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City to replace water meters

POSTED August 24, 2012 10:16 p.m.

Turlockers should expect to see city-authorized technicians conducting work on water meters in the coming months.

The work is related to a $495,225 upgrade of the city’s failing automated water meter reading system, approved by the Turlock City Council on Oct. 11, 2011.

At the time, wireless readers were failing at a rate of about eight per day, city staff said. The failures create additional costs for the city – hiring employees to manually read broken meters – and headaches for customers, making some billing cycles longer than 30 days.

Supplier ITRON will pay to replace the under-warranty 18,200 unit system with an entirely new system based on proven technology. ITRON will pay $2.5 million of costs – most of the new hardware, and installation and removal expenses – with Turlock paying only for optional larger antennas to improve reliability.

The modern meter system should also bring technological benefits, including Internet-based reporting of water usage.

“These updates are part of the city’s effort to automate its water meter reading operations and to improve efficiency”, said Dan Madden, director of the Municipal Services Department. “The new Internet interface should be easier to use and provide more reporting capabilities.”

Workers will install, configure, test, and activate the new meter reading system. Technicians will need access to the meter box itself, traditionally found in front yards or alleys, and will require no further access to homes or yards.

Water service will not be interrupted. Customers should expect to find property left in the condition in which it was found, save for a new black plastic antenna on the lid of their water meter box.

The work will be performed by Pacific Meter Services.

For more information, call at (775) 848-3637, (775) 342-3889 or 668-5590.

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