FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, April 8, 2011
Contact: Karen Whichard, firstname.lastname@example.org
Charlotte City Council will consider an agreement related to the continued effort by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities to accelerate the upgrade of water meter transmitters at its meeting on Monday. The agreement would also launch a second pilot program to test next-generation meter transmitter technology.
Both parts of the proposed agreement with Badger Meter, Inc., are tied to ongoing customer service improvements at Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities.
“This agreement would allow us to finalize the transition from 50W transmitters to the 60Ws that we started to accelerate with the contract that Council approved last month,” said Barry Gullet, Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities Director. “The 60W performs better in the field because its stronger radio signal transmits data at a better rate than the 50W. Additionally, the pilot program is important because it provides a first step towards allowing our customers to have more frequent access to their water use data.”
The pilot program would take place in the Peninsula neighborhood in Cornelius and in the Faires Farm neighborhood in Charlotte. Both neighborhoods were a part of the meter equipment audit completed last summer. Badger Meter recently developed a transmitter system compatible with existing equipment with new features that include the ability to internally store hourly water use data. The study would include up to 1,000 installed transmitters.
The two-year agreement is in two parts. The first part of the agreement is for the pilot study and is not to exceed $225,000.
The second part is for up to $6,200,000 for the accelerated replacement of 50W meter transmitters with 60,000 60W transmitters at a discount and the extension of a previous contract to continue to provide needed water meter equipment for standard, ongoing operation of the system. There is also a provision that would allow the Utility to upgrade the replacement 60W transmitters to 100W transmitters if the previously approved pilot study results showed that it was the best course of action.
Last month, City Council approved an agreement with Itron, Inc., to replace 60,000 50W transmitters with 60W transmitters as well as launch a pilot study of 100W transmitters.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities began installing automated meter reading (AMR) equipment in 2002. AMR uses traditional, mechanical water meters with attached electronic transmitters that capture the mechanical reading and transmit water usage data via radio signal to mobile collectors as they drive through neighborhoods.