The city of Fairmont, West Virginia has completed Phase One of its Automatic Meter Reading project, an effort to help customers pinpoint exactly how they use water and how to conserve it.
You've heard of smart phones, but what about a smart meter? The city of Fairmont's utility board is bringing that new technology to customers as a way to help them save money and the environment.
"We were looking at ways to better conserve water, better efficiency for our customers, you give them some ability and tools to basically conserve," said utility manager David Sago.
The city has already installed more than 5,000 Automatic Meter Readers, or AMRs. Here's how it works: water goes through the meter from the utility itself. That water is registered in the system, as it passes through to the home. That information is then transmitted to the radio, which sends it off to the tower.
"The tower gathers that information and sends it to a secure server site," Sago said. "We're able to read that in hours instead of four to five days that it was causing us to do that."
Customers can use the data to get an hour-by-hour analysis of when they're using water, even when they may not know it. Say there's a leak in your home. No problem, Sago said.
"We can alert you right now if there's a problem instead of waiting that 60-day period and be able to find that non-revenue water. The water that is now not making your home, but water that is leaking out somewhere in between the plant and your home," he said. "We're going to be able to capture revenue because we're going to be able to make less water, which is less chemicals, less energy, less electricity, and that becomes a savings we're able to pass on."
Customers can contact the city's utility office for that in-depth analysis, but Sago says they'll soon be able to access it themselves online. Phase Two of the project will begin August 1, when the city will install an additional 3,000 meters.
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