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City of Waxahachie Begins Smart Water Meter Modernization Project

January 4, 2022
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Waxahachie, TX. The City of Waxahachie is beginning a large-scale project to modernize and upgrade the City’s aging water service infrastructure. The project, which begins installation in February, will provide multiple benefits to users and the City alike. With more precise “smart” meter readings, utility bills will be more accurate. At the same time, customers will have more control of their water consumption with real-time water usage data via an online customer portal.

Like many cities across Texas and the U.S., the City of Waxahachie decided to implement an Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) or smart water meter system to more accurately track water usage and increase their utility efficiency. Replacing the old, mechanical water meters with new smart meters will ensure that the City can accurately track water usage and reduce manual work processes. After installation of the new meters and AMI system, water usage can be monitored and reported instantaneously in real-time. This will also allow the City to provide customers with more proactive customer service. For example, in the case of water system leaks or excessive water consumption, the City will be able to help customers identify issues sooner so that quick action may be taken to correct problems.

“The new smart meters will not only provide a more precise reading for our customers, but this system also includes tools for our residents to track usage in real-time, which can measure consumption and even help detect possible issues, including leaks. Implementing this widely used technology is another way the City is looking to automate our historically manual processes to provide outstanding service to our residents,” said City Manager Michael Scott.

The self-funding project complies with the Ultrasonic and Electromagnetic water meter standard, ANSI/AWWA C715-18, issued by the American Water Works Association (AWWA) on October 1, 2018. The AWWA standard supports the electromagnetic and ultrasonic water meter technologies that enable water utilities to reduce unaccounted water loss and to read water usage consistently at a high level of accuracy. The Badger® water meters will be connected to the Badger Advanced Metering Analytics (AMA) system called BEACON, which utilizes cellular technology to capture interval meter data. Electronic metering provides information, such as the gallons used per hour, reverse-flow indication, and other operating data not typically available from traditional mechanical meters and registers. Electronic metering eliminates measurement errors due to sand, suspended particles, and pressure fluctuations in older meters.

The City of Waxahachie AMI system will connect water meters with powerful analytics to a secure and uninterrupted network, giving the City the tools needed to optimize its processes and provide proactive customer service. Additionally, an online portal and smartphone application, Eye on Water, will allow customers to view, manage and track their water usage. More information about accessing the new customer portal will be provided to customers during project implementation.

The City of Waxahachie selected Performance Services, a qualified energy services company, to develop the project through an energy savings performance contract allowable under Texas Local Government Code 302. The contract enables public entities to pay for efficiency improvements within their existing operating budget. Savings are generated from the installation of new, modern, and efficient technology and equipment improvements. As a result of the improvements, the project guarantees a minimum of $870,535 in annual operational savings and revenues for the City throughout the 15-year contract period.

Project communication will include a postcard mailer to all customer residences/businesses and a door tag placed once the meter is installed. The installation of the new meters will begin in November and conclude in August 2022. More information about the project, installation timeline, FAQs, and the customer portal can be found at https://www.waxahachie.com/departments/utilities/smartmeter.php