City of Pearland Uses Technology to Improve Water Service
City seeks to increase meter accuracy and transparency with smart water meters.
Starting in August 2018, the City of Pearland will begin upgrading existing analog water meters to state-of-the-art digital meters. The City is upgrading to an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) system because it will improve water service over current drive-by automated meter reading (AMR) system, which is reaching the end of its service life. Once completed, City water customers will be receiving more accurate and comprehensive information about usage for budgeting and understanding utility bills.
AMI systems are comprised of state-of-the-art electronic/digital hardware and software, which combine data measurement with continuously available remote communications. The system is similar to “smart meters” used for electrical service meters that enables the measurement of detailed, time-based data with the ability to share the data with customers. The City has contracted with Itron, Inc. for the new meters, the electronic hardware and software, and the system installation.
The benefits of the program include water conservation through enhanced meter accuracy, advanced leak detection, and the ability to share usage data with the City’s customers. Specifically, the system will include integrated leak detection system that will assist the City in alerting to possible leaks in the water system. A customer portal will provide customers a way to monitor their water consumption to help make informed decisions about water usage, determine if there is unexpected use, or if there is a potential water leak. The program will also reduce physical meter reading workload on City Staff, freeing them up to focus on other aspects of water service.
The transition and the replacement of meters throughout Pearland is expected to take about 18-20 months. Over the course of the project, the City will replace over 37,000 residential and commercial meters with the “smart” meters. The new “smart” meters have no moving parts versus the existing meters where internal parts can wear down over time and break, which is expected to assist in reducing meter maintenance costs, and replacement costs because the new meters should preserve the accuracy of water usage longer than existing meters.
Starting in August, The City will be installing meters for new homes going up throughout the City. The Public Works team will also be replacing meters that are in a state of irreparable damage with the new meters as those cases occur. Subsequently, the City will be replacing meters on a subdivision by subdivision basis for existing customers. A communication plan will alert residents when the City will begin working in their area and include information on any temporary disruptions in water service while the new meters are installed.
The City will provide information, FAQs, and regular updates on the website (www.pearlandtx.gov/SmartWater) and on social and local media platforms.