Advanced Metering Infrastructure Project
The Town of Valdese has established Valdese H20, the Town’s new water utility program. This new program is designed to enhance customer service and operational efficiencies for the combined 5,000 customers within the former Town and Triple service districts. Included in these improvements, the Town has authorized the upgrade of its public water utility meters from drive-by read technology that collects one meter read every 30 days to a network reading system that will collect 720 reads each month.
This new technology is referred to as Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) and will provide exponential benefits to the Town and customers. Customers will have direct access to detailed usage information and the opportunity to receive alert notifications for water leaks and high consumption to proactively capture leaks. Utility staff will have access to enhanced system reporting and functionalities, as well as detailed trending data to deliver improved customer service support and expedited response time.
The project involves the installation of highly accurate and state-of-the art metering technology for residential and commercial water customers. The new AMI system uses wireless and radio frequency technology to transmit hourly water usage data from individual meters to an antenna and base station at Town-owned poles and water tanks. The data transmissions sent by the meters to the collector and on to the software utilized and managed by Utility staff are secured by encryption and contain no customer information.
Project Background: In 2017, the Town of Valdese began researching options for automating its meter reading processes and replacing meter infrastructure that had reached the end of its operational useful life and may no longer be recording water consumption accurately. The Town conducted a business case analysis and, from the results of the study, determined that replacement of existing water meters with newer, AMI meters provided far greater benefit to Town utility operations and customer service, and the community than the costs associated with the upgrades.
In 2018, the Town conducted a comprehensive bid process for new water metering technologies. Through competitive evaluation, the Town has selected Mueller Systems and its Mi.Net solution which will provide significant improvements to customer service, while achieving greater utility operational efficiencies.
The Project will involve the replacement of 100% of the Town’s water meters, installation of a Town-wide AMI network serving 100% of the Town’s water services, and installation and integration of Meter Data Management System (MDMS) software with the Town’s utility billing system.
The AMI Implementation Project is state-funded project by the NC Division of Water Infrastructure (DWI) through $566,347 in grant funds and a zero interest loan at $1,699,039. MeterSYS, a Raleigh-based advanced metering services firm, will serve as Project Manager throughout the implementation project. West Consultants will be responsible for document submittals and overall compliance of the DWI grant and loan program. The project will take approximately one year to complete and is expected to be completed by June 30, 2020
Town of Valdese AMI Project- Customer Engagement Platform
As part of the Valdese H20 program, the Town will roll-out a customer engagement platform called WaterSmart that will be made available to the Town’s water customers. The portal will allow customers to view their water usage in near real-time and set up and receive usage alerts to proactively identify any leaks or unusually high usage. Check out the video below to learn more about the WaterSmart customer engagement platform! Sign up online here: valdesenc.watersmart.com