EMWD upgrades to ‘smart’ meters

New meters can detect leaks

■ Chronicle News Service

Has your water bill been high and you can’t figure out why? Perhaps you had a leak, but you couldn’t take a peek.
Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD) expedited its Smart Meter upgrade program this month to better assist customers in monitoring their water use, according to the company. More than 5,000 water meters will be upgraded this month, which will allow EMWD to assist customers in identifying potential leaks. Typically, EMWD replaced about 1,000 meters a month. EMWD expects to replace every meter by the summer of 2019.
Earlier this year, the company began a leak notification program for customers who already have Smart Meters. If a residential customer has continual usage for a 72-hour period, the customer is notified by phone, email or text message of the potential leak. Customers may choose the notification method they prefer.
Since EMWD began the program earlier this year, more than 12,000 customers have been notified of a potential leak; so far it’s been 95 percent accurate. Customers living in Menifee, Murrieta, Temecula and Winchester will have their meters replaced this month.
“It is important that we use available technology to our advantage by providing our customers the tools necessary to better understand their water use,” said EMWD President David Slawson. “In addition to creating a more efficient model, we want to ensure that we are proactively assisting customers in identifying potential leaks. Doing so will help our customers save both water and money.”
The new meter technology will eventually allow customers to use a portal to monitor their usage in real time, project monthly bills and to identify potential leaks at their properties.
Long-term cost savings are expected through the meter upgrades, mostly by eliminating manual house-to-house meter reading. Automated meters will allow EMWD to avoid driving nearly 170,000 miles annually – the equivalent of driving cross-country about 60 times –to manually read meters. It also helps save in fuel costs and reduces the need for fleet vehicles dedicated solely to meter-reading crews.
Customers may visit www.emwd.org/smartmeters each month to view a list of streets in EMWD’s service area that will undergo meter upgrades that month.

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