News Feature | February 10, 2016

AMI Hits Utah City With New Headaches

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome,
@sarmje

utah.reg

A municipal water utility in Utah wanted to notify customers about potential leaks. But even after investing in smart meters, it took years to get a good system in place so it could provide that information.

“Confronted by residents upset over large water bills, members of the City Council in Park City, Utah, asked the municipal Water Department in 2008 to start actively notifying customers when leaks were suspected,” Route Fifty reported.

The city began upgrading to advanced metering infrastructure in 2010, but it encountered problems as it tried to implement the new technology.

“Despite the remote radio meter readings, Park City wasn’t prepared for the amount of data coming in and still struggled to quickly analyze it and notify customers of leaks,” the report said.

“Deployment of AMI was a considerable expenditure for the City, and the promise of leak detection was a significant reason for the investment. Understandably, customers became frustrated when these benefits were not quickly realized,” according to a report by one of the city’s technology partners.

Eventually, the city found a solution from WaterSmart Software, a firm specializing in data analytics. The city began using the firm’s software three years ago. Now customers receive home water reports with suggestions about cutting costs.

Since it began using this software, “the city has provided hourly water use data to customers. High-volume leak notifications are immediately sent if a single-family residence uses 80 gallons per hour over 24 hours, and low-volume leak notifications sent if 1 gallon per hour is used over a week’s time,” the news report said.

Jason Christensen, the city’s water resources manager, explained why the software has helped.

“Initially we wanted to develop our own customer portal to push data to them but then we took a look at WaterSmart, and the fact you could automate leak notifications was a big saver for us,” he said, per the report. “Because of recurring nudges to their customer portal, WaterSmart has a higher utilization rate than any other solution we looked at.”

For more on smart meters, visit Water Online’s AMR, AMI And Metering Solutions Center.

Image credit: "Utah," Moyan Brenn © 2011, used under an Attribution­NoDerivs 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by­nd/2.0/