- February 15, 2012
Ocoee residents will soon have the opportunity to access their water-usage data with an ongoing project spearheaded by the Ocoee Utilities Department.
The project, launched in 2010, will replace traditional water metering systems, devices that measure the amount of water residents use, with smart meters, also known as Advanced Metering Infrastructure. The new smart meters enable remote reading, as opposed to the older radio read metering systems, which require technicians to drive or walk by to get a read.
“The smart meters pair with technology that provides real-time water usage reports, alerting users to leaks, high water use and irrigation issues,” said Danielle Spears, a spokesperson for the St. Johns River Water Management District. “Installation of 900 smart meters is nearly complete, and when finished, the project will have replaced nearly 10,000 traditional meters.”
Along with meter replacements, will come an online system in the form of an interactive customer portal that will allow residents to track their water usage and monitor how it factors into their monthly water bills. The customer portal will also enable everyone set up account thresholds, a feature that helps customers avoid exceeding a specified dollar amount on their bills per month.
“We’re actually able to go into the meters and look at the customer’s usage in almost real-time, with about a four-hour delay for processing,” said Miranda Justice, the water conservation coordinator for the Ocoee’s Utilities Department. “We can look hour-by-hour of what they’re using, so if somebody has a leak, it’s going to show that they have continuous flow going through their meter.”
Traditionally, if there is a water leak, it goes unknown until residents get an unusually high water bill and the water has already been lost. However, with the customer portals and smart meters, the water leak can be detected almost instantly.
The $2.4 million project will begin this fall and is estimated to be completed in five months. For funding, the city applied for a cost-share grant from SJRWMD. Of the 78 project proposals submitted, 49 were chosen for funding, including Ocoee’s smart meter replacement project.
The grant from SJRWMD, which amounts to $1,115,282.70, will help Ocoee’s Utilities Department complete the project much sooner than they had hoped. Now, the city only needs to finance the remaining portion of the estimated cost, which is $1,324,717.
Ocoee already has $75,000 budgeted from the Olympia Neighborhoods Reclaim Retrofit Project, leaving about $1.25 million, which will be financed via a bond issuance.
Contact Gabby Baquero at [email protected]