Nov 25, 2009

San Francisco Chooses Aclara STAR Network AMI System

System provides real-time data for leak detection and water conservation

Aclara, a provider of intelligent infrastructure technologies and part of the Utility Solutions Group of ESCO Technologies, Inc., announced that the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission (SFPUC) will begin citywide installation of the Aclara STAR Network system in early calendar 2010. The SFPUC, with 170,000 retail customer accounts, will be the first major California water utility to install advanced metering infrastructure (AMI) technology to track water consumption, according to Aclara.

More than 100 cities have deployed the STAR Network system, including New York City, Boston, Kansas City and Washington, as well as smaller municipals such as Leesburg, Va.; Ann Arbor, Mich.; Beverly Hills, Calif.; and Corpus Christi, Texas. Aclara said the STAR Network system is configurable to meet the requirements of any size city, employing low-frequency radio signals to transmit meter readings on a schedule determined by the utility.

The new system will send hourly consumption data to the SFPUC four times daily. Currently, most residential water meters in San Francisco are read once every two months and commercial meters are read monthly, with meter readers required to individually visit and read each meter manually. Aclara said this process makes it difficult to detect silent leaks, which can result in significant water loss and high water/sewer bills for customers.

“Our Aclara fixed-network AMI system will give the SFPUC and its customers more frequent and reliable information about their water consumption,” said Gary Moore, president of Aclara RF Systems, Inc. “Our proven technology, successfully installed and operating in large cities like New York, Washington and Boston, will be a powerful tool to preserve sustainable water resources and help San Franciscans conserve water and combat future droughts.”

The company said eventually customers will be able to log on to their own accounts with the SFPUC to monitor their own water consumption habits and billing.

“With California facing long-term threats to our water supplies and natural resources from climate change and population growth, literally every drop of water counts,” said SFPUC General Manager Ed Harrington. “Automated meters will give the SFPUC and our customers more accurate information about water consumption that will help us detect leaks faster and conserve more.”