Advanced Metering Infrastructure

 

Old versus New AMI Graphic

Water meters in Olivenhain Municipal Water District’s service area are read and billed monthly, primarily utilizing Automated Meter Reading equipment. AMR is a drive-by method of collecting reads through which an OMWD meter technician drives along your street each month, and your meter reads are transmitted electronically from the meter to our truck.

OMWD is installing new technology called Advanced Metering Infrastructure, or AMI. After the upgrade to AMI, meter read data is transmitted to a nearby “fixed-base” receiver instead of to our truck. Since the AMI system drastically reduces costs associated with meter reading like labor and fuel, OMWD can better control our costs while reducing our carbon footprint, too.

Benefits of AMI: The innovative AMI system yields benefits such as:

  • Enhancing our ability to quickly detect and stop leaks, saving you money.
  • Significantly reducing our carbon footprint by taking OMWD vehicles off the road.
  • Providing accurate, timely water use data regardless of weather conditions or power outages.

Additionally, AMI is the foundation for customer engagement software which, in the near future, will provide customers with access to hourly water usage, consumption trends, and other conservation tools to help you manage your water use.

Project Cost: OMWD has anticipated the cost of converting to AMI technology and has planned for the expansion in its capital improvement budget in multiple phases. To maximize the benefits of AMI, OMWD is analyzing the cost of adding customer engagement software as part of this project.

Project Timeline: OMWD began testing AMI technology in 2013 through its AMI Pilot Project, which included conversion of nearly 8,000 meters from AMR to AMI. The AMI Pilot Project system worked well and OMWD’s board has approved the conversion to AMI in additional areas. By 2025, OMWD will read all meters in its service area by AMI. AMI expansion will take place in multiple phases over the next several years. The area currently undergoing expansion is in the central portion of OMWD’s service area. OMWD will notify all affected customers prior to the beginning of each phase of expansion.

Contact Information: For more information about AMI water meter reading, please review the Frequently Asked Questions below, or call OMWD Customer Service at 760-753-6466.

AMI Frequently Asked Questions

Whose meters will be retrofitted with AMI? 
All meters in OMWD’s service area will be retrofitted with AMI by 2025. AMI was first installed in 4S Ranch in 2013. 4S Ranch was selected as the best initial candidate because of its density and flat area, and the project provided useful information for further expansion of AMI. AMI is being installed in the central portion of OMWD’s service area in 2019. Additional phases of expansion will follow.

What does this mean to me?
If your neighborhood is slated for upgrade to AMI, the transmitter currently attached to your meter will be replaced with an AMI transmitter. The lid of your meter box may be replaced as well. No action is required on your part. In the future, the new technology will allow you to more closely track and manage your water consumption.

Will this change how my water use is metered?
No. In most cases, your water meter will not be changed or replaced unless it is scheduled for replacement because of age or it is malfunctioning. The only change is that the drive-by transmitter attached to your meter will be replaced with a fixed-base transmitter. There will be no changes to how you are billed for water service.

How can I read my meter? 
The display on your meter (dials/register) will remain the same. You can continue to read your meter as usual. Visit our Water Meter & Leaks page for more information.

How will I know that you have my reading and not someone else’s?
Each meter has a unique number that is compared to your account record to ensure a match. You can also look at your meter to compare the read on your bill. Physical reads can still be done; please use caution when removing meter lids so radio wires do not become disconnected. Visit our Instructions on Lid Removal page for more information.

How do I know my water bill is accurate?

  • Your water use is still measured by a water meter.
  • If the meter reading unit attached to your water meter is detached or malfunctions, your meter continues to record your water use.
  • If OMWD does not receive your meter read electronically, we will read your meter manually.
  • If you like to check your meter to confirm that your water bill is accurate, you still can. The register (face) on your water meter is the same.  Please be careful with your meter box lid.  The radio unit is attached to the lid and to your meter by wires. Visit our Instructions on Lid Removal page for more information.

The read on my meter doesn’t match the read on my bill.
The read on your meter will likely be more than the read on your last bill because you have been using water since the time your bill was generated. If your meter appears to be showing a number less than the number generated on your bill, please call OMWD Customer Service at 760-753-6466 and we can research the issue.

Is there danger from the wires if there is water in the box?
No. The wires are safe. However, if you are planning to read your meter manually, please use caution when removing the meter lids so the wires do not become disconnected from the meter lid. Visit our Instructions on Lid Removal page for more information.

Will AMI interfere with wireless devices in my home?
No, AMI will not interfere with any wireless devices in your home. The wireless portions of the system are operated according to Federal Communications Commission rules, and will not interfere with other radio frequencies in the area.

Will AMI affect my health?
No. In fact, overall health impacts may be positive, as we reduce emissions associated with monthly visits to your home. The transmitters use one-quarter of the power of a cellphone. The amount of exposure to radio waves decreases with the square of the distance from the source. Exposure to radio waves from AMI transmitters is miniscule compared to cellphones, and the transmission time for AMI transmitters averages 15 seconds per day.

Is my account information private?
Yes. The only data transmitted are your radio number, dial number, and your meter reading.  Personal customer information is not transmitted.

What happens to the current equipment?
Any equipment replaced during the project that remains in good working order will be reused in other neighborhoods in our service area. As is currently the case, water meters, boxes, lids, and radio units will remain the property of OMWD and OMWD will continue to perform the required maintenance on these units.

Where can I get more information?
Thank you for your interest in AMI technology. Call OMWD Customer Service at 760-753-6466 with questions or feedback.