Smart Water Meters Don’t Necessarily Mean Job Loss for Meter Readers

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The City of Valdosta (GA) will begin swapping out old residential and business water meters for Diehl ultrasonic technology meters designed to automate readings. Diehl Metering products are Automated Meter Reading (AMR) Ready – they receive the radio signal from the pulse emitter and provide the software to read and analyze the readings.

According to Ryan Henshaw, Vanguard Utility Services Project Manager, residents will have access to an online customer portal for tracking household water use in real-time, set conservation goals, and program personalized alerts in the event of leaks, possible pipe-freezing and vacation notifications.  

WCTV reported the city paid $9.5 million for this utility overhaul with Special Purpose Local Options Sales Tax, or SPLOST, funds. City spokesperson Ashlyn Johnson said switching out the meters only takes about 15 to 30 minutes. 

“It’ll be a really big improvement to customers because it’ll help them with efficiency and managing, budgeting throughout the month,” Johnson said. “So they’ll know exactly what their bill will be.”

According to Johnson, the new wireless device will send data to an AT&T 5G cell tower and will then be relayed instantaneously to the city. Providing remote readings, city workers will be able to read meter data on an hourly basis, enabling them to track system leaks, reduce meter reading costs and provide immediate and transparent information to customers.

Crews completed 2,800 installations last Monday and expect to complete their initial route by the end of this week. CATV reported the city’s entire installation of 23,000 smart meters total will take about six months to complete. 

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