25 Mar AMI procurement, implementation planning authorized
On March 24th, the OWASA Board of Directors adopted a resolution authorizing staff to proceed with the procurement process and implementation planning for an AMI system.
After receiving and considering input from the community, the Board determined that full implementation of the Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) Project is in the best interests of its customers, and authorized staff to proceed with the procurement process and implementation planning, including an investigation of giving customers the choice to opt out of having an AMI meter.
The Board’s decision followed a study of meter technologies with a consultant and a community engagement process with information provided to all accountholders and multiple opportunities to comment to the OWASA Board. More than 70 citizens have asked questions or commented on AMI since mid-February 2016. Most people who commented supported AMI.
OWASA expects to receive bids in the fall of 2016. After contracts are awarded, installing the AMI system could take 18 months to two years.
“Evaluating AMI is a key initiative in our Strategic Plan and now we see it will be a very positive service improvement for our customers,” said John A. Young, Chair of the OWASA Board of Directors. “AMI will enable OWASA and customers to learn of potential leaks much more quickly, which will help conserve water and save dollars for our customers.”
“AMI is a more efficient way to read meters than our current approach, and we will not need to increase rates to cover the upfront investment costs,” Mr. Young said. He also noted that AMI will reduce greenhouse gas emissions from vehicle use, will improve worker safety and will not involve laying off any current employees.
What is AMI?
An AMI system would collect meter readings remotely via radio transmissions, eliminating the need to drive or walk through the community to collect this information monthly as we do now. As a result of their efficiency, AMI systems can read meters more often (many times a day vs. once a month). AMI systems also eliminate the potential for human error when reading meters.
Benefits to customers
- OWASA staff will have access to information that empowers them to proactively let customers know when their water-use patterns indicate a potential leak at the customer’s premises.
- Customers will have access to their water use data on line, providing them much greater insight into water use. This will help our customers conserve water and save money.
- An AMI system will significantly reduce our vehicle use and associated costs and greenhouse gas emissions for our meter reading program.
Impact on customers’ bills
Keeping our essential services affordable is one of OWASA’s most important goals. Investing in an AMI system will not, by itself, lead to a rate increase for OWASA customers. The estimated $6 million investment in AMI would be offset by avoiding planned investments in our current, less efficient water meter technology and by savings from operational efficiency improvements.
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