Water meter network pilot
The City of Kelowna is implementing a pilot project to upgrade aging water meters and metering equipment in the Kelowna water utility. This Water Meter Network Pilot will:
- Improve meter reading accuracy and reduce operations costs;
- Improve communication to customers regarding their water consumption;
- Allow staff to notify customers of potential leaks;
- Improve system safety by identifying back flow;
- Replace ageing meters if and where required; and
- Reduce the need for staff to enter private property to obtain meter reads.
Two hundred properties across the utility have been selected for upgrades to water meters and meter reading technology as part of an evaluation process. Candidates for this free upgrade will be contacted by Iconix Waterworks with information about the equipment and installation process in advance.
The evaluation process will ensure that the newer equipment is functional with our service area regarding geographic location, various types of meters, and where meters are located on property.
Once the trial is complete, a customer portal to allow for monitoring of daily water usage is expected to be launched in conjunction with roll-out of the new equipment across the Utility. This would allow residents to reduce water loss, waste or uses around their homes and ultimately save water and money.
Currently, water meters are read manually using touchpads located on the interior or exterior of buildings or meter pits on property. These touchpads will be replaced with remote water meter technology as the water meter itself is not capable of transmitting readings. This upgrade will remove the need to have water meters manually read, improve the efficiency and safety of Utility staff, and lower the overall cost of operations
In some case water meters will also be replaced where required. Water meters are mechanical devices, and like all mechanical devices they wear with age.
The new meter reading system uses the local cellular network to report readings to the Utility on a daily basis.
Meter reading equipment upgrades will start in September 2019. ICONIX will perform the work Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Inside installations take approximately 30 minutes to one hour depending on the requirements of the residence or business. Water is typically unavailable for approximately ten minutes.
ICONIX will require access to your main shut-off valve. An adult (18+ years old) must be home during the installation to provide access and sign off on completion.
To book an appointment or to decline the metering equipment upgrade, contact ICONIX. You will need to provide up-to-date contact information for your residence or business.
Your new metering equipment will be installed in the same area as your current metering equipment. Every effort will be made to minimize the impact to your home or business.
If you are a tenant, you will be asked to provide access to the water meter and metering equipment. We also ask that you notify the property owner about the notification letter you received.
If you have tenants or if the property is vacant, you are responsible for arranging an appointment with ICONIX to allow for the metering equipment replacement.
Inside installations take approximately 30 minutes to one hour depending on the requirements of the residence or business. Water is typically unavailable for approximately ten minutes.
There is no charge to the customer for replacing the existing touchpad with new metering equipment or to replace an existing water meter; it is included in City Utility’s ongoing maintenance and replacement budget. Remote water meter reading technology is an investment in City Utility infrastructure and will improve accuracy and customer service.
Each automated meter reading has a unique identification number which is transmitted along with the meter reading. The unique serial identification number of the meter reader is linked to your utility bill account number.
Readings are sent through secure Virtual Private Network VPN using Advanced Encryption Standard (AES) 256 and stored on a secure Canadian-based server.
The privacy of customers is a priority for the City of Kelowna. When the data is sent from the meter to the meter reader, there is no personal profile information connected to that data. The City’s Information Services department ensures there are security protocols in place to protect transmission of the data.
You can still read your water consumption information directly on your meter display.
The new metering equipment will use the LTE cellular network to send meter reading data to the closest existing cellular infrastructure, which will then be received remotely by the Utility. Where the LTE network is not available, the signal will default to the 3G network.
This signal differs from radio transmissions and will not interfere with other household devices like cordless phones, garage doors or pacemakers, among others. Unlike a cellphone, these devices are not continuously transmitting and will only send a signal once a day with the data gathered from the water meter.
The new metering equipment is a battery powered device that transmits the meter reading data and has an expected battery life of 20 years. The equipment will typically be mounted to the outside of buildings or in a meter pit. Currently, water meters are read manually via a touchpad; the new meter reading equipment will replace this touchpad.
For most metered locations, the meter inside the house or building is connected by a wire through the wall/ceiling to a touchpad mounted to the outside of the home or building. In some cases, meters are located in pits with a touchpad mounted on the pit cover or to a fence post. To get the reading, a meter reading staff member must walk to the touchpad and touch the reading equipment to the touchpad to obtain a reading. Following the new metering equipment installation, the meter will be read automatically using a network of cellular towers and antennae located throughout the service area.
The meter reading equipment uses wireless cellular technology to communicate with data readers, the same way a cellphone works. Unlike a cellphone, these devices are not continuously transmitting and will only send a signal once a day with the data gathered from the water meter.
Cellular transmissions use a radiofrequency that must meet regulatory requirements in Canada.
Read more about radio frequency guidelines at: Health Canada > Health risk and safety > Radiation and your health
Old meters that have to be replaced will be recycled appropriately.