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In 2011, after numerous customer complaints and questions, the city of Weatherford, Okla., decided that the 5,500 water meters in its service area were in need of an upgrade.
The meters were more than 20 years old and were providing inaccurate readings. The department also was spending an average of one to two days per week doing manual meter readings and responding to service requests. The city looked to implement a new two-way advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) system that was more convenient for customers and employees.
In Weatherford’s 5.8-sq-mile service area, steel meter box lids and geographical gaps between meters often disrupted radio frequency signals. To combat these issues, the city installed enclosed transceivers on its fire hydrants, which became active parts of the AMI network.
The Mueller Systems MiHydrant units replaced pumper caps on the hydrants and strengthen and extend the radio signals in the area. They also store data collected by the meters and then send the information directly to the AMI system.
The five-month project left Weatherford with a new, more efficient system allowing city workers to read any meter in the service area within 15 seconds, without leaving the office. The water department is alerted if an abnormally high reading is collected, making leaks easier to detect and fix. The new system is integrated into the existing billing system; customers also can access their household data online, allowing them to monitor their monthly water usage.
“Upgrading our water system was an important project because it has helped us improve customer service while enabling customers and the community as a whole to better conserve water,” said Mike Brown, mayor of Weatherford.