better customer service experience for you.
The driver of this project is to keep up with customer expectations about access to their consumption data and communication about their usage. We also want to operate more efficiently and have more opportunities to serve our customers better. WaterOne is taking this opportunity to invest in advanced meter reading for all customers so that our infrastructure stays current and we provide all customers with the same level of service.
Most residential WaterOne customers are still on “walk-by” meter reading. A WaterOne meter reader walks by customers’ meters and collects the meter reading by touching a handheld device to the meter pit lid. All commercial and industrial WaterOne customers are read by remote meter reading technology and the reading devices that support that kind of meter reading are reaching the end of their useful life. This opportunity is driving the timing of this project.
WaterOne has selected a Sensus advanced metering system and UtiliUse, a Sensus partner, to perform the installations of the reading devices. This decision was made following an open, competitive RFP process voted upon by the WaterOne Board in February 2018.
Water meters are primarily housed in sunken self-contained pits in the front yard of residential customers’ property. (Commercial customers’ meter pits location vary.) Unless the water meter is already due to be changed out for its age or performance, the meter will not be changed-out. In most cases, we are simply adding a transmitting device to it to be securely read by our new system.
A small number of WaterOne water meters are still located inside homes, typically in the basement near an outer wall. We will coordinate with the homeowner to gain access to make the installation on the water meter.
For the vast majority of customers, the installation will be nearly invisible to them as the installers will quickly come and go without noticeable changes. For device-only installations, there will be no interruption of water service.
There are a small set of customers who still have their water meter installed inside their house connected to a touchpad on the exterior foundation. For these customers, our installation contractor (UtiliUse) will get in touch with you to schedule an appointment time for updating the equipment and installing the reading device.
No, AMI project is not funded through additional rate increases or fees. This project is a “net neutral” cost to customers across its 20-year life span. The cost of the project is offset by operational savings from the new technology.
Also, we are not doing a large-scale meter change-out as a part of this project. New meters are more accurate than older meters, so when a new meter is installed customers may see their bill go “up” because the same consumption is recorded (and billed) more precisely. However, in general new meters are not a part of this project unless they have been identified for upgrade due to age or performance. If you have a question about your bill, call Customer Care at 913/8985-1800 during business hours.
Our installation contractor will work within typical business hours, early morning to early evening. During hot weather, they may start and stop earlier in the day to work more safely in the heat. They will work most Saturdays and some holidays. Their work will not interrupt your water service, if you are receiving just the reporting device addition to your existing water meter. Utiliuse will provide notification to any customer who will receive a new meter and have service interrupted, generally for about 15 minutes. For the vast majority of customers, this change-over will be invisible.
WaterOne fully vets and carefully selects contractors who represent the best value, quality, and service to WaterOne and its customers. We monitor and manage contractor services to ensure all deliverables are being met to the standard required.
All work should be done in the meter pit in your front yard which is located in the public easement. There is no need to enter the home, unless your meter is one that is still installed inside of the home (usually an outer basement wall) in which case a prearranged appointment will be coordinated. Our installation contractors will be happy to show you identifying information and credentials.
If a customer has a question or concern regarding a contractor’s activity related to the AMI project, they should contact WaterOne at 913/895-1800.
This project is not invasive and should not create property damage. If you believe your property has been damaged, contact WaterOne at 913/895-1800 during business hours and ask to speak with our claims coordinator.
Whether consumption is collected manually or electronically by WaterOne, it is not considered to be a high value asset. All data collected, transmitted, and stored by WaterOne’s metering system is consumption data only – how much water was consumed at what location. It is used for billing and as aggregated data to help us operate our system better. Now, you - the customer - will have secure access to your information too.
No. No personally identifiable information (PII) is transmitted with the data signal. And although this data is not considered to be a high value target, the data signal is encrypted and split into separate data packets that can only be reconfigured by a protected proprietary digital key. WaterOne does not share or sell customer consumption or financial data.
Remember, consumption data has been collected, transmitted, stored, and analyzed since the origin of WaterOne as a utility provider in 1957 and prior to its establishment as a public utility when it was a small private water company. What this project changes is the way the data is collected and the frequency at which it is collected so that we can provide better services to you, our customer.
This technology automates meter reading, so WaterOne will be phasing out manual meter reading between now and 2021. WaterOne is committed to being an employer of choice and retaining good talent, so we have involved affected staff in the progress of this project and are proactively working with them to identify and prepare for other opportunities at WaterOne, should they wish to stay with us. Our goal is to transition each employee into other positions within our organization and we are working with them now to identify opportunities and training to make them competitive for a job change.
There are no proven health effects of this system. We care about our customers and the communities we serve; we live in our service area too. The radio waves emitted by these devices are a tiny fraction of what we already experience in the ambient environment from our cell phones, laptops, microwaves, etc.
These devices are “asleep” up to 99% of the time, “waking” only to transmit a data point and then turning off again.
We strongly discourage it. By refusing the meter reading enhancement, we will have to manually read your meter which will be subject to an additional monthly charge to you.
If you are considering opting out of this change, let’s talk. Contact Customer Care during business hours at 913/895-1800 and ask to speak with the AMI Project Manager.
Contact Customer Care at 913/895-1800 during business hours.