Water Utility Launches Project H2O
Thursday, February 16, 2012 - 6:08am
New Meter Heads Will Allow Customers to Track Usage Online
Madison-In a project that begins today, Madison Water Utility will install new meter reading technology in every home and business in the city. Project H2O will automate water meter reading capabilities through a fixed-base radio network to increase accuracy and provide customers with the timely information they need to better manage their water usage.
According to MWU General Manager Tom Heikkinen, "Our current Read-o-Matic meter registers, first introduced to the market in 1958, are no longer be supported by the manufacturer, so this technology implementation is timely for us. It will be a catalyst for significant improvements in water efficiency and customer service. Over the 20-year life of the system, it will pay for itself in reduced operating costs." As part of the utility's approved capital improvement program, the $14 million project is funded through the sale of revenue bonds.
When installations are complete, customers will be able to monitor their daily water usage online and sign up for leak alerts through an iOS or Android app. Measuring system water loss more accurately will enable MWU to optimize infrastructure improvements and future capacity planning. The new system will also enable the utility to switch from a six-month billing cycle to the more common monthly billing that most other utilities use. Usage will be shown in gallons rather than cubic feet, making bills easier to understand.
The Madison Water Utility has hired U.S. technology company Itron, Inc. to supply the advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) for Project H2O. Milwaukee-based subcontractor Corix Utilities, Inc., utilizing locally hired workers, will be visiting every Madison address in the next 15 months to retrofit customers' meters. Part of Project H2O will be accomplished internally, with the utility's own employees installing 7000 new electronic meters. Residential meters are located in the basement, although the Read-o-Matic remote registers are attached to the outside of the house. Customers will be contacted by mail to arrange an installation appointment.
Employees and contractors involved with the project will be identified by badges with the Project H2O logo, as will their work vehicles. Installations will be by appointment, and an adult resident must be present. The work will be done by neighborhoods, beginning with an initial pilot phase of 700 addresses in the northeast section of the city. To learn more about Project H2O, please visit our website at www.madisonwater.org. The project schedule will be posted there as it is developed.
- Gail Gawenda, 266-9129