News Feature | March 8, 2017

DC Water Plans To Replace 92,000 Meters

Sara Jerome

By Sara Jerome
@sarmje

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A spate of billing errors helped prompt the water utility in Washington, D.C., to completely overhaul its metering system.

As part of the overhaul, every home in the capital will get a new water meter, according to NBC4 Washington. The replacement project is expected to continued “well into 2018,” the report said.

“We're going to do more than 85,000 meters,” DC Water spokesman Vince Morris said, per the report. “All of our customers are getting brand new meters, the latest technology, and they're replacing meters that are in most cases more than 10 years old.”

The utility’s website described the project like this: “DC Water is paying to install 92,000 new meters in the District between March 2017 and mid-2018 to give our customers more accurate readings of their usage.” The utility plans to disassemble and recycle old meters.

The meters “have passed their useful life,” the utility says. “The new meters are more advanced and meter transmission unit (MTU) technology enables more services especially with regard to diagnosing issues.”

The culprit behind erroneous bills: Outdated transmission equipment.

“What we were noticing is a slight uptick in usage readings that were off, where we would have to make an estimate because we weren't getting accurate readings from our transmission units,” Morris said, per the report.

In a statement released in February, DC Water CEO and General Manager George Hawkins highlighted the ways the massive overhaul will benefit ratepayers.

“This next generation water meter will provide even more benefits to customers, and will reduce the need for estimated billing or manual meter reading. This is one more example of our mission to incorporate innovative technology in our operations for customer benefit and operational efficiencies,” he said.

The utility hired Smart Grid Solutions (SGS) to install the new meters.

“The last time DC Water undertook a large-scale water meter replacement project was in 2003. At that time, DC Water installed the newest meter technology. As a result, usage data was automatically uploaded twice daily to DC Water via radio and cellular technology, eliminating the need for meter readers to visit each property,” the statement from the utility said.

To read more about meter replacements visit Water Online’s AMR, AMI And Metering Solutions Center.

Image credit: "Cherry Washington Monument," Tom Finzel © 2013, used under an Attribution 2.0 Generic license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/