Chesterfield Utilities is excited to announce the advanced metering project, which will assist in upgrading current technology, improving services, providing customers with more ways to manage water use, improving operational efficiency and enhancing environmental stewardship.
How Advanced Metering Works
Infrastructure, such as water and wastewater lines, pumps and water meters, that are used to provide water and wastewater service must be replaced or repaired periodically to ensure they are working efficiently. The advanced metering project will provide either new water meters with electronic endpoints or will retrofit existing water meters with electronic endpoints that will communicate meter readings via cellular networks for more efficient reading of the meters. The project will improve services to homes and businesses throughout our service area.
Benefits of Advanced Metering
The resulting improved communications and data will enhance customer engagement, improve customer service and support the county’s goal to demonstrate excellence in public service with a commitment to fiscal stewardship and efficient use of resources. To support these goals, this project will enable Chesterfield Utilities to provide customers with near real-time water usage and alerts for high consumption that will help avoid unexpected high bills. It also will allow customers, if they choose, to track and manage water usage through an online portal.
What to Expect During Your Meter Upgrade
Throughout the implementation of the advanced metering project, Chesterfield Utilities will continue to provide safe, reliable water and wastewater service. Customers will be contacted prior to their new meter being installed and should experience minimal service interruptions during installation and testing. As the project progresses, updates will continue to be provided. View a video on what to expect during your meter upgrade.
- Work will be done by installers wearing uniforms with Utility Partners of America (UPA) company badges. Vehicles will be marked with the UPA logo.
- Most work will be done Monday through Friday between 7:30 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Water interruption is expected to last less than 30 minutes.
- A UPA installer will leave a door hanger with information regarding your meter upgrade.
Advanced meters will be installed over a two-to-three year period, beginning October 2021. View the Advanced Metering Schedule map for more information. To search a specific address, click the search button (magnifying glass) and type the address. You can also zoom into a neighborhood and select a specific residence by clicking it.
- What is advanced metering and how do advanced water meters work?
Advanced metering uses two-way communications between the water meter and the Utilities Department. It provides real-time water meter readings to ensure accurate and timely processing within the billing system. Also, customers will have access to their water consumption through the integrated customer portal that will allow them to make informed decisions regarding their water usage.
Advanced water meters are equipped with electronic endpoints that collects and securely transmits meter readings via cellular networks to the secure cloud-based software system used by the Utilities Department. The meters maintain readings in 15-minute intervals and sends that information to the Utilities Department several times a day.
- Why is the department upgrading to advanced metering and what are the benefits of advanced water meters? Are there any environmental benefits?
Advanced metering will enhance customer service by providing customers the ability to view their usage information via a customer portal that can be accessed through an app on either a desktop or mobile device (tablet, phone). Customers will be able to view high-resolution water usage data, which will expand opportunities to make informed choices about consumption usage. Concurrently, the advanced metering system will provide the Utilities Department with accurate and timely information for billing, early leak detections for customers and have information about usage readily available for customers.
Advance water meters benefit customers, the Utilities Department and the environment. Customers benefit from improved customer service, reduced estimated reads, access to meter reading information, ability to manage water usage, early notification of leaks and ability to set usage alerts. The Utilities Department will have improved responsiveness to customers and access to timely usage for billing. This project upgrade will help the environment by having fewer trucks on the roadways as the advanced meters will lessen the need to physically visit meters, reducing carbon emissions and fuel consumption. Customer awareness of usage and early water leak detection will also aid Utilities in sustaining the natural resource of water for future generations.
- Is there a fee or application process necessary to upgrade my meter?
There is no application process or fee necessary to replace an existing meter with the advanced meter.
- Can I keep my current water meter?
All Chesterfield water customers will receive an advanced meter. No current meters will be retained.
This will provide customers with the benefits available from the advanced metering system such as improved customer service, reduced estimated reads, access to meter reading information, ability to manage water usage and ability to set usage alerts.
- When will I receive the new advanced meter and how will I be notified of the installation? Can I make an appointment for the meter upgrade?
The Utilities Department is planning to start installation of advanced meters in late summer/early fall 2021. The installation process will last over a two to three-year period and will cover our entire customer base.
Our current meter deployment plans do not provide for specific days of when customers will receive a new advanced meter; however, as the project progresses, we will inform customers in advance of when their meters are scheduled to be exchanged. The Utilities Department will send a mailed notification a few weeks prior to the installation.
This meter upgrade does not require an appointment. On the day of the upgrade, the installer will knock on the door before beginning work and will leave a door hanger after completing the work indicating the upgrade occurred that day. In cases where there is an issue with access to the meter, Chesterfield Utilities will call to schedule a time to gain access.
- How is the advance meter installation done? Do I need to be home when they install the new meter? Will you need to enter my house to make this exchange?
The meter installer will locate your meter box, containing the water meter, on your property. As water meters are located outside of the home in a meter box, meter installers will not need to enter your house to make the exchange.
If there is an issue with access to your water meter, we will make another attempt on a different day or we will call to schedule a time to gain access.
For residential customers, replacing the water meter will require the installer to briefly turn off the water. This allows the installer to remove the old meter and install the new advanced meter. Water service may be interrupted for commercial and industrial customers as well.
When the new advanced meter is installed, the installer will test the meter to ensure that it is operating properly. It is recommended that customers turn-on an outside hose bib or inside faucet for a couple of minutes to flush any air or discolored water that may occur in the service line after the installation.
- Is the advanced meter reading accurate?
The advanced meter is tested and certified from the manufacturer before shipping. Also, advanced metering technology has proven to be highly reliable and secure. It improves accuracy mostly because it eliminates the potential for human error in manual meter reading and practically eliminates any need for estimates.
- Will there be any differences in the delivery or quality of water after the meter upgrade? Will I see any changes to the amount I usually pay for my water/wastewater service?
The delivery and quality of water will continue to be the same high-quality water you have come to expect.
Advanced metering technology ensures that customers pay only for the water they use – no more and no less. It is important to understand that as some water meters age, they can run slower and under-register water use. When we replace your current meter, the first bill may be higher simply because the new meter is running accurately.
- Is my advanced meter reading secure? Can my advanced meter reading be confused with my neighbor’s reading?
Your advanced meter reading is secure. Data transmitted through the system is protected and proprietary communications protocols are used. No customer-identifying data, such as names or addresses, are stored in the meters or transmitted across the network.
Your upgraded meter will transmit a unique identifier along with the meter reading data. This identifier is compared to your account record to ensure that the reading data for the correct meter has been applied to your account.
- Does the radio frequency signal pose any health concerns? Will the radio frequency interfere with my television, computer, cordless phone, garage door, pacemaker or other electronic devices?
The broadcast of radio frequency signals from the advanced meter endpoint devices are well below the levels most people come in contact with on a typical day in their home. Devices such as television sets, wireless phones and cell phones all utilize radio frequency technology that provides much greater contact to radio frequency signals. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) sets requirements related to these levels, which the advanced meter endpoint devices meet.
The advance meter endpoint devices use cellular technology operating in a licensed frequency band reserved specifically for cellular communications, which safeguards against interference with other electronic devices. The advanced meter endpoint devices meet FCC requirements related to interference.
- What if I have questions about the last meter read before the meter upgrade?
Digital photographs will be taken of the last meter reading during the meter exchange. The meter installer will provide these photographs to the Utilities Department and we will have access to them should any questions arise.