Time synchronization, which helps utilities understand how much billable water is actually getting to customers, is now available as part of the Aclara Series 3000 family of meter transponders being offered for the two-way STAR Network advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) system. Aclara is a provider of intelligent infrastructure solutions and part of the Utility Solutions Group of ESCO Technologies, Inc.
In a time-synched network all meter endpoints are maintained at the same time and reads are taken simultaneously, providing a snapshot of system usage. Utilities can determine how much water is being lost to leaks and other problems by reconciling this view of usage with information related to the amount of water entering the system.
“Time synchronization is really a cornerstone of two-way communications for a water utility,” said Todd Stocker, water product manager for Aclara RF Systems, Inc. “It provides the data necessary to understand where water loss is occurring. In fact, system reconciliation is really the first building block of leak detection.”
The 3300 Water MTU, the latest in the Series 3000, also can take hourly, time-stamped readings in addition to providing time synchronization. The increased data available through hourly reads eliminates the need for estimated bills and helps the utility improve customer service as well as revenue-protection efforts. Having access to hourly read data also can help consumers get a better sense of how they are using water, allowing them to make decisions that save money or boost conservation efforts.
The 3300 Water MTU provides these additional functions while maintaining the 20-year battery life for which the STAR Network system is known. The MTUs offer accurate, consistent readings in all locations, even when placed in traditionally difficult installation locations such as meter vaults and basements.
The scalable STAR Network system is a radio-based fixed network that aims to empower utilities to maximize meter functionality and provide good customer service. Accurate and timely billing, high/low consumption reporting and non-revenue water-loss detection are some benefits the STAR Network system offers utilities, Aclara said.