MyH20 - Digital Water Meters
The new AMI Digital Water Meters is a City of Robinson water utility program designed to improve both customer engagement and utility operations through the implementation of advanced technology.
The technology allows the City of Robinson to better inform customers about their daily water use. Wireless networks that include digital-read-meters, a communications network and data management systems, will provide customers information and opportunities to monitor and reduce their water usage.
Likewise, the utility will improve operational efficiencies in ways that benefit everyone. As the program advances, more services and features will be added.
What can I do with MyH2O?
Once the customer portal is available, MyH2O will give customers:
- Access to data reflecting their previous day's water usage in hourly increments
- The ability to set alerts and notifications about usage
- The ability to detect continuous water flow, in case of a possible leak
- An upgraded payment system
- Digital access to join in the city's conservation efforts
Meter installation began in 2022. Residents will be notified prior to installation. MyH2O meter installation is expected to be completed by Fall 2023. The City of Robinson will work with its contractor to plan meter change outs. The city will share the deployment once it has been established and mapped out. The meter exchange will take place between 8:00 AM and 5:00 PM, Monday through Friday.
On Monday, April 3rd, Aqua Metric will begin the install process for the meters. They will start with Zone 1, Book 1A (Meadowbrook, Brewster, and Darden and Fannin Estates) and moving through 1A to 1B. The installers will then change over to Zone 2, Book 3B and work through those into Book 3A until flipping back to Zone 1A/1B to finish up.
Find your streets Zone and Book here.
The City of Robinson is transforming the services and operations of its water utility through a program called MyH2O. The implementation phase involves the installation of advanced metering infrastructure system, or AMI, to provide granular data on water use throughout the water system.
By 2022, residential and commercial water meters in the water system will begin having their water meters replaced with digital-read meters. These digital water meters are equipped with a radio transmission unit for remote reading. Encrypted data from the meter is securely sent by a wireless network to the utility to create a bill.
The program is not about the meter, rather the technologies and associated benefits.
MyH20 focuses on enhanced customer communication, leak detection, and conservation.
Once registered in the portal, customers will have the tools to better manage their spending. Customers will be able to:
- set a dollar amount they don’t want their bill to go over and receive an alert if they’re close to that amount.
- choose to receive alerts when water hasn't stopped running for some time, indicating a possible leak, or if there’s other unusual high usage trends.
- view the previous day’s usage on an hourly basis. When coupled with usage history data, customers will have the tools to better understand and make decisions about how and when they use water.
The customer portal is being developed and is not yet available. You will receive information in the mail and in your water bill when it is.
MyH2O will reduce the utility’s operating costs, as well. By analyzing usage and other data, the utility can improve water distribution plans and identify potential infrastructure problems long before they turn into costly and disruptive repairs.
MyH2O is being phased-in as soon as digital water meters are received.
Customers can keep an eye on this web page for the installation progress and portal availability. Also, watch for notices on our community channels.
The City of Robinson began installing the new meters in new developments and as voluntary replacements for existing meters.
SmartPoint 520M Information (Radio transceiver that provides water utilities inbound and outbound access to water measurement and ancillary device diagnostics via radio signal.)
There is no action on your part needed for the new meters. However, there are some things you need to know about the process. Foremost, please be aware when work crews are on your street. The work is done in two trips. Notifications will go out regarding when contractors are working in your neighborhood.
Contractors do not need to enter your home on either visit.
Preparing the meter box
The first visit is to clean debris out of the meter box. Meter lids will be removed, taken to a nearby site and have a hole cut in them before being put back in place. The hole will be capped until workers return to exchange the current meter with the new meter with a radio transmitter unit. That could range from a few days to about a month’s time.
There is no interruption of water service during this work.
When crews return to switch out the meter, workers will knock on your door to let you know they are there. If you’re using the water at that moment, it’s OK if you need a few minutes to finish up what you’re doing.
Generally, residential meter exchanges will occur from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. At commercial properties, which include multi-family communities, the meter exchanges occur from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.
At that point, the radios will be active. Please do not tamper with the wires.
Workers will flush the water line of air pockets once the new meter is in place. If they’re unable to do so, instructions will be left with you to run your faucets inside your home.
Water service is interrupted for about 20 to 30 minutes during the meter replacement only.
Crews will be wearing navy or grey t-shirts with the Aqua Metric logo, and will add a bright yellow safety vest with an Aqua Metric logo when they are in high traffic areas. They will also have company issued photo identification badges. They will be driving Aqua Metric-decaled trucks with signs reading Authorized Water Utility Contractors.
Once the schedule is created details will be shared in the Timeline section on this page.
Please contact our Utility Service department at (254) 662-1415 or via email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or concerns.
- What are the new digital water meters?
The City’s new digital water meters will be installed to replace the City’s current meters. Also known as Advanced Metering Infrastructure, the digital water meters provide the City and its customers with accurate near real-time data on their individual water usage along with alerts to notify us of potential issues such as a leak. This technology will help customers gain a deeper insight and understanding on how and when they use water.
- What is Advanced Metering Infrastructure?
Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) is a system of transmitters and receivers that allow customers water usage data to be sent directly to our offices using a radio frequency signal. This will allow for two-way electronic communication between the customer's meter and utility personnel.
- Why are we getting digital water meters?
Heat and drought tend to lead to increased water usage for customers. Whether it's watering the yard, filling a swimming pool, preventing a shift in the foundation, or watering the lawn, all can play a role in customers experiencing higher water bills in the summer. Higher water bills usually increase customers' concern over their usage and bill accuracy. To find a solution to these concerns, City Council directed Robinson staff to embark on a thorough vetting process to find the ideal technology that would empower customers to learn more about their water use while ensuring the accuracy of customers' water usage and bill.
The digital water meters from Sensus were identified as the most cost-effective and reliable technology for this endeavor. These digital water meters are designed to help customers understand and gain insight into how and when they use water. They also provide the opportunity to determine and locate water leaks quicker, aiding in preserving this natural resource.
- How does the new technology work?
Digital water meter readings are encrypted and sent through an automated network, using a private radio frequency (RF) channel, from the digital water meter to the utility. The meter data display looks similar to the numbers on a car odometer and has nine digits. The digits on the meter represent the number of gallons consumed down to the 1/100th of a gallon. The last two digits can be used as leak indicators to detect water flow through the meter.
- How will the new digital water meters benefit me?
The AMI system will provide a new customer web portal where customers can monitor their water usage more closely, allowing customers to manage their own water usage and reduce costs associated with their water bills. Some of the many benefits customers gain from the new technology include:
- The ability to track water usage and investigate possible leaks or continuous water use such as; a running garden hose, leaky water pipe, or broken sprinkler head.
- Precise meter readings and water usage data in near real time, allowing for identification of high usage and suspected leaks.
- More frequent meter reading, as opposed to monthly readings, which allows you to make necessary adjustments sooner, rather than later, to reduce and manage costs.
- Improved customer service options including; representatives who can guide you through your water usage portal and suggest cost savings tips based on your past usage patterns and trends.
- How much will the digital water meters cost me?
The project was financed through the City’s Capital Improvement Project funds. Customers will not incur any additional cost for the digital water meters. However, these water meters are much more accurate than the previous water meters used so customers could see an increase in monthly water usage due to this efficiency.
- Will my water bill increase?
Possibly. There are two primary reasons you might see an increase in your water bill. Traditional meters and AMI meters measure water traveling through to the home in the same way, but the improved performance of a new meter can result in a more accurate measurement of the water used due to an inaccurate older water meter or potential leaks that have gone unnoticed. Due to this, customers may notice an increase in their bill based on actual consumption. However, if your old meter was operating properly, you may not see any changes in your monthly bill. It's important to remember that higher than normal water bills can also indicate a household leak and should be investigated. The City of Robinson has some troubleshooting tips on our website: https://www.robinsontexas.org/DocumentCenter/View/1956/Check-for-Leaks-PDF
- How will I be able to access the data on my water usage?
Customers will be setup with access to a customer web portal which they can access from a laptop, tablet or mobile device. To obtain access to the portal, customers will need to create a unique username and password.
- How many days, weeks, months of back data will be available?
Customers will still have access to up to 3 years of previous water usage history through their previous customer portal. However, the new AMI customer portal will keep up to 3 years of previous usage once the new system begins.
- What types of alerts will I be able to set up?
Customers will have the ability to set up an alert to determine if there is any water loss or waste on their property. Customers will also be able to establish Billing Cycle Thresholds for additional alerts such as:
- Daily Usage Alert – Alerts you when you are using more than a given amount in a day.
- Billing Cycle Usage Alert – Alerts you when you are using more than a given amount in a billing cycle.
- Vacation Alert – Alerts when usage has occurred at your home when you are away.
- How secure will my data and information be?
Data from the meters is encrypted and sent through a safe and secure network to the utility databases. The meter system transmits only the water meter readings, the meter identification number, and diagnostic information to verify that the automated meter equipment is operating correctly. No personally identifiable information is stored at the meter. Only key authorized utility personnel, such as customer service representatives, can access your account if needed.
- What if a customer wants to keep their current meter?
Our current residential meters do not have the ability to be read remotely. In order to make the conversion to Automated Metering, all meters that are not currently a Sensus meter need to be replaced so they can communicate with the new system.
- Will there be a schedule made available on when meters will be switched for specific areas?
The City of Robinson will work with Aqua-Metric to plan meter change outs. Once a deployment plan has been established and mapped out, then Aqua-Metric will begin advancing through the city's service area to replace existing water meters. The meter exchange will take place between 8:00 a.m. and 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday.
- Do I need to be present during the meter exchange service?
In most cases no. The meter is accessible from the outside of the home so the customer will not be required to be present during the exchange. The contractor will attempt to notify any occupants of the momentary water outage prior to temporarily disconnecting the water. Customers will be required to ensure the meter is free and clear of any debris or obstructions that may prevent the contractor from replacing the meter. If the meter is located within a fenced area that contains animals, we ask that all animals be secured for the safety of the animal and technician.
- Will my water service be interrupted during the installation?
Yes, but only briefly – typically 5 to 15 minutes while the meter is being replaced. The installation technician will attempt to notify customers in advance of the brief water outage during the meter exchange.
- Will these new digital water meters be safe for me and my family?
Yes. Digital water meters operate at much lower levels of radio frequencies than cell phones, microwaves, wireless routers, and even baby monitors. Any concerns over the safety of wireless data transmission should be directed to the FCC, as it is the regulatory agency responsible for permitting the safe use of radios.
- Will the electronic device on the meter interfere with other electronic equipment?
No. The radio transmission operates in compliance with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) regulations to avoid interference with other electronic devices.
- What prevents someone from removing the top of the meter, where the information is stored?
Consumption and alarm data is stored within the meter and transmitter device. In the event the connection is disrupted or severed between the meter and transmitter, an alert will be sent to notify utility personnel of potential tampering. In addition, tampering can result in a $150 charge on a utilities account. Note: No personally identifiable information is stored within the meter or transmitter.
- Will the new meters be easier to turn off for repairs?
The current city policy in place does not allow citizens to use the cut-off on the City side of the meter. Each property owner needs to have a cut-off on the customers side of the meter that they can use when repairs are needed.
- What should I do if my water line has air or the water is not clear?
Once water service is restored, customers may experience a brief period of air, debris, or discolored water. In most cases, running cold water in the bathtub will clear the lines of air, debris, or discoloration. In the event of prolonged air or discoloration, please contact the Utility Department immediately to correct the issue by calling (254) 662-1415 or by emailing email@example.com
- What if there is a leak at the meter or problems after the meter is replaced?
Please contact the City’s Utility Department at (254) 662-1415 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. For after-hours, holiday or weekend emergencies, please call (254) 662-0525.
- How many jobs will be lost over this new technology?
There will not be any jobs lost over this new technology. Any staff members will be shifted to other areas within the city.
- Shouldn’t our focus be on fixing streets instead of installing new water meters?
The City of Robinson has been hard at work with over $6.48 million dedicated to city street construction since 2017 up to now. Visit www.UpgradingRobinson.com for more information on the city's investment in streets.
- What's the difference between water usage and wastewater?
Water usage is the amount of water that flows through a customer’s meter during a billing period. Wastewater is the used water discharged from a household into the sewer system. For commercial customers the wastewater amount charged is based on the total water used. For residential customers the amount charged is based on the winter average.
- How are tiers set?
Tiers are set with the adopted rates and will only change if the council votes for a change in rates by adopting a new ordinance.
- How is the wastewater average calculated for residential customers?
The city takes the residential customer’s water usage during the months of December, January, and February, when irrigation is low and averages that to determine the monthly waste water charge for the next 12 months.
- How are wastewater rates set?
The wastewater rates are set similar to the water rates. An independent contractor conducts a study to determine if current rates and rate structure provide the revenue needed to recover costs required to operate water and wastewater utility systems.