Top 10 Metro Area finds a Million Dollars of Revenue

A top 10 metropolitan area knew they had a problem. Repair and maintenance of suspected problem water meters rarely resulted in confidence in the accuracy of customer billing. Overall revenues were decreasing, and water consumption was increasing. Management suspected more than 50% of their large water meters serving large commercial and industrial customer were not measuring water delivered accurately. Replacing all 2700 of the 3” to 12” water meters would be expensive and, in many cases, would require installation of new vaults, interruption of service to customers, and/or replacement of sidewalks, roadways, and other infrastructure. Just the process of testing the meters according to AWWA recommendations would take more than a year, cost millions of dollars, and would not provide a viable path forward to more accurate billing.

The water department needed a way to:

  • Quickly identify broken, worn, and mis sized water meters,
  • Determine the appropriate corrective action,
  • Prioritize repairs & maintenance,
  • Validate the meter was repaired to full health,
  • Ensure meter remains accurate and healthy.

Olea Edge Analytics working with the water department deployed the Meter Health Analytics solution on 21 large water meters serving a variety of commercial and industrial customers. The implementation of Meter Health Analytics was very simple for the water department. Basic meter data was provided by the water department to Olea Edge Analytics. A team of highly trained Olea personnel surveyed the meters, deployed sensors & edge computers, and reviewed information. An innovative user interface with real-time information, recommendations, and reports was provided to the water department.

The Meter Health Analytics solution was deployed on 21 water meters ranging in size from 1.5” to 12”. Meter types included nutating disk, turbine, compound, and fire type assemblies. Meters were evaluated for register, measurement, crossover, sizing, and by-pass failures. Two register and eight crossover issues were identified. The lost revenue associated with these issues was estimated by Olea using proprietary algorithms based on meter data and validated by water department billing records at $1,007,122.20.

The water department knew they had inaccurate commercial meters based on customer usage analysis. They could not determine why the meters had failed and could not verify the meters had returned to accuracy. Olea’s Meter Health Analytics solution quickly identified problem meters and focused water department personnel on the specific repairs needed to return the meter to accuracy. One specific meter was responsible for over 60% of the lost revenue and required a simple register replacement to return the meter to accuracy. The solution was quickly expanded to 700 meters with similar results and is now being expanded to all three-inch and larger meters across the service area.

The water departmemt and Olea are now deploying the Meter Health Analytics solution on the entire high value meter portfolio.

Interesting learnings from the demonstration were as follows:

  • Revenue increases far exceeded program costs.
  • The visual sensor was able to detect register issues that had gone undetected within the water department AMR program.
  • Continuous monitoring allowed the water department to focus personnel and resources on meters with known issues.
  • A large amount of revenue recovery was related to improperly operating cross over valves, which is a failure mode that is not detected by traditional flow testing or AMI solutions.