Unlocking the Potential of Advanced Metering Infrastructure (AMI): A Pathway to Sustainable Water/Gas/Electric Management and Efficiency
By Erin Perry and Becky Werra of Veregy, LLC
In a period of rapid technological advancement, municipalities continually seek innovative solutions to improve service delivery, optimize operations, and foster sustainability. Upgrading municipal water meters to Advanced Meter Infrastructure (AMI) is a transformative step toward achieving these goals. This thought leadership piece explores the numerous benefits of embracing AMI technology, emphasizing its positive impact on constituents, municipal revenue and operations, the environment, and the crucial role of accurate meter reading in managing water loss and maintaining fair and equitable billing.
Optimizing Municipal Revenue and Operations – The average water loss in systems is 16 percent and up to 75 percent of that is recoverable.1 Upgrading to AMI technology offers municipal revenue and operational advantages. Accurate and timely meter readings eliminate underreporting and improve revenue management. AMI systems automate data collection and transmission, eliminating the need for manual reading and reducing human error. This streamlines billing and collection processes, minimizing delays and increasing operational efficiency. The optimization of revenue generation allows municipalities to invest in infrastructure, enhance public services, and promote community development.
The average water loss in systems is 16 percent – up to 75 percent of that is recoverable.1
The revenue increase after installing new water meters in a municipality can vary depending on several factors, including the size of the municipality, the selection of the new meters, and the accuracy of the old meters. However, implementing accurate metering systems can improve revenue collection and reduce unaccounted-for water. Unaccounted-for water, or non-revenue water, refers to produced water that does not generate municipal revenue. It includes real losses (e.g., leaks, pipe bursts, theft) and apparent losses (e.g., meter inaccuracies, data errors, and billing errors). Implementing an AMI system gives you, and your customers the critical benefit of interval reads versus one read every billing cycle. This insight allows customer-side leaks to be immediately identified, communicated, and resolved, thus enabling us to conserve our precious resources. Reducing non-revenue water is a critical goal for municipalities to optimize revenue generation and promote efficient water management and billing equity.
To obtain specific data on revenue increase and non-revenue water for a particular municipality, it is recommended that local water authorities consult utility companies or consultants that can perform a high-level meter accuracy audit. These sources can provide detailed and up-to-date information on the financial impacts and water loss reduction achieved through installing new water meters, how to procure a water meter upgrade and perform a thorough billing system integration, and in many cases, provide turn-key project management and installation of the new system.
Environmental Stewardship – AMI technology promotes environmental sustainability by fostering responsible water usage. Accurate and real-time water consumption monitoring empowers residents and city authorities to detect and address leaks promptly. AMI systems trigger alerts by identifying abnormal usage patterns, enabling timely repairs, and reducing water loss. This proactive approach not only conserves precious water resources but also helps safeguard the integrity of the municipal water supply. The efficient management of water through AMI technology contributes to long-term water security and supports the preservation of the environment. When the utility can take vehicles off the road, this reduces carbon emissions.
Empowering Constituents, Transparency, and Control – AMI technology empowers constituents by giving them real-time insights into their water consumption. By replacing traditional meters with AMI-enabled smart meters, residents gain access to detailed and up-to-date information on their usage patterns. This empowers them to make informed decisions, track their consumption, identify potential leaks or inefficiencies, and adjust their behavior accordingly. By fostering awareness and accountability, AMI technology enables constituents to participate in water conservation efforts and reduce utility bills actively.
Water Conservation through Accurate Meter Reading – Accurate meter reading is a foundation of effective water conservation efforts, and AMI technology excels. Traditional manual reading methods often need to be more accurate, leading to underreporting or delayed identification of leaks. AMI systems provide precise and continuous meter readings, enabling early detection of leaks and abnormalities. By addressing leaks promptly, residents and municipalities can conserve water and prevent unnecessary waste. Accurate meter reading through AMI technology supports conservation initiatives, making every drop count in the journey toward sustainable water management.
The benefits of upgrading municipal water meters to Automatic Meter Infrastructure (AMI) extend beyond constituents, encompassing revenue and operations, the environment, and water conservation. AMI technology empowers constituents by providing real-time information and fostering responsible water usage. It optimizes revenue generation and operational efficiency for municipalities, enabling investments in vital infrastructure and services. Furthermore, AMI systems contribute to environmental stewardship by conserving water resources, reducing leakage, and supporting long-term water security. Accurate meter reading, facilitated by AMI technology, becomes a crucial tool in the collective effort to achieve sustainable water management. As municipalities embrace AMI, they position themselves as leaders in efficiency, innovation, and environmental responsibility, creating a brighter, more sustainable future for all.
Veregy is a full-service energy services company with offices in 13 locations across the country. As a national firm with over 33 years of industry experience we have delivered $1.7B+ in energy savings projects. Energy conservation projects may include building automation, fine-tuning and retro-commissioning, HVAC efficiency upgrades, LED lighting, building envelope, renewable energy, and indoor air quality improvement. Veregy has extensive experience in construction manager at-risk projects, as well as delivering healthy building solutions to public entities across the nation. Veregy is one of only fourteen Energy Service Providers accredited by the National Association of Energy Service Companies (NAESCO). To learn more about Veregy, visit their website at www.veregy.com.
- Waterworld: https://www.waterworld.com/municipal/water-utility-management/article/16224647/the-benefits-of-advanced-metering-infrastructrue-ami
- American Water Works Association: https://www.awwa.org/
- Environmental Protection Agency: https://www.epa.gov/
- Water Research Foundation: https://www.waterrf.org/
- 1Texas Water Development Board, Water Conservation Task Force, Water Conservation Best Management Practices Guide, November 2004. http://savetexaswater.org/bmp/.