80% of OWASA’s advanced meters now installed, new supporting policies

Wednesday, October 31, 2018 2:31:00 PM
OWASA’s Advanced Metering Initiative has reached a major milestone: we’ve replaced 80% of the 21,000 meters that our team is in the process of upgrading throughout Carrboro and Chapel Hill. Part of our Agua Vista initiative, these advanced meters enable nearly real-time monitoring of water consumption, faster leak detection, and greater water conservation by community members.
 
OWASA’s Board of Directors has approved a series of policies to support the operation of these advanced meters, and to empower customers to take advantage of the benefits and efficiencies that the new technology offers. Changes include:
 
Service initiation fee: Waiver of the $45 service initiation fee, as long as OWASA does not have to visit the meter to physically turn it on.
 
Leak notification: The new meter technology will allow OWASA’s customer service staff to more quickly detect and notify customers of irregular, high water consumption and low-flow, continuous consumption. We will not charge for this notification service; however, customers will be responsible for making sure OWASA has the most accurate contact information. Without accurate contact information, customers will not be eligible for leak notification or emergency water loss adjustments.
 
Emergency water loss adjustment: Emergency water loss adjustments will cover water lost from when the leak began to when it is repaired, but will not exceed seven days from the date of the first successful notification. In locations where meters have not yet been upgraded, the previous policy applies: water loss adjustment for up to an entire month. All meters will be upgraded by Spring 2019, at which point, the new water loss adjustment policy, i.e., maximum 7 days from date of notification, will apply. Customers who choose the manual read option with the new meters will not be eligible for water loss adjustments.
 
Meter box: As is current policy, customers must continue to ensure access to the meter box. 
 
No meter tampering: As is current policy, tampering with the meter or an associated device (i.e., meter box lid, radio transmitter, meter, and repeaters) may result in a fine of up to $5,000 plus a charge for the cost of the damaged equipment. 
 
Be a water champion!
 
There are so many ways to conserve water; for example: turn off the tap when brushing your teeth and take shorter showers. View our video on saving water by saving money for more conservation tips!
 
Remember to be a meter steward: Don’t tamper with the meter and associated devices. Keep your meter box clear and accessible. Just because we don’t have to manually read the meter every month, it’s important that we are able to access it, and for the meter to be able to send its daily data packet.
 
Update your contact information at OWASA! The Advanced Metering Initiative gives us the ability to notify you of potential leaks much faster: saving you money, protecting your property, and conserving a valuable resource. We cannot do this without your most up-to-date contact information. Please make sure that we have the best phone number and/or email so can contact you quickly. If we don’t have your most up-to-date contact information, you will be on-the-hook for that water use, and we won’t be able to offer bill forgiveness.
 
Sign a property management agreement: Property managers are encouraged to sign a property management agreement with OWASA. This will ensure that landlords are notified of potentially property-threatening leaks and avoid a costly cut-off charge.
 
Learn more about OWASA’s Agua Vista Advanced Metering Initiative here!