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Council to decide on $234,470 water meter pilot project

The Charlotte City Council is expected to decide whether to launch a pilot program to test high-tech water-watering equipment in two neighborhoods.

Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utilities will ask the City Council Monday to approve the testing of the equipment, which a CMU press release calls “the latest, most sophisticated meter transmitter equipment available on the market.”

The $234,470 program would include the installation of “100W” meter transmitters and registers in the River Run and Hidden Valley neighborhoods.

CMU began installing automated meter-reading equipment in 2002. The equipment uses traditional, mechanical water meters with attached electronic transmitters that capture the mechanical reading and transmit water usage data via radio signal to mobile collectors as they drive through neighborhoods.

About half of residential water meters in the county use a “60W” transmitter, and half use an older model called the “50W.” Under the agreement, Itron would accelerate the ongoing upgrade of 50W transmitters to 60W transmitters at no charge to CMU. The agreement includes the replacement of about half of the remaining 50W transmitters.

Under a second agreement, which has not been finalized, the other half would be replaced.

The testing in River Run and Hidden Valley marks the first step toward real-time, continuous meter reading, CMU said, adding that because 100Ws capture and store water-usage data at a more frequent interval, water customers could eventually have access to far more information about their water usage.

River Run and Hidden Valley were chosen for the pilot project because of their different water-use patterns and because baseline data was established in both neighborhoods during last summer’s meter-equipment audit, CMU said.

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