Meter Reading FAQ
What is a water meter?
Water meters can be defined as the utility company’s cash register. The sole purpose of this device is to measure a consumer’s consumption so that it can be properly billed and accounted for. Since water rates are set to ensure sufficient revenues to operate the system, it is only fair to all customers that each and every account is properly metered.
Where is my water meter? Where is my shut off valve located?
The water meter is located at the front of the property in the ground and covered with a lid that reads “water”. The vast majority of CUD’s water meters are located outside of the physical structure they serve and along the front of the property. However, some are located in side or rear yards or even inside the building. The shut off valve is located on the meter unit and may resemble a stove knob. Meters are generally located at the front of the property or in the driveway near the street. They may also be located in the common grassy area between the driveways if you live in a subdivision.
What is Automated Meter Reading?
In July, 2005, the Board of Commissioners at Consolidated Utility District approved an Automated Meter Reading (AMR) system and associated meter replacement program. This initiative came after many months of evaluation of the various AMR technologies available.
CUD is constantly looking for ways to improve service to its customers. The benefits of an automated meter reading system include:
- Increase employee productivity; and,
- Reduce future meter reading costs and water loss; and,
- Improve accuracy through the elimination of human error; and,
- Improved customer service initiatives, including leak detection and hourly consumption history; and,
- Increase revenues through increased meter accuracy; and,
- Provide a safer work environment for CUD employees; and,
- Minimize the need for monthly access to a customer’s property (CUD will still need to access to troubleshoot, repair and/or replace a water meter)
How does AMR work and how do I know you have my reading and not someone else’s?
Your existing water meter will be replaced with a new water meter that has been fitted with an electronic transmitter. The transmitter sends a radio signal every four seconds and is received at least monthly by CUD’s mobile data collector (laptop computer with antennae). Each meter and transmitter has a unique identification number that ensures that only your reading is assigned to your account. This information is then downloaded into CUD’s billing system.
Will my water bill go up?
Older meters run slower and therefore do not measure all the water going through them, particularly at lower flow rates of ¼ gallon per minute or less. The new water meter will accurately measure all the water you use. Every new meter is tested at the factory to ensure that it registers properly. If you see a high bill, it is usually not because your new meter is reading too high; it is because the old meter was running slow.
How do you know that my reading is accurate?
AMR water meters have electronic digital registers that record and verify the meter reading before it is sent to the transmitting unit. This reading is deemed more accurate than visually reading the meter because humans can drop or transpose numbers in the process of reading meters.
How do I know if higher usage may be a result from a leak in my plumbing system?
New, more accurate meters detect small usages that older meters miss. The AMR meters also have a leak indicator that informs CUD if there has not been a one hour period of zero consumption within the 24 hours prior to the meter being read.
If your bill is high, be sure to check faucets for small drips and listen to toilet valves to see if they run unexpectedly. You can also check your toilet flapper valve for a leak by placing a few drops of food coloring in the tank itself. If the water in the bowl changes color prior to flushing, you have a leak. It is also not uncommon to find leaks in service lines entering your home. Seek assistance from a plumbing professional or your local home improvement center to fix all such leaks.