Automated Metering Infrastructure (AMI)
December 10, 2020
Beginning in the Fall of 2021, The Water Works & Sewer Board of The City of Prichard will upgrade its water meter infrastructure and meter reading technology to a new, automated Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI).
Old meters that have traditionally been read manually every month will be replaced to communicate water usage data automatically using radio transmitters. These new meters will eliminate the need for usage estimates.
A basic FAQ about the project is below and more information will become available as the details are confirmed:
Who will install the AMI meters?
After completing a competitive Request for Proposals process, the Board contracted with Core & Main, to install the new meters and radio transmitters. The contractor will be working through our system over the course of the next few months to replace the more than 9800 water meters along with new meter lids for our customers.
How will I know when my water meter will be replaced?
The contractor will place a door hanger a few days before they move into the area.
Do I need to be present when the new meter is installed at my home?
If your water meter is outside of a gate at your home or business, your presence is not needed when the new meter is installed.
If your meter is inside a gate of your home or business, the contractor will contact you to schedule an appointment.
Will I be without water when they install the new meter?
During the conversion process for individual meters, customers will only be without water service for about 30 minutes.
Will water rates increase as a result of the AMI?
The short answer is no. The AMI project itself has no impact on customer consumption or utility rates. However, replacing older and less accurate meters with AMI will lead to more accurate usage readings and therefore could affect your bill.
What are the benefits of AMI for the customer?
AMI provides real-time usage reports that could help identify leaks in the private system.
Does the AMI require any maintenance by the customer?
No, like your current water meter, the AMI system does not require any maintenance by the customer. After the meter is installed, you will notice a raised round disc on top of the meter lid. This is the communications antenna for the AMI device and is durable to common weather elements. Customers will need to be careful when mowing, weed trimming, etc. as to not damage the antenna.
Should I be worried about privacy concerns with this new system?
No. No personally identifiable information (PII) is transmitted with the AMI data signal. Furthermore, although the water usage data is not considered to be a high value target, the data signal is encrypted and protected.
The Board does not sell customer data, including water consumption, under any circumstances. Consumption data has been collected, transmitted, stored and analyzed since the inception of water metering technology. The type of data collected is not changing with AMI. What will change is the way the data is collected and the frequency of collection.