AMI Installation and Meter Replacement Project
The City in partnership with FATHOM implemented the existing Advanced Metering Infrastructure system in 2015-16. As part of the AMI implementation, FATHOM oversaw the replacement of aging water meters with newer meters utilizing Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI) technology. Any meter over three years old was replaced during this process and those less than three years old were retrofitted with the required meter registers to work with the new AMI technology. All in all FATHOM through their sub-contractor HydroPro exchanged and/or retrofitted over 2,700 meters between mid-October 2015 and late January 2016 with the accompanying AMI equipment fully in place by mid-February, 2016.
Power of Data
AMI technology provides automatic, accurate and consistent water meter reads without the need for manual meter reads and manual data entry. AMI was implemented in order to improve water conservation and provide the data required to better manage water usage throughout the City. The City took this a step further by partnering with FATHOM who uses the meters and AMI system to provide timely and accurate meter reads that are automatically logged into billing software. Additionally through their Meter Data Management (MDM) FATHOM provides the City with advanced, ongoing data analysis which drives even more accurate and convenient billing and bill payment. Finally and most importantly, FATHOM allows the City to provide a platform through which residents can accurately track their water usage.
As water conservation continues to be a critical issue in Texas, we hope giving our residents a way to track their hourly or daily usage helps all to recognize the value of this resource. Water is a limited resource and careless consumption can impact the city’s sustainable future and ultimately the residents pocketbooks. The goal is that by putting this data into the hands of our water customers, we are helping to make them true consumers of water.
Learn more about the City of Melissa's AMI Network in the FAQ's below.
What is AMI?
AMI stands for Advanced Metering Infrastructure. AMI technology provides automatic, accurate and consistent water meter reads without the need for manual meter reads and manual data entry. This data then feeds into a customer information system that provides a platform through which residents can accurately track their water usage, pay their utility bill, etc.
The City utilizes the Aclara STAR Network which delivers two-way communication and a time synchronized network to provide a snapshot of water consumption at a single point in time.
Aclara STAR Network AMI Video
Data Collector Units (DCU) - Aclara Star Network DCUII
Meter Transmission Units (MTU) - STAR 3300 Water MTU
What are the benefits of AMI?
Benefits include advanced data recording of all water consumption on an hourly basis, historical consumption data for residents, and leak detection capabilities.
Both Residents and the City have wanted more than one data point per month so they could better monitor and manage customer usage. With this system, customers are able to go online or use a mobile app to view their account and make better informed decisions about water consumption, including the use of irrigation systems. More data allows customers to truly manage their own water usage.
Other benefits of utilizing AMI include:
- Meter reads obtained from network are immediate, consistent, and accurate
- Human error is removed; eliminating costly misreads
- Increased accuracy with reads
- On-request reads through the network = Significant savings (i.e. automatic move-in/move-out reads)
- Water leak, theft, meter tampering and high usage detection
- Provides valuable tool for City to manage water usage and facilitate conservation.
How is my meter reading obtained for billing?
The City's Fixed AMI Network System eliminates the need to send a person to physically read the meter. Each water meter communicates the read data over radio frequency to solar-powered data collection units strategically located throughout the city.
How does it do this?
- Meter Transmission Units (MTUs) on each water meter send hourly data to Data Collector Units (DCUs) - assuring that each MTU communicates with more than one DCU for redundancy.
- DCUs transmit time-stamped hourly meter reads to the Network Control Computer (NCC) four times per day. Data is transmitted from the DCUs over a cellular connection to the NCC during the transmission time as well as the beginning of the next transmission cycle.
- This data is then used in conjunction with the Customer Information System (CIS) / Billing Software to prepare bills, answer customer questions, etc.
The Aclara system only collects raw data which contains no customer information. Once the data is collected it is secured in a private location with physical and digital protections including a multi-layer firewall with role-based security and encryption mechanisms that are audited on a regular basis.
How can I see my water usage data?
All City of Melissa water utility customers have access to see and manage their water usage through the U2You Customer Usage Portal.
First, make sure you have signed up for a U2You online account which can be accessed at: https://melissa.gwfathom.com/Sign-In.aspx.
Once you have created your U2You account, setup access to the Customer Water Usage Portal: https://melissa.u2you.gwfathom.com/#/login.
Check out the guide provided by FATHOM to help walk you through what you need to complete this step.