Case Study

R450 AMI Steps Up Efficiency Without Feet On The Street

Source: Neptune Technology Group Inc.

Begun in 1882 as a station along the Missouri, Kansas, & Texas (MKT or Katy) Railroad, Hewitt, Texas encompasses 6.86 square miles south of Waco. The City is centrally located between Dallas and Austin and has experienced phenomenal growth since the 1970s. At one time the fastest growing community in the nation, it has boomed from 569 in 1970 to its current population of 13,549.

The local water system was started with a single artesian well and storage tank in 1899 and remained in private hands until the City purchased it in 1985. Today the water system consists of five wells, three connections to the Waco water system and 73.5 miles of water lines serving nearly 5,600 accounts, 97 percent of them residential.

When James Black joined Hewitt’s utility billing services in 1992, the City read its meters with paper and pencil. The addition of touchpad reading helped, although it still required up to two-anda-half weeks for personnel to record the readings to meet the monthly billing cycle. After the installation of a supervisory control and data acquisition (SCADA) network for the City in 2010, Director of Utilities Black and his team realized that the same conditions that made the service area ideal for SCADA – a relatively flat, contained landscape with tall water towers for signal collection and transmission – also made it ideal for fixed network advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) for its water system.

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