DEP's Automated Meter Reading Provides Accurate Billings, Water Usage Updates
Beginning in March 2009, the New York City Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) began installing Automated Meter Reading (AMR) transmitters on water meters throughout the city. This is a three-year project designed to virtually eliminate estimated bills and provide apartment owners with more information about the water use in their buildings.
How Does AMR Work?
The AMR system consists of small, low-power radio transmitters connected to individual water meters that send daily readings to a network of rooftop receivers throughout the city. These receivers will provide DEP with all relevant billing information and eliminate the need for meter readers to visit your property.
In most cases, the transmitters will be placed where meter remote receptacles are currently located. The AMR receivers will be part of the Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications (DoITT) New York City Wireless Network (NYCWiN).
How Does AMR Benefit Owners?
The biggest benefit to owners is accurate billing each month. According to Warren Liebold, DEP's Director of Metering/Conservation, buildings with a meter 2 inches or larger (generally 30 or 50 units or larger, but it depends on interior plumbing) will have transmitters that read the meters hourly.
Smaller properties will have transmitters that read the meter four times a day. In either case, by the end of the year most customers on AMR will be able to view their consumption on the DEP's Web site, day-by-day.
Owners will be able to see if there's an upward trend in water usage. Also, Liebold says that although they don't have it set up yet, the system will allow DEP to offer customers “alarm” emails or text messages when consumption increases by a predetermined amount or if the meter never goes to zero consumption.
“Both of these options work faster than a bill in alerting owners to possible leak conditions,” says Liebold. He also states that in the long term it is also likely that DEP will move to monthly billing, which will also help owners see changes faster than they can with quarterly billing, which is the current practice.
Installations began with small properties in all five boroughs by a combination of door-to-door canvass and specific appointments. According to DEP, 97 percent of the more than 50,000 customers already included in AMR billing have been receiving bills based on actual readings.
If you don't have the AMR transmitters on your property, you can find a list of installation contractors and the Zip codes in their contract areas on DEP's Web site at http://www.nyc.gov/dep.
The installation is free and generally does not require the building's water to be shut off. In most cases, the installer will simply disconnect the existing remote receptacle on the outside of the building and replace it with a meter transmission unit (MTU). Installers will need access to the meter to check wiring connections but the work should not interfere otherwise. In those locations where the radio signal is sufficient, the transmitter may be installed on the inside surface of the exterior wall or mounted in the basement above ground level.
Another option is to make a direct request to DEP to help you coordinate the relationship between your building(s) and the installation contractors. You can do this by sending property lists with contact names and phone numbers to the proper DEP representatives below:
Manhattan and The Bronx:
Brooklyn and Queens:
Search Our Web Site by Key Words: water meters; water consumption; leaks