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Oregon Water District Experiences 300% Faster Meter Readings with Modular AMR

Mueller Water Products
Mueller Oregon Water District Experiences 300% Faster Meter Readings with Modular AMR

Oregon Water District Experiences 300% Faster Meter Readings with Modular AMR

By: Mueller

Oregon’s West Slope Water District serves 10,300 residents and has only three personnel. Finding ways to improve operational efficiencies can have a big impact. A few years ago, the District installed an Automated Meter Reading (AMR) System, but some of the units were failing, making it a good time to look at other options.

AMR Systems consist of a water meter, radio transmitter, radio receiver, and reading software. The solution that West Slope installed had the meter and radio transmitter combined, so the radio transmitter was integrated within the meter itself. One of the drawbacks of an integrated water meter and radio is that the radio transmission is 12-36 inches underground. West Slope gets a lot of rain making it common for meter boxes to have water inside much of the year. Two of the variables that effect radio propagation are metal and water.

The integrated radio when combined with water in the meter box, forced West Slope crews to drive every street slowly, and to even stop at many customers to either wait, or access the property for meter reads to come into the reading software. This made monthly meter reading very time consuming.

Over the past few years, West Slope has been replacing old meters when they fail with the Mueller Systems® modular AMR System. The AMR migratable radio antenna is separate from the register, connected via an industry standard inline Nicor connector. It is installed high in the meter pit, above most, if not all, water that may be in the meter box. This placement ensures a stronger signal for meter reads. These new Mueller Systems radios provide efficient, long-range two-way communication. LoRa—short for long range–is resistant to most interference in the 900 MHz band ensuring readings is reliable. This allows utilities to drive every other street and drive at the posted speed limit.

West Slope’s meters are now roughly half of the old and half of the new, providing an excellent opportunity to compare read times and get hard data on efficiencies. At the start of 2023, under wet conditions, West Slope completed a timed study of meter reads. Below are the findings:

Mueller Oregon Water District Experiences 300% Faster Meter Readings with Modular AMRDaniel Gridinar, Operations Manager for West Slope Water District, said “When adjusting for the number of meters read, the new Modular AMR system is over three times faster than the older meters, which is a significant time saving that allows our crews to attend to other tasks. The new radios are also easier to install and being modular means we can more easily maintain our AMR system.”

For more information on Mueller Systems metering solutions Click Here

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