New water meter reading system could help save money

New water meter reading system could help save money
(Source: WTOL)

TOLEDO, OH (WTOL) - A new water meter reading system could be put in place in the City of Toledo, possibly saving customers money.

"What it could do is allow us to use a cellular system to automatically read the meters, it would cut down on mistakes from meter reading and it would also put a wealth of information at the fingertips of our customers," Director of Public Utilities Ed Moore said.

Taxpayers could see up to the hour how much water they're using on a smart phone or tablet, figuring out bills instead of waiting for a city employee to come read the meter.

"It helps with customer's usage patterns, it can tell you if you potentially have leaks and things of that sort which could save the customers money," Moore explained.

Changes are also on the table to send out bills every month, instead of every quarter.

From the City's Website:

"The purpose is to alleviate meter-reading issues, reduce time spent reading meters, and improve meter reading accuracy. Traditional water meter devices require a meter reader to visit each individual water meter to check a customer's usage. Automatic meter reading and automatic metering infrastructure systems use wireless or radio technology for faster and more frequent collection of meter reads. These technologies also reduce the number of necessary meter readers, eliminate the need for estimating water use that often under-estimates actual water consumption, and improve customer satisfaction through accurate billing, enhanced leak identification, shorter billing cycles, and improved data for possible conservation measures."

City leaders say the plan is that it won't cost residents anything. They plan on accomplishing this through a public-private partnership.

Cell towers would be built allowing the meters to send information back to then be read by city employees.

Moore says this could also act as a backbone for a smart city initiative.

"If we are looking to acquire street lights, do some smart technology around the city, the infrastructure we are going to build out could be used as the backbone for that system," Moore said.

Leaders are now just looking into the possibilities of automatic meter reading, automatic metering infrastructure or a mix of both.

If neighbors have issues with water bills now, they're encouraged to contact Engage Toledo at 419-245-1800.

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