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The City of Roswell is preparing to replace the approximately 19,000 water meters at residential and business properties throughout the city with modern “smart meters” that will offer more accurate customer billing and greater efficiency in the water utility’s gathering of water-use information, as well as allowing residents and business owners to better monitor their water use and detect potential leaks.
The smart meters measure water use digitally then transmit the data wirelessly to the city utility, eliminating the need for water meters to be read manually at each property. Plans are in place to transition certain employees – meter readers and those in related jobs – to new positions when the meter project is fully completed in all areas of the city, which is projected to be around September 2018.
Having regularly updated and immediate access to real-time water-use trends will help the city better manage its water resources. Meanwhile, water customers will have online access to their own water use, allowing customers to immediately notice any strange variances in water amounts being used, enabling them to address any issues and conserve water.
The $18.2 million project will be initially funded by a bond issue that will be paid off fully through revenues generated by the water and sewer utilities.
While there will be no rate increase related to this project, once the new meters are installed and functioning, water customers will likely see an increase on their bills (the increase will vary based on each customer’s water use), but this will be a result of the accuracy adjustment produced by the meters. The existing mechanical meters, most of which are at least 50 years old, have deteriorated to the point where they no longer record the full amount of water being used.
Installation of the smart meters is being managed by Albuquerque-based Yearout Companies. The installation timetable is still being finalized, but installation is planned to begin first among business properties. That installation is estimated to start in May. Installation at residences will follow.