Municipalities and utilities are benefiting from technology advancements and are now an important part of smart city infrastructure. Smart cities use improved metering technology to be more efficient, environmentally friendly and save money.
AMI (Advanced Metering Infrastructure) technology is the term used to describe these smart meters and their systems.
There are several types of AMI systems. The most prevalent in the marketplace are fixed-base systems and cellular systems.Fixed-base systems utilize strategically placed devices (collectors) distributed throughout the utility’s distribution network, to communicate via low power RF signals with endpoint devices attached to meters. Cellular systems utilize existing cellular infrastructure as the communication carrier from the endpoint at the meter to the head-end at the utility’s offices. Another AMI approach which is gaining traction in the market place is the utilization of mesh networks such as LoRaWAN (LoRa = Long Range, LoRaWAN = Low Power, Wide Area Network).
The Many Benefits of Smart Utility Meters
There are many benefits to Utilities from Smart Cities technologies. Those benefits include on demand meter reads, remote meter disconnect, and leak detection, bringing invaluable cost savings and efficiencies for the water department and the municipality.
Benefits of AMI include: opportunity for the city to purchase a meter data management system (MDMS), a software solution for extracting and analyzing data, which provides additional insight for utilities and their customers. Also, the reduction of special meter reads where trucks roll and employees are sent out into the field saves time and money. AMI systems can eliminate estimated billings, reduce call center costs and improve customer service time because of additional recording and tracking tools by having more data at their disposal.
Water conservation is an important benefit. Residents can be alerted of leaks much sooner and do not have to wait 30, 60 or even 90 days for a billing cycle to reveal an issue. This engages customers to repair leaks, reduce bills, and improve unnecessary waste.
Solid State Meter Technology
The new AMI water meters are solid state meters and there are two varieties: ultrasonic or magnetic. Either version works well.
There are many benefits of using these state-of-the-art meters, including guaranteed, long-term 100% accuracy. They also have a 20 year battery life, and no moving parts in these water meters.
There are many additional features to make them smart, such as pressure sensing, temp sensing, leak sensing, reverse flow, dry pipe alarm and several other other alarms. This is an extremely smart and efficient metering system.
The Challenges of Positive Displacement Meters
Many cities currently use positive displacement meters. Positive displacement meters have moving parts whereas calcium and scale build up over time and as they age, These meters will degrade over time and cause the meter to measure consumption inaccurately. According to AWWA,
Accurate water metering is the means by which water utilities produce revenue to cover expenses and equitably charge customers.
When is a good time to replace municipal water meters?
An aging water meter infrastructure, typically meters not replaced in the last 15-20 years, are the best candidates for an upgrade to AMI.
High water and sewer rates usages, along with issues with water produced versus what is actually billed, also are prime candidatesfor replacements and upgrades.
Cities in need of revenue or who are looking for smart technology with a desire to become a “Smart City” (they want to offer Smart City solutions to their community) should seriously consider upgrading their water metering technology to a smart AMI system.
We have over 300 safety-trained, background-checked installers and fleet vehicles with company signage. Founded in 1993, installing meters since 2009, Envocore is licensed, insured, and bonded in 46 states.
Contact Envocore to Get Started with AMI
Contact Envocore today and speak with a smart metering expert. We will evaluate your current metering infrastructure and provide an assessment of your current capabilities. Envocore will help you start the process of upgrading your utilities metering and transition your meters to a smart city infrastructure.